If you’ve ever watched any show or movie that’s centred around a family, there will inevitably be a road trip somewhere in the story. As the journey progresses and mishaps ensue, one of the children will undoubtedly say, “Are we there yet?” Maybe if you’ve ever travelled somewhere with small children, you’ve experienced this firsthand, where they get so excited for the destination that they forget to enjoy the journey there. As adults, we love to put the word “yet” on the end of questions or statements because they indicate where we’d like to be.
I’m not married yet
I’m not financially stable yet
I haven’t graduated yet
I haven’t gotten to travel there yet
As Christians, we often talk about how enjoying life on earth is good, but we’re not in heaven yet. Heaven is where we’ll finally experience the fullness of the promises of God and see the wonders of who He is firsthand. This is the kingdom that Jesus came to earth to bring about, and it’s both here already and not yet. In Matthew 4:17, Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and yet the world remains very much the same now as it was then. Brokenness still runs rampant through our world, and it feels like the kingdom of God is further away now than ever before. We find ourselves asking how Jesus could have heralded in the new realm when it feels like we’re still under the old management of sin and death. The truth is that Christ has inaugurated the kingdom of heaven, and we are now waiting for the full consummation of the kingdom to occur when Christ returns.
“We live in a theological tension. By faith in Christ, all of these spiritual blessings are ours already, but the full enjoyment of these blessings is not yet ours. This is the life of faith: “the assurance of things hoped for” in the future, and “the conviction of things not seen” in the present (Hebrews 11:1). This is life between the times.” David BrionesDavid Briones
We are living in the “now, but not yet,” this great wilderness where God’s glory has already come to earth, but we aren’t able to live in the full richness of it. It’s in this wilderness that we can choose to spend our days yearning for an eternity spent in the presence of the Lord, or we can live as though that reality could happen at any moment.
The first option keeps our eyes focused on God while our hearts and minds drip with the despair that comes with unrequited love. We begin to hold so tightly onto heaven that we lose sight of how God is moving in our midst. A great glory and wonderful rest is waiting for us at the end of our Christian walk, but we can quickly turn that into an idol. We start ignoring the Lord because we’ll have lots of time to worship Him in heaven. We forget about all that God has called us to do because our eyes are no longer fixed on the road ahead of us but the clouds above. It’s good that we look forward to heaven and the wonders and glories that await us there. But let us not forget that there is still work left to be done that the Lord has called us to do. So look up at the clouds once in a while, but don’t forget to run the race God set before you.
When we live as though the Lord could come back at any moment, we live with a holy urgency. We seek out conversations with friends, family, and strangers because a gospel fire is burning in our hearts. Our hearts and minds are tuned to the voice of the Father, always leaning on Him for guidance and direction. We know that Christ could come back at any time, and we don’t want a single person to be left out of that holy homecoming. This fervency causes us to grow as mature Christians because we have a deep hunger to be more like Christ and grow our relationship with Him.
Just as it can officially be the first day of spring and still be -20C outside, with us checking the weather eagerly awaiting the arrival of actual spring weather, we too eagerly await the final arrival that will lead us into God’s full kingdom. As we wait, let us be quick to spread the gospel with those that we meet. Let’s wholeheartedly run the race that has been set before us, daily living out the commands of Christ. And let us remember that living in the “now, but not yet” provides us with the opportunity to know God better and draw close to His heart.