Friday, May 18, 2012
A mentor once told me … “you don’t know, what you don’t know.” It is a simple idea that has stuck with me. But the process of discovering what you don’t know can be life altering. Our destiny is not simply to acquire knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Instead, the knowledge we are destined to acquire will be of practical use, and of profound impact, not only on us, but on the objects of our love. It is an amazing phenomenon what the study of scripture can reveal. A cursory read of the Bible, may reveal basic concepts and ideas. But a surrendered heart, mind, and will to Christ, leads to a new discovery in the same passages. The depth of understanding is increased by His miraculous ability to deepen our insight, and reveal that which was always there, but never fully understood. The more miraculous phenomenon is that this same process can be seen again and again on the same Biblical passages. Each time the revelation is astounding. Each time the level of understanding seems deeper and with even more profound truth. This may be because the words are not the source of truth; the source is a person, a God, our God, Jesus Christ. The words are a mere inspired mortal’s attempt at a revelation of truth from Christ. And so when we study the word again, under the direct control of the one source of truth who stood behind these words; we discover the person behind the words, the God to whom the scriptures point, Jesus Christ. On this topic, we can never know enough. In getting to know Christ, there is always more to discover, and so more truth found in the same familiar words.
Heaven will not be the end of the Bible, just the end of the barrier of evil that separates us from the face of God. The words of truth will ever ring true, but they will not need the medium of print for us to receive or remember. In heaven, our minds will retain everything they encounter as we were created to do. In heaven, each precious word that comes from the mouth of God will ever echo in our ears, in our hearts, and in our minds. Our brains were not created with such a vast capacity to store information for no reason. Each brain cell will finally be fully utilized without the disease of self to restrain our abilities. With our minds intact, and a full end to the self-inflicted barriers of evil, our ability to understand will be an order of magnitude more than it is today. We can scarcely guess at what we do not know, but the process to this end starts now. As we open the word with surrendered hearts today, we begin to know truth and start a real walk with God, as Enoch of old did. We must learn to surrender in order to learn what is possible. We must learn to surrender in order to restore hope that the experience Enoch had is one that IS possible for you and I. Enoch lived in no better days than we do. Through the process of surrender and re-creation, we begin a walk that comes closer and closer to Christ, until the barrier of evil is finally removed by His grace and we are ready to see Him as He is. We will then understand truth better, as we will then see it with our eyes as well as our hearts; a process of un-ending discovery.
It stretches the limits of our imaginations to even consider how many other worlds in the universe there are to discover and explore. The sheer size of how large our universe is, how wide the expanses within a galaxy let alone between them, boggles the mind. Yet no matter where we find ourselves throughout space and time, we will ever be in the direct presence of our God. Never alone. This is not a new condition. Though veiled from our eyes, and restricted from full contact by our embrace of evil, our same Lord is with us even now. As He once walked among us in person, even now His Spirit still strives to find one who is willing to let Him in, and let Him begin to remake us. The apostles of old knew it was not the sacred scrolls, or organized religion, or wise priests and scribes, who saved them from themselves. It was Christ. It was the God behind the scrolls, behind the religion, who should have been behind the message of the priests of the day – it was that Christ who actually did the work of saving them and us. It was not just His perfect life, and sacrificial death, that would make us whole. It was our own surrender to Him that would begin the process of our healing and restoration to God. In the process of our salvation, there is Christ. He is in us now, as we permit Him to do His wonderful work of transformation and redemption. We do not walk this earth in isolation from our God at His instigation. We only walk alone when we push Him away, make Him leave, beg Him not to bother us, in order that we may continue to embrace the pain that comes with our sins. And He longs only to free us from them and see our pain ended. Indeed being with us has always been the goal of our God. He does it now as much as we let Him. It is our destiny to see it even more fully realized throughout eternity, no matter where we find ourselves for all time.
