“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
In times of success, we aren’t to rejoice because of the victories we experience but because our future is secure. In times of suffering, we aren’t to despair because our suffering is short-lived when we consider heaven.
It’s difficult for us to keep this in mind. We are distracted by a thousand thoughts every minute. The immediate demands our attention while heaven seems such a long way off. We want to enjoy ourselves now because future pleasures seem uncertain. To deny ourselves instant gratification feels like a huge risk because we don’t know if we will get another opportunity.
James describes it like this: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). We wonder how we can enjoy life before it vanishes. Yet God’s word assures us that what we see, is not all there is.
Paul tells us, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). We have an inner witness so that we can know, really know, we are God’s children. Paul further explains that God has given us the “promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14). We have the guarantee of his Spirit living in us so that we know we have a future beyond this world. Paul describes the Holy Spirit as a deposit. As yet we only have a part of all that God intends to give us. Jesus wants us to rejoice in anticipation of that day when all the blessings of heaven will be ours.