Editor’s Note: In the last article, we discussed overcoming the influence of the world by fixing our hearts and mind on Jesus, rather than just on the things of the world. In this article, we will continue that theme by discussing what it means to keep our hearts and minds on our heavenly goal, not just our earthly ones.
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour (1 John 2:18).
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
Do the words of 1 John 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour,” make you feel a little uneasy? These words remind us that from the time of Jesus’ birth to today and beyond, we are all heading toward the end of time, when Jesus will come again in glory. Does that thought fill you with fear and trembling?
The truth is, our reactions are probably a little bit of both. But whenever we are fearful, it’s probably because we’ve lost sight of the truth that the light has come into the world, and the darkness cannot overcome it. At this point in the year, we don’t know what the remainder of 2010 will bring. We may very well face economic difficulties, trouble with our jobs, trouble in our marriage or with our children, illness, or death. But whatever the future holds, darkness will never overcome the light of Christ!
As we look forward this year, and in the future, let’s fix our eyes on this truth. It’s like riding a bicycle. If we look at our front wheel, we’ll probably veer off the road and fall. This is true of our lives as well, if we just fix our gaze on our problems. But if we lift our head and fix our eyes on our heavenly destination, we’ll get there much more smoothly.
Aim high as you approach the remainder of 2010. Ask the Lord for the grace to keep your heart and mind on your heavenly goal: “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). Christ is with you, and his promise of eternal life can bring you hope (John 3:16). You can walk confidently through any type of turmoil because you belong to him. His Spirit dwells in you, so keep your head high. Jesus has overcome the darkness and has raised you above even your own anxieties and fears.
Aim high during this grace-filled Lenten season. Consider spending the next few days thinking about how you can draw closer to the Lord during Lent? Try to discern how you may need to change to become more like Jesus in how you think and act. Ask yourself this question: how can I make myself more open to seeing as God sees, loving as he loves, and acting as he desires me to? .
Perhaps God is inviting you to spend more time in his presence in prayer or more time with Scripture, paying particular attention to Jesus’ attitudes toward people and the actions that flow from those attitudes. Maybe God would like you to talk less with those closest to you and love them in more practical ways. The possibilities for growing in God’s love are as limitless as his affection for you—and for all the people around you.
So Get going! Walk on in faith, looking toward Jesus enthroned in heaven. He is “seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). He is patiently unfolding his perfect plan. Who knows what blessings God will pour out on you, what opportunities you will have to proclaim his glory, what ways even your challenges might bring others into his kingdom! There is a lot that we don’t know. But we do know that Jesus the Lord reigns and one day we will reign with him!
“Lord Jesus, I want to keep my heart and mind fixed on you and your kingdom where you reign in glory. You are my heavenly goal, and with you is where I want to be! I will look ahead with hope. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us. Maurice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. What is your response to the question posed at the beginning of the article: “Do the words of 1 John 2:18, ‘Children, it is the last hour,’ make you feel a little uneasy?
2. The article asks us to aim high as we approach the remainder of 2010 and to “Ask the Lord for the grace to keep your heart and mind on your heavenly goal.” How would you describe your heavenly goal? What new steps can you take to help keep your heart and mind on your heavenly goal?
3. The article also asks us to aim high during this grace-filled Lenten season. What Lenten practices can you implement to help to draw you closer to the Lord?
4. The article ends with these words: “There is a lot that we don’t know. But we do know that Jesus the Lord reigns and one day we will reign with him!” How can you make this truth a greater reality for your life, as you face challenging situations? If you are in a men’s group, pray for one another at the end of your meeting that each of you would take these words to heart. Use the prayer at the end of the article as a starting point.