One Foot in Heaven

February 19, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Not long ago, I wrote a book called Behind Enemy Lines.  It details our scriptural position; the fact that as authentic Christians, we remain here, in Satan’s kingdom, spreading the gospel of Jesus to the lost of this world.  Satan does not take this lying down and fights us every step of the way.

It is difficult at times to appreciate the fact that we are here, but our citizenship is in heaven (cf. Philippians 3:20).  It tends to create tension within us, because of where we know we will be upon our death, compared with where we are now in this physical realm.  Eternity seems all too far in the future and it is very difficult to grasp a clear picture of it.  Sometimes, it does not even seem real to us.

For quite some time, the fact that we are here, yet longing to be “home” has been a source of frustration for me and probably for many other authentic Christians.  Frankly, I have always found it difficult to appreciate those Christians who love being here, in this life.  Maybe I’m missing something, but it just seems to me that the desire to be with Christ (and devoid of a sin nature) is by far, the greater hope.  The word “hope” is really a certainty for us.

So, how do we marry the two ideas so that we are somewhat content in this life (but not in love with it), while we wait for the Lord to call us home?  The only way I can clarify it for myself is to go back to the military example I used in my aforementioned Behind Enemy Lines.  I’ve never been in the military.  I don’t know what it’s like to be away from America and family for extended periods of time in the military.  I don’t know how that feels, though I can imagine, for the most part, it doesn’t feel great.

There is very likely the sense that you are always missing home turf.  You are always yearning to be back in familiar territory and certainly, missing loved ones is something that is dealt with on a daily basis.  I’m not sure a person can ever really get used to that, but each person has their way of dealing with the things they miss the most.

I think of the TV show M*A*S*H and the many difficulties that those at the four oh seven seventh experienced on a daily basis.  The bad food, the daily tragedies of putting wounded soldiers back together again, only to send them out to be wounded again, missing family and friends at home, and all the rest made life in the military problematic for most.

Military personnel are always living with one foot in the place where they are stationed and the other foot firmly placed in the country from which they came and long to return.  It has to be a source of constant tension for these folks.

As a kid, most of us went away to a camp of some kind, for a weekend or even a week.  Some may have used up most of their summer attending a camp that was far away from home.  Even though camp itself may have been lots of fun in many ways, there were times where the mind turned to the familiarity of your own bed and home.  A homesickness slowly crept over you, in spite of the attempts you made to disassociate yourself from it, by keeping busy with all sorts of activities while at camp.

At night, when things were quietest, your thoughts might naturally turn to home and the familiar sounds and smells of waking up in your own bed with Mom cooking breakfast.  Of course, the difference between going to camp and being on assignment in the military is far different.  Certainly, the danger quotient is remarkably higher in the military.  Even though you tried to find times to relax and enjoy a card game with your buddies, the fact of danger always cast a shadow over everything.  You knew that at any moment, your moment of relaxation could easily turn to a fire fight, complete with injuries and even death.  This was the furthest thing from your mind while you were at camp.  You were there to enjoy yourself and it was fairly easy to push thoughts of homesickness away because there was usually so much to do at camp.

This is the life of an authentic Christian.  The tension we feel is created by the fact that we live here for the time being, but are not really “at home” here.  We know where our citizenship is and it is to that we look forward to enjoying fully.  While we’re here though, we keep busy.  We work, we have our family and friends, and we are engaged with other believers through the fellowship of our church.  We have our hobbies and even do things around the house that keep us occupied.

We not only attend church, but are involved in various aspects of church life.  We go to Sunday School or Bible classes.  We may even teach them.  We help in areas of our local church fellowship in which our gifts are a match.  We reach out to others in our church family that experience loss of loved ones or have other needs.

We pray for the lost, we pray for other believers, we pray for our children and family members.  We study His Word, doing our best to try to understand what God’s will is in the specifics for our life.

In short, we move through this life ultimately waiting to be taken home to fully the God we worship, in His presence.  We know that He has prepared a place specifically for us (cf. John 14:3), and we long for the day when we will be ushered into His presence and shown our new living quarters.  There, without the sin nature, we will finally understand what it means to live perfectly, without sin and even without temptation.  We will experience a life of loving others, also done perfectly.  As Paul has stated, we now see through a glass darkly (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12), and this fact makes it difficult to fully grasp all that we will be in the next life.