Perhaps the most unexplored region of our world today is love. We scratch the surface, and pick around the edges of it. But we do not really know what it means to love. The love of Christ demonstrated in His life, demonstrated in His expression and service to us, stands even today in stark contrast to how we apply the words “I love you.” To know love to the point to give everything away even your very life itself, for the sake of an enemy; this is the love our God has for us. In the process of re-creation we begin to see love better, and begin to know more about what it means to truly love. But this process of discovery will have no end as well. As our God finds new ways to express His love to us, so we will ever be searching for an even better way to share love with others. This journey on its own will make life worth living. It is the fuel of the economy of heaven. It is the motive for existence. Love is what God is, and our aspiration to be more like our creator will lead us ever onward in a journey of what it means to truly love. Again, this is a journey that needs no delay to begin. We start it as quickly as we let go of our own ideas, of our illusions of control, and allow God to do what He must do within to re-create us.
In the existence that is to come, when evil is fully and finally made extinct within the universe and within us, what is unexplored can be discovered without fear. An entire universe that is absent malice; an entire universe where love and joy are the norm; this is our destiny. As we explore the limits of physics and begin to understand how the laws of science were made to be employed, there will be no risk of inadvertent destruction. There will be no commerce based in greed. There will be none who seek power and control over others. There will be no concepts of possession that would not gladly give way to philanthropy in an instant. A discovery of splitting the atom for example would never result in a weapon. That usage simply would not even enter the mind. If we ever do need the energy released from an atomic reaction it will be for the purposes of construction, not destruction. There will be no fear of the development of a super-virus that could end life as we know it. The things that make our lives so fragile now, will come to an end. The power and wisdom of our God will find itself paramount in our thinking. And our discoveries will be based on a premise of love, instead of on self-aggrandizement. We will not seek to bend or break the laws of nature for the purposes of malice. We will have no need to do so. Instead we can focus our reinvigorated minds on building and learning new things that will make the expression of love even more joyful for everyone. Heaven is not merely a utopia based on its location and architecture; it is also the representation of utopian ideals, in short a reflection of the character of Christ. Our God so loves us that He … (the list is too long enumerate) … And so heaven will be a place where discovery is founded in love and its expression to others.
Fitting in to our destiny requires a re-work of who we are today. How heaven operates today is still too foreign a concept to our natural carnal state. Our embrace of evil has so warped our minds that it is difficult to appreciate just how happy we will one day be. The enemy of unselfish love constantly tries to suggest that eternity without evil and selfish pursuits will be an eternity of boredom. Nothing could be farther from the truth. One does not need sin and risk in order to feel alive, rather one can only experience true life when sin and risk are no more. To appreciate heaven for what it is, we need to think differently, to want different things, to value something else. We cannot achieve this transformation through any action we control, or could undertake on our own behalf. We must find ourselves re-created by the only God who has the power to create in the first place. It is for this reason that the story of our Genesis recorded in the books of Moses brings us hope. A God who can call things into existence from the force of His will, can end the disease of evil I have chosen to embrace. Our God is strong enough to end the evil in me, if I will but let Him.
Our God can remake my mind so that I think differently, want differently, love differently. He is able. My part is only to let Him. Only then do I even begin to understand what it means to live. Only then do I begin to understand what is truly important, and how eternity will never get old to me. We must shed our carnal selves, be rid of the “me” we were, and embrace the servant Christ would make of us. Only in our submission and surrender will this be achieved. This is where destiny calls us. This is the sound of our God calling us home. This is where re-creation will lead once and for all time. We are called to the perfection our God intended for us, and by His power and grace is achievable within us even here and now. Whether we wake from the sleep of death to greet Him as He comes, or are simply caught up in the air to meet Him on that great day, our transformation will be reaching its zenith, not its beginning. The beginning starts here and now. This is the true gift of Christ. We are re-created and freed from the chains of disease of evil and self. In this we are finally made free. Re-creation is His greatest gift to each of us.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Our growth then, our ability to think and learn and expand our experience as a result, is placed within us by His creative design. We are meant to increase our knowledge, our love, and our joy. Life grows and with it love grows. As we introduce children into our lives for example, when our first child is born and is only minutes old, there is already a connection, a bond, a feeling. It is the infancy of a love for our child that is destined to ever expand. Our love for our first child does not diminish over time (normally), it grows, it expands, it deepens. As our children develop individual personalities, likes, dislikes, habits – they become distinct, and we love them all the more for their distinctions. As they grow still and age for many years, the nature of our relationship alters from provider to consultant and friend. Still our love deepens as does our appreciation for the person or adult our child has become. At each stage of life love exists, but because life grows and expands, it gives with it the opportunity for love to grow and expand as well. This is by design. The author of love looks to constantly expand His love to us, and in so doing He creates the processes of growth, so that we might share in what it means to see love grow. Every healthy cell that divides and expands carries with it an incremental opportunity to see love grow as well. This is perhaps “why” life is ever expanding.
