Beyond Lockdown: What Are You Looking Forward To?

As the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 crisis are gradually lifted there is great excitement and anticipation.

Beyond Lockdown: What Are You Looking Forward To?

In the UK the dominant theme, in the media, has been the freedom to go into a public house and drink a pint of beer! In recent days we have been given permission to hug relatives and friends whom we meet in our own houses. Of course this could be bad news for the “non-hugger”!

“What are you looking forward to?” is a great question to reflect upon. Dispensing with face-coverings, meeting friends in a restaurant, having family inside your home, a relaxing staycation and a holiday in the sun are some of the events being excitedly anticipated by people who have lived under unprecedented restrictions.

During a recent Bible study, I was challenged to consider if my mind was focused more on the legitimate pleasures that are in this world rather than on what scripture says should be the primary focus. The places I could visit, now I had freedom to leave the council boundaries, had occupied my mind, but God graciously spoke to me, through His Word, reminding me about my future destination.

Seeking the best location

There is a place that surpasses any destination on this earth. Entry to this city has been secured not by payment of money but by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a city with incomparable glory and unsurpassed joy, and every believer is guaranteed entry. This destination should be the believer’s primary focus but the anticipation and excitement of it is a matter of faith, believing what God has promised. If I concentrate my mind on this material and temporal world I am settling for something far inferior to what God has promised me.

The attitude of Abraham is one we should copy. He received great promises from God but treated this earth as a foreign country and knew there was something better than the land of Canaan.

“he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country” (Hebrews 11:9a).

“For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10 ESV).

As the writer to the Hebrews continues, he instructs the readers who longed for Jerusalem that it was not a lasting city but that there was a New Jerusalem that they should seek.

“For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” (Hebrews 13:14).

This admonition applies to all believers. Our hopes and excitement must not be predominantly focused on an earthly location, no matter how wonderful the advertisements make it seem. The word “seek” does not mean “to be aware of” but “to intensively crave” or “to desire”.

Seeing the best location

Revelation 21 gives us a view of this city, the New Jerusalem.

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:2a).

Unlike some holiday brochures, there are no misleading claims in the description. Meditation upon this place and all that it promises will bring hope and heightened anticipation to every believer. We can have a view of this glorious location and seeing it by faith will enhance our seeking.

Let us look at three features of the New Jerusalem.

There will be full and unhindered fellowship with God. Sin will not taint our enjoyment of this. The flesh, that unredeemable humanness that we still have, will be gone and therefore unable to spoil our eternal delight in God.

“He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3b).

Never again will there be tears of sadness or sorrow. In this world we cannot escape periods of sadness and grief. They are common to all in a fallen world. Pain, physical and mental, is a part of our lives and is experienced by all, to a lesser or greater degree, but in the New Jerusalem all this is absent.

“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

This world contains much that defiles and stains. Ungodliness is seen in all its various manifestations, from outright corruption and injustice to the refusal to give the Lord His rightful place. Ungodliness grieves believers when they are aware of it in their own lives and when they see it in the world. However, we can rejoice that all of this will be absent in the New Jerusalem.

“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27).

Entrance to this glorious eternal location is guaranteed to all whose names are recorded in the “Lamb’s book of life”. The revelation given by God describes a beautiful and glorious future for all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. May you seek and see the best.