Choosing Your Horizon
Believing in Jesus is not just a journey of following a different Master. Like marriage, it starts with an immediate transition of status and then grows into a loving relationship, confident that the bonding is strong and safe. In the same way, the moment that a sinner repents and receives Christ, new believers have already been raised from death to life (Romans 6:4). They are no longer under the curse of death, fearful of judgement and despairing of righteousness, because, "… God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6-7).
Paul tells the Colossian Christians to live according to their new status in Christ (Ephesians 4:1). Like a married couple, who need to spend time and effort in building their relationship, so believers should eagerly and earnestly decide to love Christ and integrate their whole lives with His purposes. Their horizon can no longer be limited to getting the best out of this life for themselves. Heaven is the horizon, and the presence of Christ is the prize.
That is why every Christian must choose to desire what will please the Lord (Ephesians 5:10). That will shape the heart. Then we need to shape our minds, with God’s Word and by His Spirit, so that we can identify the ungodly goals which litter our lives - deciding how to set them aside – and develop godly ambitions (Ephesians 4:22-24). It is our responsibility to reform our desires, emotions and decision-making (hearts) so that they are focussed on Christ and His glory. We must also reform our thoughts, plans and strategies (minds): they must no longer be controlled by the low and deadly horizon of this world. The combination of a Christ-centred heart and mind is the transformation which the Lord seeks for us, and He is already at work in us (Philippians 2:13).
We need this reminder because we live in a sinful world and are still tempted back to it. If we do not know where the true horizon is, we will crash like a disorientated aeroplane. That is inevitable if we forget that we have already been raised with Christ, because we belong to Him and our future is totally linked to Him. If we allow our hearts to desire money, pleasure, power and fame, our minds will discover ways to satisfy that hunger ... but the Lord Jesus said, "What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" (Mark 8:36). True believers will often struggle to meet this challenge (Romans 7:18-25). Therefore, first be assured that you have been raised with Christ and then determine to set your sights on heaven. That will demand courageous choices of thought patterns and lifestyle. But that is the life to which you have been called, and there is no going back.
© Dr Paul Adams