It is only the antithesis of God that introduces decay and demise. Where love is constantly expanding, self is constantly contracting. Where a focus outward on the needs of others brings joy to the object of love, a focus inward on the needs of self, diminishes the joy we and those around us can experience. This is why love is life, and self is death. But perfection was not designed to have evil corrupt it, and one day, evil will make a full exit from our existence, purged by choice, by grace, and by fire. After that, evil will be no more, all that will remain is love. Therefore the process of expansion, the concept of innovation, the ability to reason, these things will ever be present, a part of who and what we are. It would seem then, that love is the reason why we exist and why our experience and our existence are destined to forever be better every day. There is no plateau of joy or experience we will reach and maintain; rather we are destined to forever be in a pattern of expansion and growth. In this sense, our creation in the image of God is reflected in our creative impulses.
While we do not share our God’s ability to call things into existence by sheer will or thought, we were created with the ability to find new combinations of thoughts or elements and in the combination produce something “new”. The concept of music for example would likely have been created by God. However the infinite variations of musical sound are left to us to perform, compose, alter, innovate, and expand for all of eternity. The shear variance in instrumentation can produce wide varieties of music, let alone the unique vocal tones each of us possess. While God likely invented the idea of music, He seems perfectly happy to bless us with abilities to share in it. There are those who write, who play, who perform, or simply who appreciate it; a wide range of experience where it comes to the concept of music. The topic of pro-creation then is not merely about the offspring of a couple paired in sexual intimacy, it is about the pro-creation of ideas, of concepts, or constructions. When we build a building, when we form new thoughts, when we imagine – we are in effect expressing a reflection of the creative nature of our God. In this we are procreating.
To be called the sons and daughters of God is not only an honor we will never deserve; it may also reflect a desire on God’s part to see us join with Him in the process of creation, of innovation, of expansion. Every minuet shred of life in our world was created to grow, to expand, and to procreate. The methods of procreation, rates of growth and change vary widely; but every tiny particle of life shares in the process in its own way. The process is the constant. The expression is the variable. Life did not have to have this characteristic. God could have brought in to existence only a fixed number of animated creations, and not given them the ability to expand or grow. He could have created only a fixed number of trees, or fish, or lions – exactly enough to populate our perfect world, or His perfect heaven. Had He done so, He would have not needed the command to go and be fruitful and multiply. Perfection after all, did not require expansion. Expansion, or procreation, was a choice God made in His designs of all life. Because the love of God grows, life grows with it. Because love is not content to be stagnant, life is not designed to be stagnant. The concepts that we have a hard time understanding are how the love of God is infinite, yet expanding. Perhaps it is only our perceptions that are expanding as we grow.
The question a Christian should perhaps give a bit more thought to, is “how much is enough?”. Could you ever envision yourself as having had “enough” of the company of God? Could you ever envision being loved “enough”? Being close to author of all Love, is not something any sentient life can imagine tiring of, particularly when our own growth reveals deeper and deeper revelations of what love is, and what it means to us, and to those we treasure. I do not believe there is a “just right” number of close friends. Whether you have one, two, three, or any number beyond that, you tend to treasure each one because they are unique, and bring a unique perspective to the friendship you share. In eternity, through the eons of time, we will come to know every single person who was saved in this world. We will think of them as our family, as our friends. We will love them all intensely. And will we have finally hit just the right number of objects upon which to share our love? God didn’t.
