We are on this earth. That is a fact. We will be here until the Lord calls us home. We long for our heavenly home, but for right now we are “at home in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:6). We must be content with this. The Holy Spirit through the witness of Paul gives excellent insight into this. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24). Paul is in a dilemma here, “in a strait betwixt two”. He longs for his eternal home, but he realizes that the Lord has put him in a place that is “needful” for the saints. If he had the choice between the two, he wouldn’t be able to choose one over the other. Reading through Paul’s epistles you will notice that his eyes are fixed on heaven, but he realizes the need to remain and has much of value to say addressing the practical life of the church.
Notice the preceding context of the passage describing Paul’s dilemma: “…Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death” (v. 20). This is also brought out in 2 Corinthians 5:8,9: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” Christ must be glorified in all that we do here on this ball of dirt. We may and must long for our eternal home, but we must remember that we have a calling here in the flesh, whatever it may be. In this calling we must be content.
Contentment while we are “at home in the body” does not mean immersing ourselves in the pleasures this world has to offer. Christ instructs us in Luke 21:34: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [overindulgence of food], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” We must not deceive ourselves into thinking that we can balance a carnal life and a holy life. There is no such thing as a “carnal Christian,” as many today wish to think. “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Cor. 10:21). In Philippians 3:18–19 Paul describes those with whom we must neither be walking, nor emulating: “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” When you read this passage, think of the sinful entertainment the world so eagerly offers us. It is a stinking cesspool of wickedness boiling and frothing with the lust of the flesh, the pride of man, desecration of the Sabbath day and the defamation of God’s holy name. When we watch men and women act in contempt of every single command of God, we are glorying with them in their shame and are no better than they.
We must not content ourselves with “minding” the pleasures of this world. We must content ourselves in our hope for heaven and therefore bring glory to God’s name as we strive to put off the old man and put on the new man and be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:22-24). God has placed us in our bodies here on this earth to serve him in whatever situation we are in and we are to be content with this.