Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it.
Nothing is a surprise to God; nothing is a setback to His plans; nothing can thwart His purposes; and nothing is beyond His control. His sovereignty is absolute. Everything that happens is uniquely ordained by God. Sovereignty is a weighty thing to ascribe to the nature and character of God. Yet if He were not sovereign, He would not be God. The Bible is clear that God is in control of everything that happens.
Real satisfaction comes not in understanding God’s motives, but in understanding His character, in trusting in His promises, and in leaning on Him and resting in Him as the Sovereign who knows what He is doing and does all things well.
When a Christian realizes his citizenship is in heaven, he begins acting as a responsible citizen of earth.
Though gradually, though no one remembers exactly how it happened, the unthinkable becomes tolerable. And then acceptable. And then legal. And then applaudable.
He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace. The greatest good suffering can do for me is to increase my capacity for God. Real satisfaction comes not in understanding God’s motives, but in understanding His character, in trusting in His promises, and in leaning on Him and resting in Him as the Sovereign who knows what He is doing and does all things well.
I still can hardly believe it. I, with shriveled, bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body, light, bright, and clothed in righteousness—powerful and dazzling. Can you imagine the hope this gives someone spinal-cord injured like me? Or someone who is cerebral palsied, brain-injured, or who has multiple sclerosis? Imagine the hope this gives someone who is manic-depressive. No other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds. Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope.
Don’t think such heavenly mindedness makes us pilgrims no earthly good. Don’t pooh-pooh it as looking at the world through pie-in-the-sky, rose-colored glasses. Sojourners who think the most of the next world are usually those who are doing the highest good in this one. It is the person whose mind is only on earthly things who, when it comes to earth, does little good.
Most of the time, we scratched our heads and wondered how the matted mesh of threads in Romans 8:28 could possibly be woven together for our good. On earth, the underside of the tapestry was tangled and unclear; but in heaven, we will stand amazed to see the topside of the tapestry and how God beautifully embroidered each circumstance into a pattern for our good and His glory.
Because faith makes invisible things real, and visible things unreal, earthly dissatisfaction becomes the road to heavenly satisfaction.
Time itself is one more name for death.
People who don’t believe in God consider time an adversary. For them, the ticking of the second hand sounds like the stalking of an enemy. Each minute move them toward death. And everyone, whether rich or poor, tries to grab the hour hand and shove it backward.
For me, true contentment on earth means asking less of this life because more is coming in the next. Godly contentment is great gain. Heavenly gain. Because God has created the appetites in your heart, it stands to reason that He must be the consummation of that hunger. Yes, heaven will galvanize your heart if you focus your faith not on a place of glittery mansions, but on a Person, Jesus, who makes heaven a home.
We pilgrims walk the tightrope between earth and heaven, feeling trapped in time, yet with eternity beating in our hearts. Our unsatisfied sense of exile is not to be solved or fixed while here on earth. Our pain and longings make sure we will never be content, but that’s good: it is to our benefit that we do not grow comfortable in a world destined for decay.
Somehow, somewhere within you is the pattern of the heavenly person you will become, and if you want to catch a glimpse of how glorious and full of splendor your body will be, just do a comparison. Compare a hairy peach pit with the tree it becomes, loaded with fragrant blossoms and sweet fruit. They are totally different, yet the same. Compare a caterpillar with a butterfly. As wet, musty flower bulb with an aromatic hyacinth. A hairy coconut with a graceful palm tree.
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Entrance to heaven requires a redeemed body. The body must be rid of the law of sin at work in its members. At the present time, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The day is coming, however, when instead of being a hindrance to the spirit, the body will be the perfect vessel for the expression of my glorified mind, will, and emotions. Right now, we wear our souls on the inside. But one day we will be “clothed in righteousness” as we wear our souls on the outside, brilliant and glorious.
Heavenly fellowship with friends won’t be some ethereal do-nothingness where we yawn, sit around on clouds, and ogle at angels. Because heaven is the home of redeemed humans, it will be thoroughly “human” in it structure and activities.