Like the Puritans, live in terms of the settled judgment that the joy of heaven will make amends of any losses and crosses, strains and pains that we must endure on earth if we are going to follow Christ faithfully. Regard preparedness to die as the first step in learning to live. View this earth as God’s dressing-room and gymnasium that prepares you for heaven.
The Puritans show us how to live from a two-world point of view. Richard Baxter’s The Saint’s Everlasting Rest is a magnificent demonstration of the power that the hope of heaven should have for the directing, controlling, and energizing of your life here on earth. Despite being 800+ pages, this classic became household reading in Puritan homes, exceeded only by John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which, by the way, is an allegorical proof of my point. Bunyan’s pilgrim is heading for the Celestial City, which he never has out of his mind except when he is betrayed by some form of spiritual malaise.
The Puritans believed that you ought to have heaven “in your eye” throughout your entire earthly pilgrimage. They took seriously the two-worldly, now/not yet dynamics of the New Testament, stressing that keeping the “hope of glory” before our minds helps guide and keep our lives straight here on earth. Living in the light of eternity for the Puritans often necessitated radical self-denial. Timothy, refuse to become a self-seeking, spiritually careless minister, and instead, deny indulging in anything you cannot pray about or pursue in light of the immense value of eternity.