E37: Are you filling yourself with eternal things?

PODCAST: What we fill ourselves with now is what will be with us for all eternity. We should be filling ourselves with the things of God!

  • E37: Are you filling yourself with eternal things?
  • Set your mind on things above

    “Set your mind on things above.” “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” “In the world, but not of the world.” These encouragements from the Scriptures inspire us to lift our eyes above the things of the earth and focus on what will have value for us for all of eternity! In this episode, Milenko and Kathy get excited about living with our hearts and minds set on the eternal!

    Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 37: Are you filling yourself with eternal things?

    This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.

    Kathy: Hi everyone, welcome to this episode of “Living the Gospel.” I’m Kathy.

    Milenko: And I’m Milenko.

    Kathy: And today we are going to talk about an article written by Johan Oscar Smith, which is an article that Milenko and I have talked about before and so we thought, “Hey, let’s talk about it on the podcast!”

    Milenko: It’s a really good one!

    Kathy: It’s a really good one. And it’s called “Inner Battle.” Do you want to read it, Milenko?

    Milenko: Yeah. Actually, it’s a really short article – it’s only one paragraph long – which was written back in 1912. And I think it’s … Some of the lines in this article, they just really strike home with me. When I read it, each time I read it actually, it sort of jumps out at me. But I’ll go ahead and read it …

    Kathy: It’s crazy that 1912 was over a hundred years ago.

    Milenko: It’s more than a hundred years ago. But it’s just really applicable.

    Kathy: Yeah!

    Milenko: So, it’s called “Inner Battle.”

    “An inner life and inner enemies to conquer, battle and destroy. The enemies of our inner life are those forces that want to scatter our thoughts by focusing our attention on external things. These enemies are the various desires that seek to distract our concentration by causing our thoughts to cling to outward things, things that will pass away. This is perdition: the things to which the heart was attached pass away while the person himself, who is an eternal being, is filled with nothing but emptiness when he should have been filled with God Himself. That is why it is so very important that we allow God to draw our minds away from everything that is external – the things that will pass away – and turn our focus inward to the source of life that lives forever, even as we ourselves will live forever. Then joy and unspeakable peace can fill us, beginning in this time of corruptibility and continuing into the unknown eternities. May the Lord enable us for this.”

    Kathy: That’s one short paragraph, but that packs a lot in it, doesn’t it?

    Milenko: He really has a way with words!

    Kathy: He does. It’s just the way he writes, I feel like it just goes right in.

    Milenko: The line that really jumps out at me is this one: “This is perdition: the things to which the heart was attached pass away while the person himself, who is an eternal being, is filled with nothing but emptiness when he should have been filled with God Himself.” That is so serious! Like, if you think about it, that we are eternal beings, and that’s really something to think about.

    Kathy: That’s how God created us.

    Milenko: That’s how God created us. We have a spirit that will continue into eternity. And what he writes here, when you think about perdition, you think maybe a traditional picture of hellfire and so on. But this is perdition, that your heart is not filled; your spirit is not filled with God.

    Kathy: And you go into eternity empty.

    Milenko: Empty. And that’s what our spirit is, with a longing for God, and you go into eternity with this longing that can never be filled.

    Kathy: And it’s never filled … whew!

    Milenko: But this is what our …

    Kathy: That actually just gave me goosebumps.

    Milenko: Yeah, I think it’s the ultimate horror. That that’s what eternity is. Whereas … But I was thinking about this, because actually, he’s writing this very seriously, like a real warning, but at the same time I think what he wants from it, which he actually ends the paragraph with, is the exact opposite.

    Kathy: Right. Because it doesn’t actually come across as a doomsday sort of thing.

    Milenko: Absolutely not.

    Kathy: Actually, you get hope from this. Because his whole intention, I think, is to encourage us to the opposite of what he’s saying.

    Milenko: Exactly. The way he ends it up with, that if we turn to God and fill ourselves with God, then joy and unspeakable peace can fill us, beginning in this time of corruptibility, while we’re alive, and continuing into the unknown eternities!

    Kathy: Right. So, our spirit actually, we can fill our spirit with the eternal here and now. And that we take into eternity with us.

    Milenko: Exactly. And this is where we really need to be converted. We need to be saved. We need to come away from that natural, human way of thinking, which is so dominated by our feelings and the lusts in our flesh and …

    Kathy: And just being, like it’s written, attached to things of the earth.

    Milenko: Right. And we should turn, as it says in Colossians chapter 3, it says that we have to turn our thoughts towards things in heaven.

    Kathy: Set your mind on things above.

    Milenko: Set your mind on things above.

    Kathy: And not on things of the earth.

    Milenko: We can actually read that verse, because I think that sums it up really well. Where is it, Colossians …

    Kathy: I would definitely say that these verses are the complete opposite of perdition.

