In his classic devotional book titled The Saint’s Everlasting Rest, English Puritan pastor and author Richard Baxter (1615-1691) wrote:
“Why are not our hearts continually set on heaven? Why dwell we not there in constant contemplation? . . . Bend thy soul to study eternity, busy thyself about the life to come, habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory, but bathe thyself in heaven’s delights.”
That’s sound advice. Instead of spending all of our time thinking about where we are, we as believers in Jesus Christ also need to think about where we’re going to be. We’ll go to a place prepared especially for us (Jn. 14:2). We’ll be with God, where we’ll enjoy “pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
Baxter goes on to point out four benefits of thinking about heaven: It protects us from temptation because it keeps the heart focused on what pleases God. It maintains the vigor of the Christian life. It provides medicine for our afflictions, cheering our spirits and easing our suffering. And it makes us an encouragement to our fellow pilgrims.
With this in mind, we ask as Baxter did, “Why are not our hearts continually set on heaven?”
O glorious mystery of love,
That I, a child of earth,
May dwell by faith with Christ above,
The Lamb of matchless worth! —Christiansen
Those who have their hearts fixed on heaven will hold loosely the things of earth.