The reason we were created with the ability to pro-create is precisely because there is no limit, no perfect number of recipients of the love of God. Our species, and every other could have been created with only a limited ability to expand – procreate until we reach a certain population, or saturation of the earth, and then by miraculous design, lose the ability to procreate further. Perhaps only achieving procreation to cover losses from whatever the perfect number was. But this is not how God created us. The ability to infinitely expand eventually puts the limits of this world to the test. Our destiny however was not be constrained by the limits of only this world. There is no cap on the edict of being fruitful and multiplying, as there is no cap on the number of other potential worlds which we might inhabit and enjoy. Our galaxy alone could keep us “multiplying” for quite a while. The point is not about population explosion, it is about the lack of population controls – love does not seek to control or limit itself and its expression to others. As we find love for the newborn baby who enters our lives, so God finds infinite love for it as well. It is not merely the parents, grandparents, and siblings who may be elated at the birth of someone new – it is ALL of heaven. God too, finds His own joy, in the introduction of a new life into the universe. This is what He intended. This is what He designed. This is another way in which He finds His joy – to express His infinite love to yet another life. It is also why each life is precious, and in His view, absolutely of infinite value.
Given our current condition, it is hard for us to appreciate why any particular life is so important to God. After all some folks are not exactly go-getters, there are many who appear so steeped in selfishness that they are offensive, obnoxious, and some even psychotic (and that may be just the one in the mirror). Our embrace of evil does not make our existence one to envy or admire, it is more pathetic and sad. But our God sees beyond our current disease to the existence we were destined for from creation. He sees us after His work of re-creation is completed. He sees our potential to forsake the evil of self, and embrace what it means to surrender and then truly love. And there has not been a single addition to our population whose life God would not treasure and desire to redeem. Upon entering heaven, it will not matter how many of us there are, because no matter how great a number that will be, each particular person will be of infinite value to God. If God could have persuaded even one more person to accept His gift of redemption from self, He would be elated to accept that additional life. There is room in heaven for more than will choose to be there. There is room in the heart of God to love every single person who has ever lived, or who will ever live. Every despot in history, from the wicked pharaoh, to the current folks like Joseph Kony, are not beyond the ability of God to love, or His desire to redeem. There is no waste of a life or a waste of existence where God is concerned. If every single person from Adam to the end of time had accepted the gift of God of freedom from self and evil, heaven would be overjoyed, and considered complete. It mourns greatly however that many have rejected this gift, and elected to hold on to their chains of bondage to evil.
It seems only logical that if the population of our re-created perfect world expands, it would be in character with the designs of God. If God creates our world anew as He did the first time He set it up, the trees and plants will still germinate and expand, the birds, fishes, and animals will still carry the ability to have families, and perhaps we too will still carry the designs of a family unit. It may be that marriage and family still constitute the designs God intended before evil was embraced. Our notions of love will certainly expand, but perhaps the designs of God of a special relationship may survive what damage evil and self have done to it in this world of sin. Perhaps the restoration of family will be the last redemption God extends the species of man. To me, it does not really matter. I trust the wishes of God in this regard, and believe whatever He has in mind with respect to family and human procreation, I will be elated with His choice. However, what I have learned of God, is that He truly never seems to have a limit to His love. He loves each of us so thoroughly and completely. He does not get tired. He does not change His mind about who He loves, or how He loves. No matter how many others He loves, He does not get tired of loving someone new, a new child in His Kingdom. It seems only reasonable to me, that heaven will not be the starting point for putting a cap on any new additions to the family. In fact, it seems only more reasonable and consistent with what He designed so far, that heaven may be the starting point for an explosion of love, and perhaps with it, an explosion of new life, new families, and even greater love.
