Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not of this World

I woke up this morning with a pulled muscle in my back, a pain in my foot, and sunburn stinging my neck and ears. Yesterday was our homeschool group's Field Day, and between that and shoveling in the yard on the weekend, I'm feeling the pain of being out of shape.

So when I read 2 Corinthians 4 this morning, I understood Paul's words:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I've been thinking recently about the fact that believers in Christ are not citizens of this world, but of heaven. We are sojourners. I feel it. I ache for Christ's glory to reign in me and in this world.

It is easier and easier to feel the truth of this as my body shows signs of growing older (and I'm not yet 40!). But yesterday as I shared a devotion with the Field Day kids about the glory of God, urging them to seek God's glory, not their own, I noticed how difficult it is to comprehend the truth of this when youth and vigor and privilege and security envelope a child. On the one hand, it seems easy to tell kids about the Gospel, but on the other it is incredibly difficult to convince a child to yearn for heaven.

Last Sunday night our family was discussing with our kids what it means to be a citizen of heaven, to be an alien in this world. Suddenly the words to a song that I hadn't heard in years came to my head:
We are pilgrims in a strange land
We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day it seems so clear
This world will never want us here
We're not welcome in this world of wrong
We are foreigners who don't belong

We are strangers, we are aliens
We are not of this world
We are envoys, we must tarry
With this message we must carry
There's so much to do before we leave
With so many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail
And the gates of hell will not prevail
Jesus told us men would hate us
But we must be of good cheer
He has overcome this world of darkness
And soon we will depart from here
Do you remember it? Petra's Not of this World (lyrics by Bob Hartman). Here's the iTunes link: Petra - The Ultimate Collection: Petra - Not of This World

Children blessed with a loving family, plenty to eat, shelter and clothing, even toys and amusements, don't sing "And soon we will depart from here" with much conviction. Some day their circumstances will change, however, and I pray that the truths about this that God is sowing in their hearts will come to their minds and that knowing His truth they will be able to say with deep meaning:
I am afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed by the puzzles of this world, but not driven to despair; persecuted by those who are enemies of the cross, but not forsaken; struck down by pain, hardship, disappointment, but not destroyed.
(Based on 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, italicized words added)
Images: Toby gets a high-five after receiving his ribbons (top). Sydney and Hope and their Field Day ribbons (middle). Lane stands next to his rocket, just before launching (bottom).

Field Day post from last year: 2008 Field Day
Scriptures in ESV.


Sharon said...

I do remember that song! I think it was on the first Christian music cassette tape I ever bought! I must have been still in high school!!!

I think you have to pick and choose your times when talking about heaven. Often when something bad happens in our family that is a chance to bring up the joys of heaven. It might be something as simple as a stubbed toe or a bit bigger like the pet guinea pig dying or when they visit Great-Granny and see how frail and weak she is getting.

I try to quote those verses from Revelation 21:
3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."It seems to make a lot more impact when there actually is pain or crying going on at the time.

I don't recommend it if you want to stop the crying as quickly as possible, though. I have been known to make Anna cry more just by reminding her that we aren't there yet!

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

It is such an intangible concept--the hope of heaven, being "not of this world"--that it is difficult to convey. It isn't just a desire to escape my aches and pains, but it is a deep sense of the greater glory that is coming and is already beginning inside me. It is that eternal life starts now!I just don't know how to arrange the words to get at what I'm thinking...

I like the way that you plant the hope of heaven in your children's hearts in little ways throughout daily life. It is definitely something I need to emulate.

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