    Milenko: Right, exactly. And it says, well we can read it. Colossians 3 from the beginning: “If then you were raised with Christ.” So, this is putting you in the position of the Christian life, you were raised with Christ, that’s what we believe. “If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” And then comes: “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” So, the opposite of perdition.

    Kathy: Yup. And I’ve thought about that many times too, that it’s written, “Christ who is our life.” So, it’s not just that I’m a Christian, but here I am, and you know … But Christ is my life! So, if He is my life, isn’t that where my mind is? Isn’t that what my whole life sort of revolves around? That I want to be with Him for eternity. I want to be like Him for eternity. So that’s where my focus is, right? And that’s where I’m spending my time, my energy, is to get to know Him and learn from Him so that I can be like Him, right?

    Milenko: But, saying that then, does that mean … How do we live our lives as a Christian …?

    Kathy: Right. Because we are actually on the earth, right? And Jesus said Himself, “I don’t now pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” So, we are here in this world. So, there are certain things that we have to think about and we have to care about, right?

    Milenko: Yes, and that’s actually, they’re good things to think about too, and necessary.

    Kathy: Like, we can’t say it’s wrong to think about our job and do our job well; it’s not wrong to think about our family and friends and care about that. Like, is it wrong to make plans for our life, and …?

    Milenko: And is it wrong to have hobbies and enjoy things here?

    Kathy: And hopes about things in this world? Is that wrong?

    Milenko: The thing is that from what Jesus says, it isn’t wrong. He’s not taking us out of the world, but that we’re kept from the evil one. And that’s that thing, in the middle of all of this, that we have to have our mind set on the things above. That everything we do is because we love Jesus. So, when we’re doing our job, we’re doing our job well. We’re doing it with everything that’s in us, that we’re going to do a good job. We’re going to be righteous; we’re going to … you know? Because that’s what pleases Jesus.

    Kathy: Right. And there’s that verse too. Everything you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, right?

    Milenko: For example, yes.

    Kathy: So, I’m going to do my job that way as well.

    Milenko: And think of my family. They’re the people that God has entrusted me … He’s put me together with my parents, with my siblings, with my children.

    Kathy: And just any of your loved ones.

    Milenko: Exactly. And there I can do what He wants me to do, in whatever situation I am in my family life or whatever. And there can be a huge variety of situations that we face, as people. But in all of that, that I have my mind set on the things above.

    Kathy: And actually, if you think about it, if I have my mind set on things above, and my goal is to be like Jesus, and I’m learning from Him, I’m learning to be like Him, actually I’m benefitting my loved ones, in that way. Because then I learn to react to them with goodness and patience and kindness and the fruit of the Spirit. Right? So, actually it goes together perfectly.

    Milenko: Exactly. Yeah. We also meet people that aren’t nice to us, that rub us up the wrong way, and there can be a lot of different things.

    Kathy: And that’s not unusual.

    Milenko: It isn’t unusual, in fact I think it’s very common. I think everyone experiences it.

    Kathy: And our flesh comes up, right? Like, we have that flesh in which …

    Milenko: Right. And there we have to set our minds on the things above. And as Jesus says, that we are kept from the evil one. That we don’t come into bitterness. That we don’t come into envy. That we don’t, you know … Whatever the other one does, I can have my mind set on the things above. Which means I remain good. And I can bless them or I can just be righteous in all these things.

    Kathy: Right, yeah. Because it’s so easy for us to have our minds in earthly places when things happen to us, right? Like, you know, someone does something that we don’t like, and it’s so easy to be earthly about it. Like, try to protect myself. But that’s not having my mind set on things above. If my mind is set on things above then my only goal is to get the fruit of the Spirit and be like Jesus. And that’s what’s important to me in that situation.

    Milenko: Exactly. And that’s exactly the point, going back to that article. That we’re filling ourselves with the things of God. So that when we leave this life and we go into eternity, that actually we are filled, we have a content of goodness, of Jesus’ virtues, of divine nature, as Peter rights about. And that only comes through the situations that I experience in life. So of course, I have to live this life on earth responsibly and I have to look after what’s been entrusted to me. And the things I meet on my way, God has planned that for me.

    Kathy: Yes, He has.

    Milenko: I have to really see that.

    Kathy: And actually, I need this life on this earth in order to be prepared. Like, I need to be filled with the eternal things and it’s now, in this time, where I can do that.

    Milenko: Right. And it’s what Johan Oscar Smith writes there about what my heart is set on. Like, I can have my heart set on earthly happiness, earthly goods, even just that people will treat me right, that can be my, you know … I want to be liked, for example.

