This coming Sunday will be my last sermon in a long series through the book of Revelation. As I've been considering some of the bigger lessons God has taught me through the series, I keep coming back to the importance of having an eternal perspective on this life's ups and downs. It's said that chess masters are often successful because they are playing beyond the current move. Instead of just wondering what the best next move is, they're thinking about the next two or three (or seven or eight) moves and how their current move can be used in the long game of success.
The metaphor is kind of a stretch, but Christians are called to the same sort of thing. Rather than just dealing with each day as it comes in isolation, we are invited to play the longest game: looking often to the end of our life and beyond. To see and believe _that _this age will end and believing God's promises for what comes next...this is how we are guided in our every day chess match.
When I forget to regularly lift my eyes to heaven, when I fail to meditate on the things that matter for eternity, my day to day to life gets foggy. Decisions become harder to make, priorities become harder to sort out, hope and joy often become more elusive. God knows this about me and the church - so when He inspired the book of Revelation, He wonderfully balanced out the realities of this life (temptation and persecution especially) with a call to always remember the end. While the road may not be the most fun, the end is what makes it all worth it, what helps it all make sense.
When God graciously draws my attention back to heaven and eternal realities, this day becomes better. Problems don't go away, but they _must _mean something now. Temptation doesn't disappear, but I gain strength to fight. When I think more about heaven and eternity, the fog of life gets burned away and I find a renewed sense of purpose, clearer direction, more energy for the things that really matter.
My encouragement to you is pretty simple: work hard, by God's grace, to keep one eye on heaven as you wade through this fallen world. Pray through God's promises about eternity. Read them, memorize them. So much of a joyful and God-honoring life depends on this.