Friday, May 4, 2012
The God of the universe, our God of life and love, tends to reside on a throne. From what we can gather in scripture, His throne is at the highest pinnacle of a city, a city we call Heaven. It was from this city that Lucifer who became Satan was cast out. Satan and his followers were barred from re-entry other than by invitation (as when the conversation over Job occurred). And it is at the end of evil that Satan will try in futility once more to take the city with his army of evil angels, and resurrected evil men and women. Apparently, even beyond what we understand about cities, the city of heaven is something that perfect love will defend, and absolute evil covets for its own. It is in this very city that Jesus Himself promises to build us a home, that we might return to be with Him forever. It is in the book of Revelations where the Apostle and prophet John describes what He can see of the city of heaven, it’s basic dimensions and some of its characteristics, such as having twelve gates whose doors are made of solid pearl, 12 foundations of various precious stones, and streets made of gold. God however, is always described as being located at the city center, and at the highest point. Christ is usually found at God the Father’s right hand. If these locations predate our existence, and are talked about in scripture as being the condition to which we will return. It would seem then, that city life, or rather perfect city life, is something we are destined to share.
The question then is what makes a city? Why does scripture describe the location of God the Father as being in a city? I think the answer may be found in examining as we described earlier the only common element to country-living, wide open spaces. Cities tend to be “full” of people, or in this case, intelligent beings. The angels occupy heaven. Ever thought about why? There is at least one incredibly expansive universe which God has created. It contains galaxies which are huge each holding stars/suns beyond measure, that could each have planetary systems with possibly many planets. In terms of where a person or angel might be found, it makes for an infinite game of hide-and-seek. So why hang out in the city of heaven, if literally every single other place in the universe is available for touring, or residence? Do you think angels perhaps like us, require companionship in order to be truly happy? Begs the question, how can one serve, if one is alone? Or is it perhaps that all life just tends to gravitate towards being close to God?
Perhaps gravity is more than dropping an apple from a tree, perhaps it is being inexplicably drawn to the source of all life and love. It would seem logical then that to comfortably accommodate all the angels and life forms (soon to be us) that wish to be near God, a “city” would emerge. Proximity to God is a measure of “value” that perfect beings aspire to attain. Lucifer used to occupy the third-highest position in the kingdom of heaven before his fall. While Christ was on the right hand of the Father, Lucifer at that time the archangel (or leader of the angelic hosts) was on the left. Until he chose to break trust with God and explore self, he did not realize that Christ was closer to God than himself. In a government where the highest leader is also the highest servant of all, it is hard to distinguish differences in “rank”. In the perfection of heaven, expressing unselfish love is the highest ambition any life form can achieve. Indeed the entire un-fallen angelic host lives to serve our God in any way they can. It remains their highest ambition, and is perhaps the greatest reason they choose to remain as close to God as they are able to do (i.e. city life), rather than explore regions of the universe at the far ends of space. Angels it would seem, go where they are needed, but highly prefer the company and proximity of God.
Another point of interest emerges when considering our destiny towards city-life; cities may sprawl outwards, but they tend to rise upwards just as often. The “skyline” of a city reflects a number of buildings that rise upwards towards the sky, often found in groups right next to each other. In order to accommodate large numbers of people, residents of a city often have “homes” located on different floors of the towers that rise near the center of a city. It would seem logical then, that to house the hopefully vast numbers of humans that accept the gift of freedom from evil in our new and perfect location, we might find the homes our Lord has created for us in structures that rise upwards, not just sprawl outwards. In point of fact, John identifies that the heavenly city is as tall as it is wide and long. And no, I do not imagine a Borg-Cube when I think about heaven, but I might imagine more of a city whose skyline looks more like the pyramids of Egypt. The throne building being the center piece and rising to a higher point than any other structure, but having many tall structures around it that may rise to various heights, getting perhaps a bit shorter as they sprawl outwards to the walls of the city. Regardless of how the height is architected, it is certain that height is a part of the equation. And it would seem logical that height is meant to provide us with the “homes” our Lord is making.