    Kathy: Yeah, that’s very close

    Milenko: I mean, this is human nature. But instead of that, that I have my heart set on the heavenly things. What can I get out of this situation? How can I please God? How can I live for Him? And it’s not that I’m doing this because I have to, and God is a hard taskmaster, and I feel that I have to earn my salvation. But I’m doing this out of love to God. And love to Jesus, what He’s done for me.

    Kathy: And because I have a hope – for eternity!

    Milenko: I have a heavenly hope. Eternal hope.

    Kathy: So it changes everything, actually, when you start to go through life like this. When you start to see your every little situation in your life, not with these earthly eyes. Like, what’s happening here and now. But when you see it with eternal eyes. What can this give me for eternity? Actually, it changes everything.

    Milenko: It changes everything. My whole attitude to life, my experience of life. What I get out of it. People around me, everyone notices it. It’s got value for this life, but above everything, it’s got value for eternity. And we’ve spoken about this before, one of my favorite quotes, we’ve actually had a whole podcast on it. That we’re living here to be formed for eternity.

    Kathy: Yeah. It goes back to that again.

    Milenko: It goes back to that. It always does. That’s why God has created us. And as it says in Ecclesiastes, that He’s put eternity into our hearts. And He wants us to spend eternity with Him. He doesn’t want us to go into perdition. That’s not God’s purpose.

    Kathy: No. Absolutely not.

    Milenko: Some representations of God is this angry God, who’s always angry, who’s out to punish us. It’s the opposite. He wants …

    Kathy: He wants the very best for us.

    Milenko: He wants to have our spirits. He wants to have communion with us. So, this warning that we read from this article … That we really have a look at ourselves. What am I busy with? I have only this one life!

    Kathy: Where is my mind?

    Milenko: I don’t have two chances to live this life. But right now, I am alive and right now, I can fill myself with heavenly things. And that right now, that translates into eternal communion and fellowship with God. Think about that!

    Kathy: It’s not just what’s happening here. There are long lines that work to …

    Milenko: In fact, what’s happening here is incredibly important for everything.

    Kathy: It just reminds me too of these verses in Matthew 6, starting from verse 19 where Jesus says: “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.” So, if my treasure is in heaven, then my heart is there, and then I live for that.

    Milenko: And so that’s a really conscious decision I make too, you know, that I have my treasure there. That’s what I want. That’s what Paul writes there in Colossians, that we read. That if you were raised with Christ … Was I? Yes, that’s what I believe! I have given my life to Jesus; I’ve put off my old life where I serve myself. I’ve been raised with Christ to a new life. And that doesn’t mean that I’m automatically there, but then it says, then comes an exhortation: Then seek those things which are above. Right? And it goes on to say, if you died, he says – that’s that old life. And then comes a new exhortation: “Therefore put to death these things which are on the earth.” So, it’s a life of action. And that shows where my treasure is. Because I’m going for that, right?

    Kathy: Right. And, like, if you’re sitting here thinking “I don’t have it like that.” That doesn’t … You can get it like that! All it takes is to get your mind set in heaven. To start seeking heavenly things, right? And it’s a work to get there. It’s not like, boom, one day all of a sudden like … You have to practice this, getting your mind into those heavenly places. And it will become that that is just how it is for you.

    Milenko: Exactly. And when you see your own nature, and you see the things that come up in you, because that’s what you’ll notice in the situations. Things do come up that, you know … You’re tempted to envy, you’re tempted to irritation, you’re tempted to discouragement. All these different things come up. But that’s not my life, right? My life is in heaven. I’ve set my sights on that: that’s where my treasure is. That’s where I’m going. And that’s why you get that exhortation, “therefore put to death …” Because that means that I’m walking on that way to reach that. And then when Christ appears, I will appear with Him, in glory. Not with all my nature and all that negativeness that’s there. I’ve worked with that, and now I will appear with Him in glory.

    Kathy: And then maybe just to close off here again, re-reading that line from Johan Oscar Smith. “Then joy and unspeakable peace can fill us, beginning in this time of corruptibility and continuing into the unknown eternities.”

    Milenko: Wow, that is such an edifying, uplifting thought! And I really think that is a really good way to finish this episode. To have that with us. That’s where we’re going. We’ve got another article by Johan Oscar Smith on our website called “The spiritual center of gravity,” which is a bit along the same lines. Where you’ve got your treasure, where you’ve got your point of interest in this life. I think it really builds up … It’s a longer article than this other one.

    Kathy: Yeah, it definitely follows along the same theme.

    Milenko: Exactly.

    Kathy: And if you want to read more by Johan Oscar Smith, we have a whole e-book of his letters available for download on the website.

    Milenko: So just check out the links on our episode description.

    Kathy: Thanks for listening guys, and we’ll talk to you next time.

    Milenko: Thanks. Bye!

    Kathy: Bye!