The longer I live in this world the greater I long for the next world- HEAVEN! I can't take the credit for such, it is a work of God in me that is setting me apart (sanctification) for His glory. I feel more uncomfortable in this world. More unwanted, more as a stranger, more uneasy with all the sin that surrounds me and is in me which is a daily part of being here. Often, I feel dirty and guilty as I seek to live holy in an unholy place. Now I want to say that there is much beauty and blessing as we travel this sod and the Lord has taught us to "rejoice this is the day the Lord hath made." I realize that earthly life is a gift to enjoy and invest in, and earthly life can be abundant as we live with Christ ruling in our hearts. BUT still the longer I live I desire more and more for the day I will depart and be with the Lord. I praise God for that great work of his in my inner man which is getting me ready to transition from one place to another. I suspect it will be a process and Lord willing there is still lots to do for the Lord on this earth BUT there is growing in me a deeper desire for my complete redemption to be fulfilled.
You may ask why or what is the main motive of your desire. I hope it is the same desire as the Apostle Paul when he was ready to pour out his last drink offering of life to the Lord and to be with the Lord as we read in II Timothy 4:6-8. You see for nearly 35 years the Apostle Paul had walked with Christ and served Him in sharing the gospel, planting churches, being used to write much of the New Testament. He said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept (defended) the faith." Paul had labored, sacrificed and battled. Yet his greatest battle was not against false teachers, demons or Satan. His greatest battle was against his own personal sin. The weariness of life is bound up in the reality that while we are trying to be successful in the battle against the outside forces we are constantly having to fight to overcome the fight which is on the inside. The longer the believer lives the more they long for ETERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS!
As e study the scripture we find there are two basic things a genuine believer longs for. First, they long for the presence of Christ. Secondly, they long for the absence of sin. The Lord spoke about this in his Sermon on the Mount. He said inn Matthew 5, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." The genuine believer has been given a HUNGER for RIGHTEOUSNESS. Thank the Lord that for the believer they have received IMPUTED righteousness (Romans 5). And that they are receiving IMPARTED righteousness (Romans 6) as they are being sanctified. But we will not receive FULL and COMPLETE righteousness until we leave this world and are with Christ in heaven.
You see the longer we live the greater the desire to become FULLY righteous. It is part of our salvation. It is a work of God in us. And we begin to understand more and more that FULL righteousness will not be until the Lord takes us in death or rapture of the church. I can testify today that what has become one of my deepest longings is to be in the presence of Christ and to be absent of sin. To be absent of sin is to be fully righteous. The greatest CROWNS of REWARD are the general crowns given graciously by God to all His redeemed followers. They are:
THINK ABOUT IT!
Never ever knowing another temptation of sin.
Never having another evil thought.
Never saying another evil word.
Never experiencing another fear.
Never committing another evil deed.
Never again feeling or being guilty.
Never desiring a substitute for our Lord.
Never being unfaithful.
Never being deceived or deceiving.
Never being jealous.
Never depressed or discouraged.
NEVER EVER STRUGGLING WITH YOUR PERSONAL SIN OR THE SIN OF SOMEONE ELSE EVER AGAIN!
Sounds pretty sweet to me. May we live now with that great hope and until that day of hope arrives may we FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT knowing that one day the fight will be over once and for all.
"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” II Timothy 4:8
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.