I have a question for you. In the busyness of your day-to-day life, how often do you think about heaven? Many times, the only time heaven is significantly on our minds is when someone has passed away. The reality of heaven gives us comfort in such times and hope for our own future as believers, too. But God desires that we pursue the things of heaven not only in connection with death, but in life as well.
Colossians 3:1 says, “If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” The English Revised Version reads, “You were raised from death with Christ, so live for what is in heaven where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God,” and the Century English Version says, “You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven where Christ rules at God’s right side.”
Here in Colossians, Paul is exhorting us to seek, to live for and to set our hearts on what is in heaven. In light of what Paul is saying, my bigger question for you to consider today is this: Are you heavenly minded? As those who have been risen with Christ, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is letting us know that heaven is a significant place for us to keep our focus.
Colossians 3:2 goes on to say, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Some translations read, “Set your mind on things above.” The Albert Barnes Commentary on verse 2 says that our “thoughts should be occupied about the things where Christ now dwells, where our final home is to be, where our great interests are.”
Adam Clark’s Commentary on this same verse says, “Love heavenly things; study them; let your hearts be entirely engrossed by them. Now that ye are converted to God, act in reference to heavenly things as ye did formerly in reference to those of earth; and vice versa. This is a very good general rule: ‘Be as much in earnest for heavenly and eternal things as ye formerly were for those that are earthly and perishing.’”
I like The Revised English Version of verse 2: “So live for what is in heaven.” What does that mean to us? Simply this: We are to let heaven, to let eternity, be the reason and motivation for why we exist and why we are living in this life. We are to let eternity be the motivating force, the primary focus; and the main influence in our lives.
We were made for eternity; not just for this life, but for eternity. What if God were to open the spiritual world to us right now and allow us to see what eternity is like? What heaven is like? What plans God has for us through the ages to come? What would that do to us? Just 10 seconds or 15 seconds. Would that change our priorities? Would that change what’s important to us? Would it change the way we see things or think about things in this life?
We have numerous examples in the scripture of people who were greatly impacted by gaining glimpses of heavenly things. Here are just a few:
- The Apostle Paul saw something when he was caught up to the third heaven that changed his life. Paul said that he heard unspeakable words; words that he could not share with other people around him.
- Peter, James and John saw something of heaven on the Mount of Transfiguration when the Glory of God descend upon Jesus, and He was transfigured before them.
- The Apostle John saw many things on the island of Patmos when he experienced all that he wrote about in the Book of Revelation.
- Even Abraham in the Old Testament saw something on Mount Moriah that caused him to want to look for “a city whose maker and builder was not man.”
Each of these experiences giving them but a taste of heaven changed their lives forever.
Considering eternity can sometimes seem bigger than what our natural minds can fathom. I want try to illustrate to you the length of our lives on earth compared to eternity in heaven. 2 Peter 3:8, says: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
So Peter says that one day in heaven is equivalent to 1000 years on earth. I’m not saying to you that Peter is giving us an exact mathematical formula or equation to determine exactly what eternity is like. Instead, he’s giving us this illustration, inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that we can have an understanding of eternity.
So just for the sake of conversation, let’s say that what Peter wrote is accurate. If one day in heaven is equivalent to 1000 years on earth, then what is one hour in heaven equal to on earth? I can’t lie. I checked this on Google and Google said that one hour in heaven is 41 years, 6 months, 28 days, 1 hour, 26 minutes and 24 seconds.
Let that sink in a moment. I’ll say it again. One hour in heaven is 41 years, 6 months, 28 days, 1 hour, 26 minutes and 24 seconds on earth. So one hour in heaven is roughly 41 to 42 years on earth. So that means if you are 40 years old right now, you have lived one hour in heaven. If you are 80 years old, you have lived only two hours in heaven.
Now let me ask you this question. If you had only two hours to live your entire life on this earth, and if what you did during those two hours determined your reward in heaven, what would you focus on? If this life on earth was reduced to a short period of time, what would your priorities be? What would you focus on? What would be important to you? Since our lives are stretched out over time and time seems to move slowly, however, usually we don’t think much about eternity.
So why should we think about eternity? I’ll address that in Part Two of this article. For now, I encourage you, again, to reflect on these questions and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you:
- How heavenly minded am I right now?
- How can I seek, live for and set my heart more on things above?
- What are my priorities right now, and how might You ask me to change them?