But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Heaven. We tend to think about Heaven when we face death. We either find comfort in it when we miss a loved one or when we are faced with our own mortality. In fact, it is the truth of the future hope of believers that Paul uses to encourage the church in Thessalonica.
However, if that is our only use of heavenward thoughts aren’t we missing something? Shouldn’t the existence of Heaven govern our thinking and acting all the time? Regarding our material wealth, Jesus instructed us to, “store up our treasure in Heaven.” When speaking about our deeds of righteousness, Jesus told us to do them privately because, “your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.” Even our understanding of justice is supposed to be colored by a Heaven perspective. Both Jesus and Paul remind us that we should let God punish for, “vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”
How many times did Jesus say, “the kingdom of Heaven is like…” and then tell a principle that was supposed to change how we lived right now? This has got me thinking: although it is always profitable for us to consider how Heaven’s reality should change what we do today, what does what we do today say about our understanding of Heaven?
For example… When we hold on to our anger what does that say about how we view God’s justice? When we grasp our belongings what does that say about our opinion of the treasures of Heaven? When we worry what are we saying about God’s providence? When we fear death what are we saying about Heaven’s beauty, wonder, or existence?
How real is Heaven to you? Does it change your today? When was the last time you thought about it?
Something to think about,