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2. The best for us is yet to come.
Please note that I said, “for us.” I have no guarantees that the world is going to get better. Scripture paints no pollyanna, hyper-idealistic view about the world getting better and better. As a matter of fact, Scripture seems to indicate just the opposite. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

That’s far from a cheery, rosey picture, and yet I’m confident that God will faithfully grace us and continuously empower us to live as overcomers in this world. Proverbs 4:18 reads, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” The world may be dark and getting darker, but our path is bright and getting brighter! Don’t look to this world for your peace, your joy, or your security; look to God! Max Lucado said, “Lower your expectations of earth. This isn’t heaven, so don’t expect it to be.”

The world didn’t give us our peace, our joy, our security, or our confidence, and as someone once said, the world can’t take it away. Psalm 73:24 says, “You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Not only do we have blessings and benefits in this life, but we have heaven and eternity to look forward to.

3. We are to seek things above.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying things here on earth or being diligent to experience success in life. Paul told Timothy to advise the rich not, “…to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). It’s OK to enjoy things here on earth, but make sure that the things to do not possess you—that they don’t consume you or capture your heart’s devotion. Jesus spoke very powerfully and yet simply when He said, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Don’t look back!

John reminded us of the temporal nature of earthly things in 1 John 2:15-17. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

The more we have a revelation of heavenly things, the less we will value earthly, temporal things. The old hymn says it well, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Seeking things above does not mean becoming withdrawn, irresponsible, or negligent regarding our earthly responsibilities. We don’t only live in the book of Psalms—being drawn upward in worship. We also live in the book of Proverbs—living wisely in this life. Seeking things above means that we filter our day-to-day decisions through this question: “Of what value will this be in eternity?” C.S. Lewis also said, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

4. We are to influence the here and now.
Paul taught us that, …we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). We are not only to represent heaven, but we are reflect and carry God’s nature and express His will in the earth. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, one of the key phrases was, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

I prayed that hundred of times as a young person, ritualistically, without realizing the magnitude and significance of those words. One person said that we can never really pray (meaningfully) “Your kingdom come” unless we first pray “My kingdom go.” In other words, when we invite the kingdom of God to come, we are requesting His rule, His reign, and His governance in our lives. That means we’re surrendering our position as “Boss” and “Supreme Potentate” over our own lives, and fully submitting to His Lordship.

When we pray, “Your kingdom come,” He fully intends to have His kingdom—His rule and reign—expressed in us and through us. Jesus told His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). We belong to Him now, and we will belong to Him eternally. He has given us a purpose and a destiny, and that involves representing Him upon this earth. We are salt, and we are light. Paul admonished believers, “…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…” (Phil. 2:15).

Let’s live effectively in two time zones—living in the moment, but for eternity. Remember, we are in this world but not of it. The best for us is yet to come. We are to seek things above. And we are to influence the here and now.

Copyright © Tony Cooke Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tony Cooke
Web site: Tony Cooke Ministries
 
Since 2002, Tony and Lisa have traveled full-time with an assignment of “Strengthening Churches and Leaders.” Tony’s passion for teaching the Bible has taken him to forty-six states and twenty-six nations. Tony, and Lisa reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are the parents of two adult children, Laura and Andrew.
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