So often Christians fall into the confines of this world’s values and strive toward earthly goals. We endeavour to reach the peak of our careers; we budget our money and invest a chunk of every pay into various funds for our retirement; and we even collect valuable possessions to feel the status of success. We believe that these accomplishments are the things that fulfill our purpose in life, and so they are worth the struggle and the endurance. But this thinking is wrong.
This world is not our home; we are just passing through.
The pressures to meet the material goals of this world have caused many Christians to believe that they need to struggle to achieve them in order to be successful, but this is not a prerequisite set out by God. He tells us to keep our eyes on Heaven and to not make earth our treasure.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” … Matthew 6:19
Our accomplishments are nothing that we’ve earned or collected here on earth, and our purpose in life should not be focused on getting them. Our eyes, our hearts and our values should all be on Jesus and what HE has done for us, and our goal and our focus should be on Him and on our home in eternity with Him. The rewards that we look forward to are not earthly, but will be given to us by Jesus when we get to Heaven and they will last forever.
Many scriptures are taken out of context – and deliberately by some well-known preachers who use them to claim a prosperous life here on earth. We quote scriptures like Psalm 37:4 that says we can have the desires of our heart and we look for earthly riches because we think that this is what God wants for us. Many of us believe that it’s our right as Christians to own the wealth on earth – and so it’s what we live for.
We use other scriptures like Revelations 5:10 that says we are kings and priests and that we shall reign on the earth, but we take that scripture out of context and expect it now. We declare that we are entitled to all that God has, his hills of a thousand cattle, because we are His children. We take the concept of faith and abuse it as a tool to try to employ God to make us wealthy.
Doesn’t God want us to be happy? Does He want us to live in poverty? Not at all. God wants us to have a fulfilling life on earth and He does not want us to be poor. He says in 3 John 1:2 that it is His will for us to prosper and be in health.
So is the Bible contradicting itself? No, the Bible does not change or compromise its truth. We are the ones who change it to suit our own selfish and unrighteous desires. When our heart lives for Jesus and our goal is to serve Him, He provides these things for us. We don’t need to scheme to get them or to make them our quest as a Christian.
Our home is in Heaven. Jesus says in John 14:2,” In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” What a wonderful promise! Jesus is in Heaven and He’s made homes for each of us there so we can live through eternity with Him.
This world, on the other hand, is coming to its end and has become a target for destruction. We don’t need to look far to see that it’s is falling apart; that crime, poverty and natural disasters are growing astronomically, and that diseases and starvation have become epidemic nightmares around the globe. Even our authorities agree that things are getting worse here by the day. And rightly so because Jesus tells us that we are living in the last days of earth’s existence.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” … 2 Timothy 3:1.
The earth is not going to get better; it will continue downhill until God destroys it.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” … Matthew 24:5
While we’re still here, though, we have a purpose to fulfill as Christians, and that is to encourage and support each other and to be witnesses to the world of God’s grace through Jesus our Saviour. Our lives should reflect God so when people see us they see the character and the Spirit of God in us. How do we do that? By the way we act and react to situations; by the way we give God all the praise and glory for being our Lord and our help when we need help (Psalm 9:9); and by the way we live our lives and show that Jesus is our reason for living and that our wealth is not in earthly possessions, but in the eternal life He has prepared for us.
We cannot put our hope and our purpose in earthly riches. We can’t take them with us as they belong to this world. Mark 10:24 says, “… But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!’” If we cling to the possessions of this world, we will die just like Lot’s wife died when God led his family out of Gomorrah. She looked back in sadness because her heart was in that city and its possessions, and not with the Lord.
We can enjoy the good things that this world has to offer, but we CANNOT be attached to them; they CANNOT be our reason for living or our goals for this life. Why? Because when we are attached and when we live to collect these possessions, they become a god to us, and what does the Bible say about that?
“You shall have no other gods before me.” … Deuteronomy 5:7
It’s a very fine line that separates the natural instinct of setting up a nice home for our family and wanting only the best and most expensive possessions for our personal comfort and social status. God says in Isaiah 32:18, “My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” He wants us to have a good home to live in here, and He wants us to be healthy and He even wants to give us the desires of our heart.
All these things are ours because He loves us and we love Him. We are not part of this world anymore and we don’t depend upon this world to survive – we depend on Him for everything. When we make Heaven our goal and our home to look forward to, the things we have here are simply needs or desires to get us through this journey. Yes, they may be nice things, but they are not our reason for living or our reason to want to stay here. We are not attached to them.
Our hearts are free to enjoy them or to give them away; we share what we have with other Christians so that we all are part of God’s blessing, and we help those in need, which in turn shows Jesus to a hurting world. And when we do, we are blessed. Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.”
We shouldn’t spend our time, money or thoughts on making this world our permanent home, but while we’re here God promises to supply all of our needs. He says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” When we put Him first, He blesses us.
This world is not our home. It’s a battlefield where the devil is trying to steal, kill and destroy anyone and everyone so he can keep them from knowing God. Our commission as Christians is to arm ourselves in the Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit we can share the gospel with people and win souls for Christ. And we can do this because Heaven is our home; Heaven is our goal; and Heaven is where Jesus is and where we want to be.
This world is not our home; we are just passing through.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
… John 14:1-3