#716: Better Than Earth
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Reflections by the Pond
July 13, 2015
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
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It is an artful craft: knowing how to live for heaven, while living on earth. Not all attain to such a bifurcated, unnatural existence, but it should be the aspiration of every child of God in Christ.
Our bodies are made for the soil, but our minds, our spirits, are made for loftier precincts. When Christ comes in and we are converted from being fleshly to being spiritual, our priorities, our tastes, are changed from the bland diet of earth to the sumptuous feast of heaven. When the Holy Spirit enters us we are literally changed from one species, as it were, to another—from a flesh-being to a spirit-being.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13
Sadly, frustratingly, our flesh remains, no matter the conversion of appetites. Flesh has its own appetite, and its insistent cravings fight against our desire for higher sustenance. So we must keep on seeking, keep on demanding something better than what earth has to offer. For this place is still in the grip of the father of lies. As Jesus said to the Pharisees,
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
If we think we prefer familiar earth over sublime, albeit mysterious, heaven, it is because we are believing the lies of this earth’s current ruler.
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Because of this—because of the natural predilection of the flesh, as well as being targeted by the unceasing barrage emanating from a fallen society—we must train ourselves away from the things of this earth. God encourages us to be constantly "seeking the things above"—things of heaven, of holiness and purity—instead of sin. And preeminent among all those "things" is Christ Jesus Himself. The one who loves us, who died for us, who sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us—He is to be the best and highest object of our aspirations.
In Jesus we find everything this world lacks: grace, kindness, mercy, and, most of all, an intense, unwavering, supernatural love that exists nowhere else.
When we seek Him, we find Him, and having found Him, we are to make Christ the first place we go. Out of all the worldly pleasures available to us, He is to be our priority. He is to be, as Jesus Himself put it in Revelation 2, our "first love."
We are to be preoccupied with "things above," preoccupied with things of God, of righteousness, of spiritual wisdom and insight, of purity and grace—all of which stand in opposition to the things below, things of the earth. We are in this world, and we are to maintain normal relationships in this world—we are not to go into reclusive hiding. But even as we remain on the lower plane, we are—to employ an old-fashioned term—to study the higher plane.
Our mind, our spirit, our very soul is to dwell where our Savior lives. It is to become more familiar to us than the earthly neighborhood in which we live. Its rewards are to be our goal; its joy is to be our highest aspiration.
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Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.