As for opulence and beauty, I can think of no better architect than our Lord and creator. It was He after all who created the elements like gold and pearl in the first place. I would imagine that a penthouse home architected by Jesus Himself would be personalized for each child He redeemed, with elements that just that person would love and appreciate. I doubt any two homes would be exactly alike. And I would expect perhaps that my home, and the home of my wife, might be an adjoining apartment with nothing but a set of double doors separating the two (if that). The weird thing for me to consider is the modified use of my two normally favorite rooms (the bedroom and the bathroom). Toilets will be no more so that will be huge change for me. I guess it also leaves more room for the bathtub. But then too, will I still need a sink? Won’t need makeup, not sure if I still need to brush my teeth or shave. Will I still need to comb my hair, or will it just shake out dry as I need it to? Perhaps there will be no need of sinks either. Even the bathtub may be more a device of recreation than necessity. Do you think we will even get “dirty” in heaven. We won’t smell, so how does one define “dirty” anyway?
The bedroom too (in my new city apartment) may be a bit of an unused room. In the city, there is no need of a sun, as God’s very presence makes it bright as noon-day perpetually. In this situation I imagine we will be eternally energized just from being near Him. We won’t need sleep in the city, and therefore a bedroom might be a bit superfluous. How do I nap after all if I just can’t get tired; too excited, too happy, too energized. Why would I even want to attempt a nap under those conditions? Would I even want to lay down? Which begs the question, how much use would I even have for this penthouse home? I will not have an extensive wardrobe that requires a place for storage. My clothing or coverings will be made of light (adjusted to the colors and shapes I can envision at will), so closets seem unneeded. I won’t have medicines, make-up, or toiletries so cabinet space in the bathroom may not be needed. It could be that the newly-highest-used-rooms in my home may be the kitchen, and dining room. That one I could really get in to, perfect ingredients to serve perfect meals to my perfect family and friends. Perhaps the new best function of our heavenly homes will merely be a place for us to talk with each other, eat with each other, and hang out with each other. Certainly a bit different perspective than what we think of today in our homes. Today our homes are a refuge from society, in heaven they may be a focal point of it.
I might liken our homes in heaven, to a hotel room in Las Vegas. A place with a beautiful view, and perhaps all the essentials we might need; but everything in Las Vegas is designed to keep you out of your room as much as possible. In Vegas these intention may be less than noble, but in heaven the concept may be similar with the extreme exception that everything in heaven will be designed with perfect intentions, motives, and actions. Still we may be so busy, or so excited, or just so interested in the people and activities around us, that spending a great deal of time “in our homes” may not enter our thoughts that much. Our homes may make Donald Trump’s apartment in New York look like a slum, but the things we value in heaven are much more the people, than the stuff. After all, gold is nothing more than concrete in the city we are destined to have a home forever within. It may be beautiful concrete, but concrete is concrete none-the-less.
One might deduce from the emphasis scripture places on the heavenly city, that our future destiny includes only a city life. It does not. To realize this, one need only look back to our Genesis, both Adam and Eve were given a garden home, not a city high rise apartment. God’s idea of country-living was a particularly perfect garden in an otherwise perfect world. When after Lucifer, man broke trust with God and embraced self and evil, he was “driven” from the perfection of his garden home. There was a distinction between Eden, and it surroundings. The whole of planet earth was not considered Eden, only the area where God had planted it. A gate marked the entry point for Eden, and until the flood, it was guarded by an angel with a flaming sword. It is believed that just before the flood, God took the garden to heaven to preserve it, perhaps make it the “central park” of heaven, perhaps return it to Adam and Eve once evil had been ended once and for all. It is speculation. But where God chose to make man’s first home is not speculation. It was decidedly country living not city.
