The man or woman fervently seeking after God’s heart experiences a life not just of joy and peace but also a life laden with burdens for others. God’s saints experience a tug of war happening in their spirit, being stuck between the longing to leave behind our sin-cursed world to bask in the eternal glory of our Lord, and to stay to work and, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) The Apostle Paul expresses this beautifully in the first chapter of his letter to the Church at Philippi.
“For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” – Philippians 1:23-24
Secular humanists are seeking their own immortality either in the literal sense by attempting to fuse man with technology in the case of the transhumanist agenda, or figuratively by leaving a legacy of worldly accomplishments and success. However as the Christian grows and matures in the Lord something very amazing happens and that is that the fear of death dissipates and one becomes more in touch with the emptiness of an earthly life centered mindset.
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis
This is the tension of God’s saints. Part of us is just eagerly anticipating our Lord’s return to earth to set things straight and take us to our eternal home in heaven, and the other part heavily burdened for the lost and weary souls we face every day that have yet to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The more we grow to understand the eternal joy awaiting us in the presence of our Creator, the less and less we value the goals and ambitions the life on earth has to offer. Yet we are clearly instructed to “fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith,” (2 Timothy 4:7) and also not to “worry about tomorrow” but focus on the “troubles” we face one day at a time. (Matthew 6:34) I believe this means we must be in touch with the longing we feel to be with our Lord in heaven, and use that to propel us into action to win souls and shine Christ’s light in this dark, dark world.
Charles Spurgeon said that “Winners of souls must first be weepers for souls,” and we should be compelled with heartache and compassion for the lost and hurting of this world. If not this should be warning sign we have strayed from our first love and are more focused on our own selfish needs, goals and desires instead of seeking God’s will to be done and be an instrument to help bring His loving plan of salvation and hope to others.
We are all surrounded with much to be burdened by with the countless people who are rejecting God’s authority. (2 Timothy 3:1-7) Let us be brought to our knees to pray for all those “despisers of good” who are “lovers of pleasure versus lovers of God,” and humbly ask the Lord to bring them to the knowledge of the truth. The evil around us should inspire us to deeply long for the promised eternal rest of God’s people (Hebrews 4:9), and that tension and the burdens for others should move us into action.
Yes God’s saints experience a life heavy laden with burdens for others, often face tribulation and trials and experience a longing for their true home in heaven, however they also can experience a joy and “peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) I believe that comes from serving and loving God and others. We must always remember that our Lord Jesus Christ said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
How can you better use the longing you have to be in the presence of God in heaven to bear other’s burdens, win souls and shine Christ’s love to our dying world?