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Wednesday, January 18, 2023
"This Is Not Where I Belong"
Message summary: In the last two messages we have written about the vital importance of maintaining a tight grip. But today let us also consider a tremendous application in life in keeping a loose grip! When we focus on the things pertaining only to this life our inner peace quickly diminishes. Frankly, we would be driven to deep despair if we placed our hope in seeing this world's problems solved politically!
Listen to our message on your audio player.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
In the last two messages we have written about the vital importance of maintaining a tight grip, using the climbing rope as an illustration. But today let us also consider a tremendous application in maintaining a loose grip! Let me explain with an observation from a meeting I attended here in Lancaster County some 20 years ago.
Larry Burkett had a longstanding, fruitful ministry concerning a Biblical view of financial stewardship that many in our generation benefited from. I went to a meeting where he spoke near the end of his long battle with cancer. He was very ill and speaking was a major effort for him in his physically compromised condition.
He shared the interesting perspective of having a terminal illness and how it had changed his life. Eight years earlier he had been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer that is virtually incurable. He shared that, of the 73 people who had been diagnosed with the cancer and were in a medical study with him, 72 had already died. How's that for a dark cloud to live under! Larry passed on about 6 months after that meeting in July of 2003.
I was texting with a friend yesterday who was diagnosed with ALS a few months ago. I get concerned about Larmar's state of mind regarding his most difficult diagnosis and sought to encourage him in the Lord yesterday. His response was that the Lord has been so good to him and that he has shown him ways to appreciate some of the blessings he's enjoying as a result of his diagnosis.
We are all terminal as far as our physical bodies are concerned. Most of us are indefinitely terminal; that is, we have no idea of when we will die and generally assume that our death is far off; that we will live to a ripe old age.
But a diagnosis of a terminal disease places a definite finality on our physical condition. This is what Larry meant when he shared how his disease had changed his life, living with this perspective from day to day.
Of course in reality this is the perspective we should always live with. Not in a morbid, negative sense but it should motivate us to keep a loose grip on the perishable and a tight hold on the imperishable. As we feed on the Word faithfully our spiritual appetite will be growing and our affections for heaven will be growing as we anticipate our face to face meeting with Jesus as we finally behold Him in all His glory. Just keeping a vision of that glorious moment in our hearts today will deeply impact our attitude in all that we process this day. Paul writes, "Our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.
Bible teacher Richard Dresselhaus, a friend from San Diego, writes:
"Eager expectation. The best is just ahead. The Apostle Paul describes it this way: 'Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior…who…will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His.' This is the blessed hope of every believer.
But, how eager is our expectation? Has the pull of the world diminished the eagerness of our expectation? I certainly personally testify that this is an ongoing challenge! Remember, we have dual citizenship: we have national citizenship, but we also have heavenly citizenship. The more we cultivate our heavenly citizenship, the more eager will be our expectation.
It will grow as you meditate on God’s Word, develop a heart of worship, and spend time with other citizens of heaven. Eager expectation. The best is just ahead."
In the daily text the Apostle Paul shares of the perspective we should be living with everyday. I am particularly intrigued by the phrase "so we fix our eyes". This translates a Greek word that is in the present active meaning "to fix one's gaze upon, to concentrate one's attention upon." That is the outlook in which we want to live our lives and when we do so we experience the inner peace that is our inheritance in Christ. But when we focus on the things pertaining only to this life our inner peace quickly diminishes. Frankly we would be driven to deep despair if we were to give any hope in seeing this world's problems solved socially or politically!
There's a wonderful description of this outlook in the Faith Chapter in Hebrews, initially written to encourage persecuted believers, that is so illustrative of this "loose grip" that we want to conclude with.
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (Hebrews 11:13-16).
All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, with great anticipation I am looking for a city with an eternally strong foundation, a home in the heavens not made by human hands. Help me to live as an alien here on earth since the benefits of my citizenship in heaven are of far greater worth than the benefits of my citizenship here below. Keep me tightly holding onto Your promise of the heaven yet to come so that I will loosely grip the temporal that is only for here and now. I cling to this great promise repeated throughout the Bible so that it gives me a proper perspective in the way I am to live as a stranger here on earth. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"This Is Not Where I Belong" Video Building 429 (Lyrics quoted in today's message) Their name is derived from Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
"Turn Your Eyes" Video Sovereign Grace Music
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