In the intro of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, I confessed my ongoing struggle to set my mind on things above (Col. 3:2). When Mount Laundry is erupting cotton everywhere while the kids are fighting over the obstacle course they built in the living room and you’ve got company coming over and then you see an email that just makes your heart drop… it’s hard to keep an eternal perspective.
That’s why I’ve adopted this short prayer by Jonathan Edwards as my own heart's cry:
“Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.”
In his sermon, “Heaven, a World of Love,” Edwards gives five practical applications for how to “set your heart on heaven, that world of love, and press toward that better country.” In the spirit of “gospel meditations for busy moms,” here are the five applications summarized:
- Don’t let your heart chase worldly things as your chief good. Worldly things are not your chief good in heaven or here.
- Think often of heaven and what it is like. Communing with God is our business in heaven, likewise let it be here.
- Be content in the sufferings you undergo on your way to heaven. The joy of heaven is certain and worth it.
- Think of Christ and all that he is. Both now and forever, Christ is our motivation, example, mediator, interceder, strength, and victory.
- Live a life of love toward God and men. Even now, let us live as citizens of heaven, which is a world of love.
For those who have a few more minutes to read, I’ve abridged his points a little bit for length below. And if you’ve got about a half hour, you can read the full text of his sermon HERE.
“First, let not your heart go after the things of this world, as your chief good. Indulge not yourself in the possession of earthly things as though they were to satisfy your soul. This is the reverse of seeking heaven; it is to go in a way contrary to that which leads to the world of love. If you would seek heaven, your affections must be taken off from the pleasures of the world. You must not allow yourself in sensuality, or worldliness, or the pursuit of the enjoyments or honors of the world, or occupy your thoughts or time in heaping up the dust of the earth. You must mortify the desires of vain-glory, and become poor in spirit and lowly in heart.
Second, you must, in your meditations and holy exercises, be much engaged in conversing with heavenly persons, and objects, and enjoyments. You cannot constantly be seeking heaven, without having your thoughts much there. Turn, then, the stream of your thoughts and affections towards that world of love, and towards the God of love that dwells there, and toward the saints and angels that are at Christ’s right hand. Let your thoughts, also, be much on the objects and enjoyments of the world of love. Commune much with God and Christ in prayer, and think often of all that is in heaven, of the friends who are there, and the praises and worship there, and of all that will make up the blessedness of that world of love. “Let your conversation be in heaven.”
Third, be content to pass through all difficulties in the way to heaven. Though the path is before you, and you may walk in it if you desire, yet it is a way that is ascending, and filled with many difficulties and obstacles. That glorious city of light and love is, as it were, on the top of a high hill or mountain, and there is no way to it but by upward and arduous steps. But though the ascent be difficult, and the way full of trials, still it is worth your while to meet them all for the sake of coming and dwelling in such a glorious city at last. Be willing, then, to undergo the labor, and meet the toil, and overcome the difficulty. What is it all in comparison with the sweet rest that is at your journey’s end? …
Fourth, in all your way let your eye be fixed on Jesus, who has gone to heaven as your forerunner. Look to him. Behold his glory in heaven, that a sight of it may stir you up the more earnestly to desire to be there. Look to him in his example. Consider how, by patient continuance in well-doing, and by patient endurance of great suffering, he went before you to heaven. Look to him as your mediator, and trust in the atonement which he has made, entering into the holiest of all in the upper temple. Look to him as your intercessor, who forever pleads for you before the throne of God. Look to him as your strength, that by his Spirit he may enable you to press on, and overcome every difficulty of the way. Trust in his promises of heaven to those that love and follow him, which he has confirmed by entering into heaven as the head, and representative, and Savior of his people. And,
Fifth, if you would be in the way to the world of love, see that you live a life of love — of love to God, and love to men. All of us hope to have part in the world of love hereafter, and therefore we should cherish the spirit of love, and live a life of holy love here on earth. … Happy, thrice happy those, who shall thus be found faithful to the end, and then shall be welcomed to the joy of their Lord! There ‘they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and lead them to living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’”