The concerns of this life can be overwhelming at times, and if we are not careful to guard ourselves, stress can hit us pretty badly. However, as believers, we have been given the fulfillment of all of God’s promises in Christ and we do not have to live from day to day being consumed by the issues of life.
Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of California-based Saddleback Church, says being certain that heaven is our eternal destination should be enough to change our perspective about how we live on earth.
Once a person is reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ, that person’s “value system” changes, he said.
“Instead of living for the here and now, you’ll live for eternity,” he wrote in an article titled ‘Living for Heaven’s Sake.
So how does a Christian adopt a mindset and a lifestyle that is heaven-focused? Warren recommends three ways.
First, he reminds us to not be distracted by temptation. Citing 1 Peter 2:11, which says, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
“You can be distracted by lots of things – both good and bad,” Warren wrote. “Stay focused on what’s of eternal significance.”
He also urged believers to “delay gratification” even in the midst of pressure from society to go the opposite direction. Instead, he said we should “stay focused on what’s ahead.”
Second, he encouraged us to not be weighed down when trouble comes. He cited 2 Corinthians 4:18: “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
The troubles of life are temporary and should not be a reason for us to quit, he said.
“When you live in light of eternity, trouble just doesn’t bother you as much anymore. You know troubles won’t last forever, so you simply don’t give up,” Warren wrote.
Finally, Warren gave a reminder to give our time and effort to things that have eternal value.
“Focus your energy on what will last,” he said.
He pointed to Colossians 3:2, which says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
He exhorted Christians to live out God’s purposes and to invest time in activities that will bear lasting fruit.
“Fulfill the purposes of God in your life,” Warren said. “Live a life of worship. Build relationships with God’s people.”
“Invest your time in becoming more like Jesus through discipleship. Serve others with abandon. Tell people about Jesus. Those activities last forever,” he said.