I walked along the winding path and listened as the leaves rustled in the breeze. The birds sang a happy song without taking a breath. I looked up and marveled at the stark white clouds against the bright blue sky. And I exhaled. Rest and joy buoyed up my soul once again.
My day had taken a sudden turn for the better.
Only moments prior, my thoughts weighed so heavily within me that they pulled my gaze right to the tips of my shoes. With one foot in front of the other, I rehearsed my worries and my fears, while my eyes stayed fixed on the gravel trail in front of me.
It wasn’t until I heard the laughter of a child that I looked up and realized the error of my ways! It was a beautiful day. I had eyes to see, ears to hear, and legs that were ready to engage in a good walk.
How often we miss the blessings right in front of us because our thoughts—and thus, our gaze—are pulled downward to the things below. What things? Trials that will surely come and go. Worries that never materialize. And lying fears that threaten to swallow us whole.
How much of our lives do we miss because we allow our rogue thoughts to run wild?
Scripture says this:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
It’s not even enough to lift our thoughts from the muck and mire of our troubles just to consider a bright blue sky (as wonderful as that is). As Christ followers, we’re called to set our sights on things above; on the realities of heaven.
Recently on Middays I spoke with Pastors Peter and Carolyn Haas of Substance Church about this very thing. Pastor Peter just finished a three-part series on eternity, heaven, and our part in the greater Kingdom story.
We talked about how a right view of heaven changes everything for us on earth. If we hold onto the myth that heaven is boring, uneventful, and without color, we’ll look to this world to satisfy our deepest desires and completely miss our very purpose for walking the earth today.
But if we believe—really believe—that a better day is coming, one where we’ll know joy unexplainable, and love, unfathomable, and that how we live here impacts how we live on there, with Jesus, we will pay more attention to where we put our time, how we live and give; what we say and how we pray.
When Jesus told us to pray, May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven, He invited us to experience tastes of heaven now, while we wait for that Great Day when He gathers His people together to live forever with Him.
What would it look like if His Kingdom came and His best will prevailed in your life and in your world? Would people get healed? Would relationships be reconciled? Would the lost be found? Would the wanderer come back home again? I think so.
How about we pray more earnestly than ever, for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done, right here, right now?
What if we declared war on those thoughts that pull down our gaze and make us forget who we are?
It takes initiative to set your gaze on things above. But that’s where our hope lies. We are anchored to God, upward and forward.
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary (Hebrews 6:19).