Do you ever wonder if sometimes our focus is in the wrong place?
I remember growing up and various church teachers always teaching about how we need to "do" certain things so that someday we make it to heaven and we need to "not do" other certain things so that we don't go to hell. From that, as I know so many do, an idea is created that we have to make sure and do the right things now and not do the wrong things so that in the future we will end up in the right place. It quickly becomes about what I can do that results in where I go.
To make matters worse, we then share these thoughts and beliefs with other people and before long our whole religion is revolving around where "I" end up and if "you" don't fix what "you" are doing wrong, then "you" are going to hell. We get so focused on where "I" am going and where "you" are going that we forget we are actually on a journey now.
I know there is a passage in the Bible that speaks of focusing on "Heaven" or as other translations put it, "where Christ is now," but I wonder if it has more to with keeping on focus on Christ that it does where He is actually at.
I know there have been several people out there that have written about being a disciple and I have from time to time even. The more I understand what a disciple is, the less I feel like I can call myself one. A disciple is someone who wants more than just to "know" what the rabbi is teaching, but rather wants to be who the rabbi is. A disciple of Christ is someone who wants to see the world as Christ sees it; someone who wants to have a relationship with God like Son has; someone who wants to understand reality the same way Jesus did. So many of us get so wrapped up in trying to understand and "know," that we negate to be.
When our focus becomes on where we are going it is no longer on Christ, but rather on "our reward." The best illustration I can think of for this is Romans 9:1-5 where Paul says,
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could pray that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
Paul was more focused on the here and now and wanting people to realize the importance of it, than he was on where he would "end up." He was willing to sacrifice his connection to Christ so that others could see and have that same connection. He was truly being like Christ.
So I wonder, where in our lives is our focus on "where we are going" effecting the way we live and keeping us from living in the here and now that God gave us to utilize for His glory.