"Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." 2 Corinthians 5:6-9
As I continue in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 we come to this famous passage. I want to say just a few things about it.
First, because we know that when we die we will be with the Lord, our engagement period will be done, we do not fear death. We know that death is gain. In fact, Paul says we would prefer to be dead and in heaven with the Lord.
Death should not scare Christians. Yes, I'm afraid of the process of dying, but not of death. I hate the idea of leaving my loved ones behind, but that will all pale in comparison, yes it will not even be a memory when I see Jesus face to face. Death does not scare me because I have a great thing to look forward to at death. Death for me and all believers will be sweet.
That being said, Paul shocks us a bit in verse 9 of this chapter.
"So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it."
I expected Paul to say, "So I can't wait to die. In fact, I'm sitting here counting down the days until I go home with the Lord." But he didn't write that. Instead he wrote that because death is going to be sweet we try to please the Lord now.
Imagine if I told a baseball crazy 9-year-old boy that I was going to take him to a Major League Baseball game sometime on Saturday, but I didn't tell him when. This boy would be ecstatic. He would be so excited to go watch the pros play baseball in the big stadium.
You know what this boy would do from the moment he woke up on Saturday? I'll tell you from some experience. This boy would get dressed in his favorite team's shirt. He would put on his cap and glove and be ready to go to the game. But I can tell you what he won't do. He won't sit in his room waiting, unless it's to look at every baseball card he has. No, this boy will be outside in the yard. He'll be tossing a ball up to himself and making diving catches. He'll be hitting the ball, then pretending he was a pitcher he'll throw the ball as hard as he can while imagining he's striking out the other team's best player.
When you tell a baseball crazy young boy that he's going to the game, he'll want to go outside and play baseball until you tell him to get in the car and drive to the game with you. He'll be imagining the moment of the big game until he's at the big game. He'll be practicing for the big game out of his inability to sit still because of his excitement.
This is what Paul is talking about. Paul can't wait to be at home with the Lord, so he wants to practice for heaven. Are you so antsy to go to heaven when you die that you want to live heaven here now? That is what we're called to. In heaven we will please God perfectly, so today we make it our goal to please God.
When Christians die they go to be with the Lord, they see Jesus face to face. While we Christians live we are practicing for eternity. We are little boys who can't wait to go the the big game so we play in the front yard. Does your desire to be with Jesus inspire you to serve Him today? If not, I think you may want to go to heaven to be comfortable, not to be with Jesus because being with Jesus in His fulness will be serving Him.
Desire to be with Jesus. Practice for heaven today.