We can have and should have Heaven right here and right now

Published 9:13 am Friday, March 30, 2018

One of my favorite songs, old or new, is “What a Day That Will Be.” This is a song that never fails to fill my heart with joy and give me hope for my future regardless of what I’m struggling with. My favorite verse reads, “There will be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, no more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there, and forever I will be with the one who died for me, what a day, glorious day that will be.” As Christians, the thought of no more pain or sorrow and walking with Jesus should be our idea of perfection.
However, I believe our ideas of Heaven have become somewhat problematic. Most of the songs we sing about Heaven portray Heaven as this paradise that is some place far, far away. They sing of Heaven being a place that will be rather than a place that is. Although I realize that I do not have a glorified body and I still feel pain, I believe Heaven is meant to be so much more than just some place up in the sky with Jesus that we will receive in the future.
I believe we can have and should have Heaven right here and right now. We read in John 18 that Jesus declares to Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world and that He came to this world in order to bear witness to the truth of God and His kingdom. So we see that although Jesus was not present in Heaven during His time on earth, we still find that the kingdom had an impact on His life and His actions. As Christians, the kingdom of Heaven should influence our lives just as much.
Philippians 3:20-21 reads, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” We now have residence in the Kingdom of Heaven. We may live in Carter County, Tennessee, and we may still be Americans, but we have to realize that our citizenship, loyalty, and allegiance are in Heaven, not here.
In Matthew 6:9-10, Christ shows us how to pray and says, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” The words “hallowed,” “come,” and “done” in the Greek are all third person imperatives. This means that these phrases are not suggesting that these things be done, but rather, it is a command to the audience that these things be completed. As Christians, it is our duty and obligation in reciting this prayer that we make God’s name hallowed or holy. It is our duty that we inaugurate God’s kingdom now, and it is our duty that we implement God’s will here on earth.
I want to suggest that being a citizen of Heaven means doing these three things. We are to live differently than those of the world, and our lives should imply that we are from a foreign place, namely Heaven. The first thing we must do is to live in such a way that upholds the holiness of God’s name. The Bible tells us to be holy because God is holy. This means that we live our lives righteously because our souls have been made righteous by the blood of Jesus. Our actions on the outside must match the purity and perfection of Christ on the inside. As kingdom ambassadors, we refuse to take pleasure in the world because we find it in Jesus.
The second thing we must do is make God’s kingdom present in our world and society today. There is no doubt that Heaven will be a place of rest and healing, and therefore, we should be striving to bring that same rest and healing to others right now. We may not be able to give them new bodies, but we can give them new souls. We may not be able to take their pain away, but we can give them peace and comfort. We may not be able to fix all their problems, but we can give them love and kindness. Our lives should reflect kingdom values and virtue of love and harmony rather than the worldly values of violence, strength, and exploitation.
Finally, we must prioritize our will over God’s will in our lives. Citizens of Heaven must be more concerned about the will of God than they are the will of their family, boss, political party, or self. Our loyalty and allegiance must be found in the heart of God, and our actions must be focused on implementing this will in our lives and in our society. God’s will is that we love, make peace, and bring glory to His name. Hence, our every action should be trying to make this will present in our world today even in the face of weapons, hate, and selfishness.
This world is not our home. Heaven is our home. As Christians, we should act like it.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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