Overly Eager for Heaven?

John Newton

“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.”  Colossians 3:1-3

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”  2 Peter 3:11-12

Sounds clear enough to me: We’re supposed to be “heavenly-minded,” living to die and dying to live; but the question remains: can we be overly eager for heaven?  How can we tell if we’re off balance?

I have a friend who became so depressed after losing a loved one that all he thinks about is dying and escaping the hell he feels on earth.  Although depression is a normal stage of grief, my friend has been stuck five years without showing hope of change.

Although it isn’t my job to judge, I consider it my responsibility as a loving sister in Christ to gently nudge him toward getting help.  Something is off balance.  I believe he needs to ask the elders of his church to lay hands on him and pray for him (James 5:14).  I also believe he needs to seek help from a wise Christian counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist (Proverbs 12:15).

To determine if we’re too anxious for heaven, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts and show us what mostly drives and motivates us – love or hate?

But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.  So I really don’t know which is better.  I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.  But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live.

Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.  And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me.”  Philippians 1 22-26 (NLT)

After a season of grief we need to remember there’s a reason why we’re still here.  God has a purpose for us!  We’re Christ’s hands extended to a lost and dying world that needs to hear the truth in order to find the way to life.

Father in heaven, may we not get stuck in our grief.  Thank you that you didn’t get stuck in yours; rather, you stayed true to your mission of love.   Please sing your love in our hearts, granting us the power to think beyond ourselves, act beyond our fleeting pain, and make a difference in the lives of others – for eternity.

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