NO PLACE TO BUILD A FUTURE - The Warrior's Journey®


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It is known as the narrowest city on earth. It’s Yanjin, located in China’s Yunnan province and squeezed in between the sheer cliffs of a narrow canyon. Yanjin only averages about 100 meters wide. And this confining space must be shared with the muddy and turbulent Nanxi River. Oh, yes, it’s turbulent alright. For whenever it rains, there’s no place for the water to go except through this narrow canyon.

And because this city is so inaccessible, it’s opportunities for economic growth are severely limited. It only has one main road – that which runs the length of the city. And only this one road leads to or from it. So, Yanjin is not a prosperous place to live.

Yanjin is not a safe place to live, either. It’s so narrow that the only place to build is up. Therefore, most of its buildings are perched precariously on stilts along this dangerous river’s banks.

This city also tends to be a gloomy place. This is because it’s located at the base of two towering canyon walls. For most of the day, this city sits in the shadow of these walls which block the sun. Yet despite its dangers, poverty, restrictiveness, and gloominess, over 450,000 residents call Yanjin home. Why did so many people choose their futures here? That’s a mystery. Perhaps it’s because the only place to look is upstream or downstream, and there just doesn’t seem to be a way out in either direction.

Obviously, this location was never intended as a place to build a city or to settle down in. It was only meant for passing through.

The same is true for this world. With all its restrictiveness, poverty, dangers, and gloominess, God never intended this world as a place for us to build our hopes and dreams. This world is a temporary place, meant only to prepare us for the next. The Christian believer’s future lies in the world above, in the life to come, where Jesus Christ reigns in perfect righteousness and glory.

As someone has accurately described it, “this world is heaven’s dressing room.”  In this world we are to adorn ourselves with good works as preparation for eternity with God in heaven (1 Timothy 2:9-10; Revelation 19:6-8). For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and we do not want to show up naked or empty-handed (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

In this world we have the opportunity to do things we can never accomplish in heaven, such as winning the lost for Christ. Down in this gloomy place we are also able convert its temporary wealth into eternal riches by investing them into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:19-21). In this tribulation-filled realm, we have the short opportunity to grow and develop through its adversity and pain (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4). And in its brief but dangerous spiritual conflict, we can become eternally forged into the glorious image of Jesus (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 6:10-18).

So don’t build your hopes and dreams in this dark, dangerous, impoverished, and confining life. “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on the things of this earth. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).


PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, please free my soul from all the temporary allurements, pleasures, and pursuits of this world and inspire me to build my hopes and future upon Jesus Christ in heaven. For this world is passing away, and all its pleasures with it. But whoever does the will of God will live in heaven forever (1 John 2:15-17). Amen.


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