I think much of the apathy and immaturity of Christians today stems from a lack of hope. Hope doesn’t shape our theology and life enough. Our minds remain caught up with things here because they aren’t caught up with things there. Maybe it’s because we think our heavenly hope is only possible or even probable, but not assured.
The Apostle Paul bears no such affliction. He knows Christian hope stands secure. He says to the Colossian Christians that hope is “laid up for you in heaven” (Col. 1:5). The Christian possesses a guaranteed hope that dwells in heaven, where neither rust nor moth can destroy.
It is necessary to convince ourselves (by the grace of God) of this truth because we will seldom be excited about something we aren’t convinced is ours. If a man passes a mansion but the mansion belongs to another, he will find no enjoyment in it. The more we as Christians convince our hearts that the treasure in heaven is truly ours, the more this truth will shape, mold, and impact our living.
Hope nurtures and forms. It possesses a gravitational pull, beckoning the Christian to live by faith in Christ and to love more fully. Paul writes about the impact of hope upon these Colossian Christians. He thanks God for their faith in Christ Jesus and the love toward the saints that they manifest (Col. 1:4). He comments that this faith and love is generated by their hope (v. 5). We would expect Paul to say the reverse, that their faith and love caused hope. But that is not Paul’s emphasis here. Hope causes their faith and love.
It is life changing when we begin to understand the impact of hope. It is laid up for you, dear Christian, in heaven. It remains secure under the protection of God. None can take it. None can diminish it. None can destroy it. It is a treasure that God our Father Himself keeps for us. That is why Christ comforts His disciples by saying, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Nothing is more secure. And that reality should shape our living.
Think often upon heaven. Let hope impact you. The mind that contemplates little the hope of heaven will be shaped little by it. Christian, reason with yourself and convince your soul, heart, and mind more fully that heaven is the only true treasure and happiness. The more we believe this truth, the less the fleeting things of this world occupy our thoughts. The more we believe this truth, the more it shapes our affections, pursuits, peace, love, and faith.
My friends, heaven is not a finishing touch on this life. It is not the dessert and this life the meal. Heaven is the meal and this life’s enjoyments are but the appetizer. Our hope is there. That is a revolutionary thought in this world that is so caught up with today. It is a thought that will form and mold your living in the present. Contemplate heaven often and watch it shape your life. Just as it did for the Colossian Christians.