It isn't supposed to be this way. We live in a beautiful world that intricately–in all of its majesty, wonder, and good–points to our Creator. And yet, we do not have to look hard to realize that it is also a world very marred and broken by sin. Families fall apart. Your friend doesn't make it home from the hospital after the accident. The dream you held onto so tightly as a little girl seems to crumble a little more every year. That job you worked so hard for leaves you with nothing more than stress and tears. The diagnosis is grim and only prompts more questions than you had before. Unpaid bills rest as a pit in your stomach, ready to greet you every morning. And we have only to turn on the news or scroll our social media feeds to find reminders of the brokenness, not only in our personal lives and the lives of those we love but in our world, cities, and neighborhoods. The tears come. And indeed, it isn't supposed to be this way.
However, while this brokenness certainly exists, we have hope. As believers, we look forward to a day when we will spend eternity with Christ. And what a joyous day it will be when all of the suffering and the pain and the questions that fill our moments are no more. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." The hope of this world will surely disappoint, but our God never will. We must unwaveringly set our eyes on eternity as we hold to the hope of Christ. Yet, how is it that we live in this way? How do we live with our eyes fixed firmly on eternity?
Below are four ideas that may help you keep your eyes fixed firmly on eternity.
- Meditate on the truth of Scripture.
As we fix our gaze on eternity, it is imperative that we study and learn the truth of God's Word and hide it deep in our hearts. Psalm 1 tells us that those who meditate day and night on the law of the Lord are blessed. Intentionally filling our minds with the truth that we find in Scripture better enables us to combat the many negative thoughts that can otherwise overtake us. By calling God's truth to mind, we keep our eyes focused on the Lord and each of His promises to us.
In our sickness, we can remember that though we may not be healed on this side of eternity, we will one day receive complete healing in heaven with Jesus (Revelation 21:4). In the death of loved ones, we can remember that though their life on earth is over, they have gone home to eternal glory with Christ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). When we are lonely, we remember that God will never forsake us–now or in eternity to come (Deuteronomy 31:6). When we suffer, we remember that "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18). Let us walk in a growing relationship with Christ as we seek Him daily through His Word, remembering and calling to mind His truths that point us to life everlasting.
- Lay up treasure in heaven.
How tempting it is to strive for more money, security, beauty, possessions, fame, and power. But these things will never truly satisfy. God created us with a void that only Christ can fill, and unless we let Him fill that void, we will ceaselessly run toward the things of this world, unable to fill up what we so desperately think is missing from our lives. Rather than chasing after empty passions, may we store up for ourselves treasure in heaven that will last for all of eternity. As we obediently and faithfully follow the Lord in all that we do, we gain true, everlasting riches that cannot be destroyed (Matthew 6:20). Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Are you now chasing after the world's shallow riches and glories? Let Christ be the greatest treasure that we seek–let Him be our deepest longing, for only He can ever truly fulfill.
- Walk by faith and not by sight.
Paul suggests in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that "we walk by faith, not by sight" because he knows people see with a limited scope of understanding. Paul also understands that nothing in this world compares to what Christ has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). We cannot wrap our minds around eternity and the place Christ has for us there. And because of our limited understanding, we can become fixated on what we see now and forget to look to Christ. However, the troubles we endure through the seasons of life do not tell the whole story. For even those things that seem irreparable and unredeemable surely have their purpose in heaven. Even though there is much we may never understand before we take our last breath, let us find hope in trusting that Jesus will repair what has been broken, redeeming for His glory that which we could not make right in our lives here on earth.
- Preach the truth of the gospel to others.
This world is not our home, and not one of us is promised tomorrow. With this in mind, it is important for us to share the gospel–to our families, friend groups, neighborhoods, and cities. Matthew 28:19 commands us, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations" And so we go, and we help others to see this one, short life in light of eternity and the eternal joy that is found with our Savior. We share the good news of Christ as we tell those who don't know Him. We also remind ourselves that this world is not our home–we are "here today and gone tomorrow" (Matthew 6:30). And we invite them into this knowledge so that they too may come to know the Lord and His great love for them–a love so great that He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we could one day stand before His throne, singing His praise forevermore.
Until that day, we will look around us, and the tears will fall–for the suffering, for what we do not understand, and for those who are lost. No, it isn't supposed to be this way. So we redirect our gaze to our Creator. We look forward in hope, and as our focus remains on Christ and what lasts (Colossians 3:2), we will find greater joy and contentment than could ever be found apart from Jesus.
If you want to learn more about fixing your eyes on eternity, we recommend you check out these additional resources:
-Daily Grace Co. Podcast: Episode 96, "True Hope for Hard Times: Setting Our Eyes on Eternity"
-Meditations for the Heart by The Daily Grace Co.
-Eden to Eternity bundle by The Daily Grace Co.