Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Eternal perspective

Shifting to an Eternal Perspective

When I was a child, I often heard older people speak of heaven with a sense of familiarity. I marveled that they could talk of a place they had never seen, yet speak with such joy and intimacy. I came to realize their growing desire for heaven was fueled by life changes such as:

  • Aging bodies
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Growing intimacy with the Lord
Heading to Destruction

While these reasons are understandable, the state of our current world also seems to magnify our longing for heaven. Pandemics, racial injustice, radical violence, sex trafficking of women and children, terrorism, and hostility toward Christ-followers are just a few of the many circumstances proclaiming that our world is racing headlong to destruction.

As the anniversary of a significant loss in my life approaches next week, I also find myself shifting to a more eternal perspective. Possessions have lost their luster. Even some experiences don’t provide as much joy as they once did. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my life. I’ve simply come to realize that it doesn’t make sense to set eternal affections on temporary things.

That’s how the apostle Paul was able to recount the persecutions he experienced (II Corinthians 4), but then conclude, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”
(II Corinthians 5:8 NIV).

What is real?

This world is all we know and so we can’t imagine anything more real than the life we now live. Yet, as Paul described, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12 NIV). These are the shadowlands, seemingly vibrant only because we don’t have anything to compare them to.

But as true as this is, it still does not absolve us of being “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16) in a corrupt and dark world. As Pastor Michael Thedford once said, “This world is not our home, but it is our responsibility.” This is not our eternal destination. This is merely a bus stop on the way to our final destination.

Still, even though Christians are citizens of heaven, as long as we are here, we have a purpose. Salt does no good if it remains in the saltshaker. And light is useless if it is hidden under a barrel. As the prophet Micah wrote, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV).

This world may be temporary, but those living in it have the opportunity to choose their eternal destiny. It’s up to every Christ-follower to reflect the One to whom we belong. If what we’re occupied with does not have an ultimate eternal impact, then what’s the point?

As I think about who I’ve lost, the pull toward heaven is that much stronger. I’m shifting to an eternal perspective, and my purpose here is for eternal impact.

What about you?

 

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12 Comments

  1. LR

    Yes Ava, these are the things we think about during this time of being alone, as we shelter in place. Alone with God is precious and rewarding, reminding us of our responsibilities and assuring us of His presence! I pray the world can see this. Thank you Ava!

  2. Jane Roach

    Each day I find great comfort in the beautiful hymn: “O Soul, are you weary and troubled, No light in the darkness you see. There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free. Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!

  3. Ava Pennington

    One of my favorites, Jane!

  4. Paulette

    Your words touched my heart. My 87 year old uncle died yesterday. It wasn’t unexpected, when I saw him last year he was so unhappy with his declining health, unable to do the things he wanted to do. He passed into eternity in his sleep. He has always been part of my life, I was flower girl in my aunt and uncle’s wedding when I was 2. I’m feeling that longing for heaven today. ❤️

  5. Ava Pennington

    Oh, Paulette, I’m so sorry for your loss. Yes, these losses do cause us to yearn for heaven, don’t they?

  6. Melissa Henderson

    Amen. Our purpose here is for eternal impact. Showing the love of God to others and helping them find a closer relationship with Him is key. Great message Ava.

  7. Marcie Cramsey

    I love this article, Ava! The staff and I were just talking about this very subject. It appears our church family has lost their hope in life, and largely due to the fact they are focused more on all the troubles in this world. With that said, we are moving toward a sermon series that refocuses them on the hope of Christ, the gospel, and their eternal home. Your message here needs to be heard by many. I understand what you mean “Possessions have lost their luster.” The things of this world do not compare to what is ahead of us. We are after what is timeless vs. what is temporary. 🙂

  8. Jessica Brodie

    For me, the closer I draw to God in real intimacy and friendship, the more I get excited about what is to come in the afterlife!

  9. Nancy E Head

    Someday, the world as it is will be mere memory. We will be in the real place. So wonderful to ponder, Ava!

  10. Candice Brown

    I recently had a perspective check…. it finally helped break an overwhelming depression. Though my health may still have COVID related challenges, I have many Blessings “moth and rust cannot destroy.” Thanks for the reminder that our eyes, perspective should always be in eternity!

  11. June Foster

    I, too, have shifted my way of thinking in recent years to what’s next. My desire to be in His presence increases everyday. Thanks for the encouragement for those of us who over 50 – and for any age.

  12. Yvonne Morgan

    Amen Ava. As I age and reflect on those no longer here, I too look towards heaven, my eternal home. I can’t wait for the family reunion someday. Till then, I will share the Gospel so other will gather with us.

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