What God Wants
"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." -Colossians 3:2-3
This is what God wants – hearts burning with a passion for future things, on fire for kingdom realities that are out of this world. God wants his people aflame with his hope, a “consider it a pure joy” outlook which affects the way we live on earth. God wants us to be “cities on a hill” and “lights on a lamp stand” so that everyone around us will be encouraged to look heavenward (Matthew 5:14-15).
A perspective like this doesn’t happen without suffering. It is affliction which fuels the furnace of heaven-hearted hope. People whose lives are unscathed by affliction have a less energetic hope. Oh, they are glad to know they are going to heaven; for them, accepting Jesus was a buy-and-sell agreement – place your sins on the counter and get an asbestos-lined soul. Once that’s taken care of, they feel they can get back to life as usual – dating and marrying, working and vacationing, spending and saving.
But suffering obliterates such preoccupation with earthly things. Suffering wakes us up from our spiritual slumber and turns our hearts toward the future, like a mother turning the face of her child, insisting, “Look this way!” Once heaven has our attention, earth’s pleasures begin to pale in comparison.
What has suffering taken away from you? What has it diminished or robbed? Don’t allow your heart to dwell on earthly disappointments. God permits suffering to draw our attention on heaven where that which was lost – and more – shall be restored. Suffering forces us to look forward to the day when God will close the curtain on all disease, death, sorrow and pain. Until then, we have work to do! John 9:4 says, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
Lord of heaven, turn my heart toward you this day. I set my mind right now on things above.