Philippians 3:18-21 (New Living Translation)
18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.
20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Having lived in California for some time, and now that I live in Texas, I love to read a magazine called Sunset. This magazine is all about California and "Living in the West", and when I read it it reminds me of the times that I enjoyed living and vacationing there. I can get all kinds of tips on places to see, foods to prepare eat, ways to garden, and other things that I really enjoy. I really look forward to getting this little reminder of the West each and every month.
One thing struck me a little differently as I was reading the new issue I received. What struck me is how the magazine tries to promote "paradise on earth" for its readers, and the thought came into my head that "everyone's looking for paradise". California is probably one of the most sought after places to vacation or live, because to many it is a piece of "paradise on earth". In fact on this month's cover it highlights "37 Best Towns to Live Your Dream", featuring many California towns in the article, and as you turn to the article it states, "2011 Best Towns...Places to Make You Happy".
Also in the issue are "The Top 100 ideas, people, places, and things that are making life in the West better right now". This is an assemblage once again of things right here on earth that can create your own little bit of "paradise", as long as your lucky enough and have the financial wherewithal to do and meet and see all the things the article suggests. I would love to be able to do all of this, but I can't really see that happening in this lifetime.
You see, all of us are constantly being bombarded by the world's attractions that really leads us to distraction. There simply is no way that anything here on earth will ever match the ultimate destination of true Paradise, Heaven itself. The things of earth are constantly breaking down and being corrupted. Yes, God did create these places and things for us to enjoy while we are here, but we should never let it take the place of the "real thing" in the heart of a believer.
What Jesus Christ did for us is serious stuff; our acceptance of His work on the cross allows us to know that someday we will be in a new heaven and a new earth that will be as God initially intended for His creation before the fall. Our focus should not be on what is here on the earth, but on what we will ultimately attain through Jesus in eternity. He provides all of the blessings both here and in eternity, but don't get too caught up on what we will eventually leave behind.
So enjoy the life that God has given you, and the opportunity He allows you to partake and enjoy the beauty of His creation, but be certain that each and every day you remember to yield you heart to the Giver and make your main focus to serve Him while we are here. In doing so we can be assured of the fact that "we ain't seen nothin' yet"!
Colossians 3:2 (New King James Version)
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Photo of "Big Sur" from my trip to Carmel, 2008