We are going on a vacation!
With great anticipation many people plan their vacations this summer. Once the family starts discussion of their adventure, one of the first questions asked is, "Where are we going?" As plans unfold and destinations are mentioned, the fun begins. Imaginations take off and the vacation is enjoyed even before the first bag has been packed.
An Exciting Destination Builds Hope
Destinations promising fun and beauty produce hope and excitement, don't they? New, thrilling, beautiful places start the dreamer in us. World famous destinations and the wonderful stories of the experiences of friends who have seen them create eager anticipation. We almost smell the fragrances, feel the breezes, taste the cuisine, and imagine the exhilaration. Exciting new vacation destinations create a powerful, fruitful hope in our souls. Once our hearts start hoping for something, we begin to move that direction by faith. Hope produces faith. Additionally, the more we think about it and hope for it, the more the wonder of the anticipated experience increases. We can't wait! But we do wait, eagerly wait, with excitement because of the hope before us. That's how hope produces endurance.
In the book of Colossians Paul wrote about the power of hope. In various verses, he described the fruit of hope: faith, love, joy, and endurance. Thinking about going on a vacation to exciting destinations can be a great way to help your children understand these wonderful, powerful dynamics of the gospel hope.
The Gospel Hope
What is the hope of the gospel? Here's the destination for all believers in Jesus Christ: God has promised and determined to transform them into the exact likeness of Jesus Christ! Check out these passages of Scripture:
Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Colossians 1:22-23 Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.
Furthermore, God has promised life with Him and our brothers and sisters in Christ on a new earth where there is no effect of sin and where righteousness reigns. That's awesome!
That's what awaits you if you hold fast to the gospel hope-you are going to be like Jesus! You are going to love God like Jesus, love others like Jesus, sing like Jesus, rejoice like Jesus, feel like Jesus, work like Jesus, and live with Jesus. How often do you think about these things? Can we think about them too often? Shouldn't we keep this gospel hope, this gospel destination, before our hearts and minds often? Of course we should if we want to be excited about it. Our children need to hear and understand the hope of the gospel if they are to believe, love, rejoice, and endure for Jesus' name sake.
Are you going on vacation this summer?
You can use your own vacation destination as a teaching tool, an example of the gospel. First, think about the idea of a vacation, a get away from the daily rigors of work and home. When you leave this earth to be with Jesus, you are going on the ultimate vacation. You are vacating this earth with its trials, tribulations, and burdens to go to the most wonderful destination imaginable - to Heaven - in the presence of Jesus Christ and His angels and saints made perfect (Heb. 12:22-24). In the process of leaving your physical body (your earthly dwelling) and entering your new spiritual body (your heavenly dwelling) all of your fleshliness, sin, and the burden and attraction of this world will pass away. You will arrive at your heavenly destination transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Does that excite you? I hope so!
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can teach that wonderful gospel truth as you tell your children about your family vacation. As they get excited about where you are going and you see they can feel it, then link that excitement to how you feel and think about the hope of the gospel and arriving at the glorious destination of heaven being transformed into the likeness of Christ.
As some think about where they are going on vacation, and want to get a preview, they might look up some Youtube videos or websites on their destination to build their excitement. Consider doing the same thing in your devotions as you get a "Bibletube" view of your gospel destination. Frequent reminders of heaven help us to remember that this place is not our home. Do you sing when you travel on vacation? Why not sing to the Lord about where we are going as we take this journey to remind us of heaven each day? Have a great trip! See you there.