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14- The Power of LOOKING AHEAD

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

– The Apostle Paul, Colossians 3:1-2

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.

– Solomon, Proverbs 3:5-6

Is it more enjoyable to eat a banana split or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread? Is it more pleasurable to watch your favorite old movie for the ninth time or to spend that time at the gym? One option is much more enjoyable in the short-term, but adds to your long-term pain. The best long-term choices aren’t much fun in the short-term. It’s a cruel joke.

The key to bouncing back instead of bouncing backward is simple:

Maintain a long-term focus

No, I’m not talking about diet, exercise, and stuff like that… that was chapter six. I’m talking about looking beyond this life, into eternity. The choices you make impact this life, sure, but they also cause ripple effects into the afterlife. I’m talking about Heaven.

Colossians 3:1-2 is pretty clear: if you are a Christian, then this earth isn’t your home or your end. Death isn’t your destiny. And since that’s the case, you need to do two things:

Seek Heavenly Things.

Set your Mind on Eternal Things.

It’s easy to lose focus on what you’ve never seen; that’s what makes the faith-life so difficult! Without an eternal perspective – worry, stress, fear, anxiety make our out-of-control lives too hard to handle.  But when we stay focused on the One who is in total control, then we rest in His power and wisdom.  An eternal perspective brings peace and keeps our priorities in order.

In 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the twenty-five-mile Catalina Channel.  After many hours of enduring the cold waves off the California coast, as the evening fog blocked view of shoreline, she gave up – much to the dismay of her coach and mother in nearby boats.  As she was pulled into the boat, she realized how near to the shore she really was.  She wept as she said, “If could have only seen the shore, I know I would have made it.” 

Two months later, she attempted the grueling task again – this time finishing in record time.  She told reporters that when she struggled and was tempted to quit, she just recalled that sight of the shore in her minds eye and that gave her enough strength to push on to the end.

“If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for this world were those who thought most of the next.”  – C.S. Lewis

According to 1 John 3:2-3, the reality of Heaven produces a purifying hope – a motivation to real, spiritual change (the Bible calls this sanctification).  Jesus told us to pray in faith for His kingdom to come to earth, so we should expect that to happen in us first, then through us (His kingdom is His authority, power, & glory manifested in beauty).  In the most famous sermon ever delivered, Christ delivered several revolutionary principles to live by: the Beatitudes.  If we would dare to live by them, we would experience Heaven within us (Matthew 5:3-12). Only then, after Heaven has come to us, then we will be ready to be salt and light in our deteriorating world and Heaven can come through us (5:13-16).

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