Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

07/17/2019

Scott Gage

Focus On Heaven

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

Colossians 3:1-4

 

  I remember my dad teaching me how to make a straight row in the garden. Sometimes my rows tended to meander here and there. Dad said to focus on a point way out at the end of the row and not to concentrate on the ground right in front of you. He would lay out his rows with a hoe handle, measuring with his hands the width he wanted his rows apart. Then he would put a stake in the ground. He would walk to the other end and measure, then take up his plow and focus on the stake at the end of the row. Dad made straight rows and always had a good garden.

 

  There is a spiritual lesson in this story, and it relates to what Paul tells the Colossians in his letter to them. Some translations say,

 “…seek those things which are above…” (NKJV);

 “…now set your heart on what is in heaven…”(CEV);

 “…set your hearts on things above…” (NIV).

 

  One of the keys to living a successful Christian life is our focus. Daily we are filling our hearts with something.What do we use for filling? Is it our hobbies, our job, our entertainment, our vacations, our sports and recreation? All these things have their place and they are good unless they become our focus. When our own entertainment is the thing with which we fill our hearts, we may make a jolly companion for our friends, but our Christian commitment and witness will suffer.

 

  Demas seems to be a man who lost his focus. We meet Demas in Colossians 4:14, “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.” Demas is mentioned along with Luke in this passage as a companion and helper for Paul. He was with Paul in his imprisonment and was, no doubt, useful to Paul. However, in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul indicates a new focus in the life of Demas, “…for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica…” We are not told what attracted Demas to Thessalonica, but Paul’s assessment of the situation indicates it was his love for this present world. Demas was no longer focused on heaven; his heart was set on this world. He exchanged the eternal for the temporary He was no longer useful for Paul or for the work of the church; his heart was wrapped up in this present world.

 

  What caused Demas to lose his focus? We don’t know for certain. He was one who put his hand to the plow and then turned back (Luke 9:62). In Luke’s account someone said, “Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” Jesus replied to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Demas looked back. Instead of keeping his focus on things above he began to concentrate on the things around him. Let us learn from Demas that we must keep our sights on the realities of heaven. We must fill our hearts with God’s word and with his love.

 

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,

where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break

in and steal; but lay up for yourselves in heaven…

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

(Matthew 6:19-21).

 

—Scott Gage

    South Hill Church of Christ

    Fayetteville, AR