It may be that heaven requires a city in order to accommodate all of the residents who wish to be close to God. But the re-creation of our world after evil, after hell, and after death itself is finally consumed (as described in Revelations), is the re-creation of our entire world. Our world will be “made new”. We are not destined to live in a city surrounded by the destruction and remnants of a world steeped in sin at the time of our Lord’s second return. Nor are we destined to live in a city, now transplanted to Jerusalem’s earthly locale, only to be surrounded by the death and tortured torments of the wicked burning forever just beyond our gates. No, the world’s destruction remnants from the time of Christ’s return will be completely consumed in the hail of fire, and lava that consumes Satan, evil, and all who refuse the freedom from self that our God offers. Our world will burn, and evil will be consumed in the flames, as will pain and death. They will be removed forever. They will cease to exist forever. In that sense, the finality of God’s judgment will be eternal. But they will also be removed from our sight, and our memories forever. We will not go through the eons of time, lamenting our role in the evil we embraced, nor missing those who refused the embrace of love our God had offered them all. All of that past will sleep the sleep of non-existence. Our tears must be wiped from our eyes. And for those who refused His mercy, the finality of His judgments are all that can be left to them. But John is specific in his writings that our world will be made new again. Heaven’s location may be fixed at Jerusalem’s old locale, but the rest of the planet will be getting an extreme makeover.
It is out into this newly created world that we will also go to make our own homes. In this, we will have both a city home, and a country home. Located away from the city of heaven, and thus a bit farther away from the direct presence of God, the cycle of night and day will once again become relevant. The sun will rule our day, and the moon our night, as it once was in the garden home our Lord first created. It is there where a bedroom may finally be needed again. It is there where the relevance of Sabbath will re-emerge. For the Lord Himself marked the Sabbath by measuring the time of days with the rising and setting of the sun. And the prophet Isaiah discusses the idea of Sabbath and … “from one new moon to another” in his forecasts of heaven. These ideas of timing around the rising and setting of the sun can only be relevant away from the city center, where the presence of God outshines the sun. It stands to reason then, based on God’s original designs, and his indications of his eternal intentions, that we will live, or have homes, in more than one place. We will be both city-dweller and country-dweller.
Though no matter where we hang our crowns so to speak, how we live and what we value, will have transcended from a focus on self, to a focus on others. Whether we entertain guests in our city or our country homes, the precious company of a guest, will be the prized commodity. It will not be our beautiful hand crafted furniture, or pride in our architectural and engineering achievements we wish to discuss, but the testimony of a life spared by love. We will never grow tired of hearing how God redeemed you, how He freed you, and what He is doing with you and for you even right now. Those stories will not be merely past tense, but present and future as well. God will ever be interacting with us all. He will be among us, with us, able to see us face to face without fear or shame on our part. We will know Him, really know Him. Imagine the honor, of offering our Lord a home cooked meal for His enjoyment. It will not be the design or finery of the china that will be our first concern, only that He is coming to see us today. It will not be comparisons of how our home exceeds that of our neighbors, in heaven, were that true, we would gladly give our home to our neighbors just to see them happy. No, in heaven, to be with God is the reward. To hold companionship with those who are precious to us, literally every living soul, is our reward.
Our homes in heaven are nothing more than a place to hold events, a place to serve, a place to gather, a place to recount the infinite mercy and love of our God. There will be no homeless in heaven. There will be no poor. But how we measure wealth will have radically changed. How we measure the value of the company of another will have radically changed. A home in heaven can only be understood in this context. Our thinking will change, starting here and now, as we surrender to Christ, and allow Him to re-create us anew from the inside out. Heaven will be the culmination of that work, not its beginning. Heaven will be the place where the work of re-creation within us can be fully appreciated. It is only when our thinking has been made new, our desires have been made new, and our values systems completely made new, that we can finally begin to appreciate what our homes might be like, and what is truly important within them. A change in how we think, a change in how we love, this is the beginning of freedom from self that our God offers us freely. It is the beginning of wisdom, and why when we reach heaven, our definition of “living” will be something completely different than it is today, no matter the locale of our homes in perfection.