James poses a question that, if we’re honest, needs to be asked by every one of us: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (4:4). Jesus had something to say about the struggle we have in our hearts: “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 treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). John saw “a new heaven and a new earth . . . [where] he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-5).
Over the last couple days, I have been dwelling on these things, especially since Josh, in his Sunday sermon from James 3, reminded us that “according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). You know, in Christ, we really do have so much to look toward, things “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
and cast a wishful eye
to Canaan's fair and happy land,
where my possessions lie.
O’er all those wide extended plains
shines one eternal day;
there God the Son forever reigns,
and scatters night away.
No chilling winds or poisonous breath
can reach that healthful shore;
sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
are felt and feared no more.
When I shall reach that happy place,
I’ll be forever blest,
for I shall see my Father’s face,
and in his bosom rest. -- Samuel Stennett (1787)