For now, eternity is always on our mind.  We long for the day when we cross into eternity through death’s door.  We look forward to it greatly, but while we are here, we understand that we have work to do; work which keeps us occupied until the day we are taken home in death.  Death is not the end, but merely the doorway to our eternal beginning.

A friend of mine from church, by the name of Keith, found out a little more than two weeks ago that he had developed leukemia.  He went to the doctor’s because one weekend, he simply started feeling great pain in his hips.  He didn’t understand it and was alarmed because of it.

That Monday, he went to the doctor, and after tests, determined he had leukemia – something I’m sure he never considered.  They transferred him to a hospital and immediately began aggressive treatment to kill the disease with chemotherapy and pain medication.  In spite of the fact that it appeared as if he was making progress and the doctors felt confident that he was going to be cured, it was not to be.  This past Sunday at approximately 7:00 am, he passed from this life to the next.  I’m sure you can imagine the shock.  He was 61 years young and prior to the discovery of his disease, he seemed healthy.  He was active and enjoyed life.  Now, he is in the presence of Jesus and he is without pain, disease, or sin.  He is now living the life all authentic Christians will one day live.

I went to his viewing last night and will be attending his funeral is today.  As I viewed his “earthly tent” (his body) last night, I found myself thinking of Keith’s simple ability to love people. That impressed me. We relocated to this area roughly two years ago and I did not know Keith that long.  However, in the short time that I was privileged to get to know him, he was a man who seemed really solid underneath; a man who loved God and yearned to be with Him. He seemed to understand that without God, there is no life at all; certainly no life worth living.

I will not forget that Keith’s favorite subject was prophecy. He loved looking to the future, to a time when Jesus will return. For Keith, he is in God’s presence and that time is now.

Just a few weeks ago, Keith was at church, talking, walking, and loving. Now, he is with the Lord, doing the same thing, but without any imperfection at all.  It feels surreal to know that this is the case.

Good man, Keith. For the short time I knew you, you truly inspired me to love as God loves. Thank you, Keith.

We are here for what can seem like an interminable length of time.  The fact that we really want to be somewhere else simply makes time here go by that much more slowly.  It’s a catch-22 because on one hand, we want to be good stewards of all that God has provided here and we definitely want to be obedient to Him by fulfilling His will for us.  On the other hand, we know that our best life (in spite of what some teach) will not happen here in this life.  That best life waits for us in death.  Only then will we come to understand and experience what we have longed for while we were here, on assignment.

As Christians, we travel this earthly road that ultimately takes us to our full life in Christ; a life in which we will never experience pain or sin.  We will never bring dishonor to our God nor will sin ever find root in us again because it does not exist there in God’s Kingdom.  In the meantime, we wait and we work.  Most importantly, we yearn.  We long for that time when our assignment here on earth will be over.

The military man or woman who is on assignment overseas takes their job there seriously.  They understand that they are there to accomplish something and so they do their best to fulfill their mission.  However, they are constantly mindful of the fact that one day, their mission will end and they will return home to their family and friends; to their familiar surroundings.  They long for that and eagerly await that day.

This is our calling.  We continue here – behind enemy lines – after we receive the salvation that is extended to us through Christ.  That new life immediately begins to create a dichotomy within us that while we know we have a job to do here, we ultimately look forward to seeing this life in the rear view mirror.

Christian, look up.  Focus on Christ.  Do not allow yourself to become so caught up in this life that you rarely, if ever, think of eternity.  It is to eternity we have been called.

Entry filed under: 9/11, alienology, Atheism and religion, Barack Hussein Obama, Barry Sotero, Communism, Demonic, dispensationalism, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Gun Control, Islam, Islamofascism, israel, Judaism, Life in America, Maitreya, new age movement, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Radical Islam, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, Romney, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Shadow Government, Sharia Law, Socialism, temple mount, Transhumanism, ufology. Tags: , , , , , .

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