Have We Lost Sight of Heaven?
We know that Jesus is coming back for his people, and we are told to look forward to that day. However, it is easy to focus our attention on details of a future we cannot know, and ignore the truths we can see, learn from and live by in the process.
Knowing that Jesus will one day return should be enough incentive to live a holy life. We must learn to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, in order to live the self-controlled, upright and godly life to which our Lord has called us.
Titus 2: 11-14; For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12) It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13) while we wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14) Who gave himself for us, to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
If we knew that Jesus’ second coming was taking place this evening, we would undoubtedly orchestrate the night’s activities very carefully, ensuring that we were engaged in godly pursuits when the time came. If we had advance notice that Jesus would return one year from now, we would make every effort to get our affairs in order. What we forget is that the moment of Jesus’s glorious return could happen this very second, so we should always stay prepared.
When Jesus returns, he is going to ask for an accounting of the lives we have led:
Roman 14:12; So then each of us will give account of himself to God.
II Corinthians 5:10 For we all must appear before judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Some of us will be embarrassed to recount the haphazard way we have managed his affairs. Some of us will regret our life decisions. But we can prepare for Jesus’ return every day we live. We all have relationships that need repair, sins that need to be confessed, tasks we need to accomplish, and people who need our attention. Knowing that Jesus is coming back should be a powerful motivation to handle these shortcomings while we still have the time.
Many people enjoy examining signs of the times and speculating about the identity of the “anti-christ”. Others are intrigued by discussions about Israel, Europe and the global village, or the potential for computer technology and a cashless society.
In this regard we are no different from the first disciples, although the details of the conversations and speculations have changed. They had observed Jesus’s miracles, and were witnesses to his horrible death and glorious resurrection. They had been with him on the Mount of Olives as he ascended into heaven.
Acts 1:9-11 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10) They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11) “Men of Galilee” they said, “ why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
These devotees had been at their Master’s side throughout his ministry on Earth, and yet before Jesus returned to heaven they had only one question: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” The disciples wanted to know precisely when Jesus would fulfill the Old Testament predictions about a kingdom on earth.
After everything they had seen, after all the painstaking instruction Jesus had conferred upon them, they were most interested in the present. The disciples overlooked their immediate responsibilities in favor of speculation about the state of the earthly kingdom.
Let us not make the same mistake as the disciples. By being overly concerned with our immediate responsibilities, we risk losing sight of heaven altogether.