This past week I've been wrestling with convictions so powerful they brought tears to my eyes, a sadness in my heart and a lingering gnawing to my soul.
Convictions that left me humbled and shaken.
Let me walk you through this moment of conviction so you will understand my state.
My morning ritual started like countless ones before it- steaming cup of coffee, Bible and front porch (when the weather is nice.) I love to start my day slowly, mediating in the goodness of a new day and spending time with God to read His word and pray. This particular morning, I have some extra time, so I bring with me a book I haven’t quite finished reading by Francis & Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever. It is this book that left me shaken.
Shaken by a challenge and a hard question.
First the challenge:
“Stare at the unseen. The eternal. Don’t become blinded by the transient.”
This actually comes directly from Scripture, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary (transient), but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (emphasis added)
The Chans contend that we spend too much time looking at temporary things in this life and ignore reality- ignore eternity. We love and devote countless time to things that simply don’t last. Instead, they challenge the reader to take a few moments to close your eyes and put out of your mind everything that is temporary. Then talk with God about only things that are unseen or eternal.
For the first time in my life, I endeavor to stare at the unseen. It was not easy and required effort, deep thinking and creativity. (I’m hoping this will become easier with practice!)
Next the hard question:
If you were given the choice right now, in this very moment, would you choose to leave this world to see Jesus or remain?
I’ve spent my life believing in Christ and loving Him; however, when faced with this question I’m ashamed to say I’m no different than many who would choose to remain because of family or things not yet done.
Doesn’t sound so terrible, right?
Here’s the conviction….
“You can justify all you want, but something is off. The Apostle Paul recognized the value of staying on earth to minister to the people around him, but his burning desire was to be with Jesus (Phil 1:21-26). If you’d rather watch your kids grow up than see the face of your Savior today, you don’t grasp the beauty of God. If you worry about what would happen to your children if you were gone, you don’t understand the providence of God.” F. & L. Chan
As Christians our burning desire should be Christ- to be like Christ, to be with Christ and to love Christ above all else!
There will always be something in this world attractive enough to blind and hinder us from anticipating heaven….
A marriage, a birth, a mission, watching kids or grandkids grow up, growing old with your spouse, taking care of that person in need or going on that dream vacation!
The list goes on and on.
We claim we love and value Christ, but when faced with a hard challenge and question, it turns out we don’t really want Him that much; at least not enough to choose Him over this life.
Maybe we don’t excitedly anticipate heaven and Christ because we haven’t mediated enough on the qualities of heaven or maybe it is something more: a lack of faith.
I’m praying Francis C. Kelley was right- “Convictions are the mainsprings of action, the driving powers of life. What a man lives are his convictions.”
One day I’d like to thank the Chans for being the catalyst for change in my life; for bringing convictions that have shaken me and revealed blinders that needed removing.
What will you do today? Eagerly anticipate heaven or ignore eternity telling Christ He just isn’t enough?
Lord, forgive us for choosing transient things over you. You are more than enough, you are our portion and prize. Help us to see the unseen and focus on eternity, so that our desire is always Christ. When we seek first the Kingdom of Heaven all things shall be added.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” ~Lamentations 3:24