May 06, 2016 Words of Grace – Where to Set Our Affection
One big temptation we face as Christians is to set our affection on earthly things and to forget about the things of heaven. We feel the tension of living in two worlds the moment we read about this temptation in Philippians 3. We live on this earth so we must think about things we know to be temporary. We are still a part of this world because we are not yet in heaven. So how can we live and not set our affection here?
Several times in the New Testament we are told not to set our mind on earthly things, but on heavenly things. The word “mind” is used to refer to something deeper than just a thought. It means our affection, our love, our primary concern. Certainly we give thought to the things of this world. In fact, I am giving thought to the meal I will eat after I finish writing this. We pay attention to our schedules, our bank accounts, and our relationships. But that is different than thinking of these things as being the lasting and ultimate end of our lives. We can eat, sleep, and make money without making a god of our bellies, beds, and bank accounts. We can attend to the things on earth without worshipping them (Philippians 3:19).
How? By knowing the truth of our true citizenship. We belong to heaven, from where we await the return of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). Because we belong to heaven first, we seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). Since we have been raised up with Christ, we seek the things above, where he is. We set our affection on things that are above and not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2).
Tension. That’s what we feel. But this tension must be felt if we are to know that we are living faithfully as citizens of heaven who are pilgrims on this earth.
As you live today, don’t try to resolve the tension. Let the tension be your reminder that you live here tending to your busyness with joy and faithfulness, but that you belong to heaven where your ultimate investment and hope lie. Let the knowledge of your heavenly citizenship prioritize what you give your life to and how you give it. Let the things of the kingdom of heaven impact the things you do on earth. Go be creative in your heavenly calling to glorify God in all things.
More on setting our affections in the right place on Sunday. Enjoy reading Philippians 3 with someone this weekend.