For walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7. What does this looks like?
'Present or absent to the Lord' in this passage refers to being physically present to Christ in heaven or remaining on earth still. Being absent (remaining on earth) comes with earthly pain. It has the idea of exile. Being present to Christ carries the idea of a rejoicing homecoming.
Two other things must be mentioned before we go further. (2) Paul also says the pain on earth reminds him his home is heaven. (3) While heaven is so exciting and earth can be filled with so much
suffering, the most important thing is pleasing Christ (v.9). That has to be THE GOAL.
With that established, let me go back to the first point and just focus on that. Walking by faith means a certainty of this homecoming, that heaven is real, I belong to heaven and I desire to be there. This is why Paul says "For to me to live is Christ to die is gain". His faith in Christ means earth is simply a temporary exile. The word exile helps us understand earth is not where we want to be. Homecoming is the opposite of exile. Homecoming is where we want to be. Exile is a painful thing, where we far from home, family, friends and all that we love.
Reflection: The question to ask is how attractive earth is to us? Today it can get
so attractive that heaven becomes the "exile". And earth becomes home for good ... Is this true for me?
Lord, may I live to please you whether on earth or in heaven. Yet I pray you help me because I am prone to think and live as if earth is home and heaven is exile. When that happen I am in the danger of not pleasing you, that my devotion to you is no longer there and my living becomes missionless. Help me, I humbly pray to you, that I am purposeful and rejoicing on earth, yet let there be a homesickness in my heart for heaven. In your precious Name I pray. Amen