I have been meaning to put up another study on the blog (you know, over 2000 words), but for various reasons – not only related to time – I have not been able to. All in good time, but meanwhile, allow me to share this passage with you from Psalm 73. I’ll quote it from the NASB because I think that translation captures the meaning best:
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. — Psalm 73:25
After a rather convoluted journey of thought and feeling (vv. 13-16; 21-22), the psalmist remembers that, even though the wicked (an emphasis on those who live in gross and obvious sin) seem to prosper on the earth (vv. 3-12), in the end they will receive nothing less than God’s judgment (vv. 17-20). But the experience has taught him a valuable lesson, which he expresses in our original verse: You can’t live your relationship to God on the basis of this world. In other words, you can’t experience a true and fulfilled Christian life by keeping your eyes fixed on this world.
Remember what Paul said to the Colossians?
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. — Col. 3:1-3
That is why Jesus Himself warned His disciples:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” — Mat. 6:19-20
And just after that:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” — Mat. 6:33
Today we are so preoccupied with this life that we lose sight of the fact that we don’t even belong here (Heb. 13:14). And while all humans are creatures of eternity, those of us who have been redeemed in Christ are destined for heaven – and are subsequently called to live wholly and completely like that. I can fill this post with passage after passage demonstrating how clearly we are called to be preoccupied with the spiritual and the heavenly rather than the physical and worldly, but instead I would invite you to prayerfully seek this truth out in the Word by yourselves.
One of Satan’s most successful strategies, I believe, is to choke us with concerns of this temporal life to the point where our spiritual senses grow dull and weak, and our walk with the Lord becomes a stumble, and our ministry to Him becomes fruitless and non-existent. Like John Piper puts it:
“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” — A hunger for God, p. 23
We should be thankful for the temporal blessings that our Father graciously bestows upon us in this world (James 1:17), but we should be careful not to become slaves to them: Family, love, money, jobs, education, social status etc are all good things, but it is so easy to make little gods out of them – and when we lose them, we are lost.
God calls us, not to asceticism, but to a heavenly view of all things temporal. We are in the world, but not of the world (John 17:15-16). So live for heaven while on earth and then we will be able to echo the psalmist’s cry: … besides You, I desire nothing on earth.