Eternity is a subject to which we as Christians give far too little thought. As sojourners, we often take a look around us and find that this foriegn country offers plenty of distractions and amusements that can preoccupy our time until we are taken home.
We think too little about heaven. Randy Alcorn makes a superb observation in his book, "The Law of Rewards":
"Satan deceives us into thinking of the afterlife as a ghostlike existence, while Scripture portrays it in very tangible and earthly ways. He deceives us in order to turn our minds away from the wonders of heaven, our true home, and set them on things that will not matter in eternity.
So we come back to "reality"- our present lives and possessions that we can see, hear, touch, feel, and taste. Things are real. Now is real. We return to the pressing business of the day, that which is immediately relevant, those all-important matters of the present. These might include what's happening in Hollywood, on Wall Street, in Washington or London...
We live as if these shadowlands were the real world, the ultimate reality. But Scripture tells us they are not."
How easy we forget that this life is passing quickly. We have forgotten those who have gone before us, as this world will soon forget us. We are a breath, a vapor, a fleeting thought. Yet the wonder of the Cross of Christ is that we have been rescued from the vanity of the moment and ushered into the kingdom of heaven.
Though our life here is short, it is anything but meaningless. How we live our lives here will have vast and eternal consequences. Right now we have the ability to store up treasures in heaven. We have the opportunity to believe Christ and live a life that He will someday reward.
We need to escape the deception that Randy Alcorn refers to. The deception that our eternal future is some 'unreality' in which we merely float about in spirit form, in clouds disembodied. Scripture never paints eternity like this. Instead, we are told of cities, homes, rooms, banquets, labors, and physical bodies.
"God will surely not give us less creativity in heaven but more, unmarred by sin, unlimited by mortality We will compose, write, paint, carve, build, plant, and grow. There will be no temple, no church buildings. Christ will be the focus of all. Worship will be unaffected, without pretense or distraction. We'll be lost in our worship, overcome by God's magnificence and the privilege of being his children" Randy Alcorn
Christ ascended into heaven in bodily form. Before His crucifixion, He tells his disciples, "I will not drink the fruit of the vine until I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:29. We are given no reason to believe that Christ is speaking figuratively here. Why should we doubt that the kingdom of God will be very physical, very real. There will be vines, and we will harvest the fruit and drink of the wine.
Seeking to cultivate a scriptural understanding of what heaven is will help us to set our gaze there, and to hope with abandonment upon it. That day is coming, and this world will be done and the new will begin. The temporal will be behind us, and the eternal before us.