Where the Former Things?

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true… It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’” Revelation 21:1-8

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

The eternal hope of a Christian is certain and good. We know that we know what will be ours and what will be. For the present, we dwell among things that will not be, with sights on the not yet. Assurance of the future buoys our thoughts and lifts our wings for today, enabling us to soar above the dark, madding world with perspective and joy.

So what place do we give former things in our everyday? In Christ we’re new creatures; the old self is gone, put away by the blood of Christ through salvation. We still wrangle with the pull of sin, the nag of pride and greed, jealousy and bitterness. Certainly we wrestle with unimaginable grief, unmet longings, and the curse of hard toil. But these struggles of a life that will one day be forever former can be endured with a long and high view, an expectancy that they will surely pass. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 5:17; Colossians 3:1-10; 1 Peter 5:10)

Where are we allowing them to dominate? If we nurture old habits, they ensnarl their roots around every attempted discipline. If we brood with regret or wallow in shame, we block out the Son’s light. If we continue to entertain the world’s magnetism and doubt in faith, we give opportunity to return to unenlightened thinking. Though the enemy would deceive us into thinking not, these things are former and have no place in a victorious, fruitful life. Whose word do we believe? How does our behavior prove it?

Lord, fix my mind, sights, and hope in the heavenlies, keeping eternity at the fore in every decision and delight.

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