In every false "gospel," the focus is on us, on our political views, on our well-being, on our good works, on our own interpretation of God's Word, on our personal experiences. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, the focus is on Jesus—His death, His burial, His resurrection. All false "gospels" are human-centered. The one true gospel is Christ-centered. Even the hope of heaven is focused not so much on us and our enjoyment of heaven, but the fact that we will be in heaven with Christ.
Why do so many believers lose sight of their eternal hope? Why do so many Christians take their eyes off the prize of their heavenly dwelling place, the city of God? I believe we lose sight of our eternal habitation for five reasons:
First, we have a false perception of heaven. There are many distorted images of heaven in our culture, keeping us from desiring the wonderful Heavenly City Jesus has prepared for us.
Second, the pressures of this life eclipse our vision. The problems of our daily lives can steal our heavenly focus.
Third, the allure of this life blinds us to the unseen reality of heaven. Because of our nature, the things we see with our eyes get our attention. The visible world tugs at our thoughts and emotions. As the saying goes, "Out of sight, out of mind."
Fourth, the worldliness of the church muddles how we think about heaven. Christians in the early church had very simple goals. They lived and worked to glorify God and to spread the good news of Jesus Christ far and wide. They didn't plan for retirement. They planned for eternity.
Fifth, false teaching leaves us ignorant and deceived. Many pastors have quit teaching about heaven and hell. They focus on whatever themes are popular—successful living, improving your relationships, repairing your self-esteem and other human-centered subjects. We must let the true gospel inform our view of heaven. Then our joy will overflow as we look to the awesome promise of eternity with Christ.
Prayer: Lord, may I focus on the object of my faith: my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Then may I take joy in the promise of eternity with Him whom my heart loves. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"... let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1b-2).
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