HEAVEN (Photo credit: Telstar2000)
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It seems strange to pray this when we have so little idea of what heaven is like, but in the context of the will of God being done, this petition actually gives us insight into heaven. Heaven is a place where the will of God is done perfectly. And what is the core of the will of God? Love, of course.
But so often when we think about heaven, the Biblical understanding of love is not what we imagine. Most of our ideas are very selfish and are more about gluttony than love. God is love, so in restoring the image of God in us, He moves us to love like Jesus. Since He will be the same loving God in heaven as here, we can expect that, being remade perfectly in His image, we will love perfectly instead of being the selfish gluttons we often picture in our images of heaven. Isaiah, Revelation, and other descriptions give us a vision of a new and improved Garden of Eden. But as we look at the original Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had work to do there. It was their job to tend the garden. It was joyful work and not toilsome, but it was work. And Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, so since that’s the case, it follows that the place of greatest blessing, we will be blessed with that greater blessing, the opportunity to bless others.
Think about those times in your life when you’ve had the chance to really make a difference, to provide for someone in need, to rejoice in someone else’s joy. Parents, think about that day when your kids had so much fun and how you felt because of what you were able to give to them. Teachers, think about that day when you were able to give someone life-changing insight. Those in the medical field, think about that day that you were able to help someone go from terrible suffering to celebrating. We find the greatest joy in life by serving others. Imagine having that feeling every moment of every day. While we don’t know how we will experience feelings in heaven, we will truly appreciate godly love in a way our sinful nature prevents now.
But if God will provide for all our needs, what will be left for us to do? Here on earth, God normally works through means, whether His Word to bring salvation or doctors to bring healing. If working through means is one of His defining characteristics, and He has honored us to be participants in that, He may well use us in a similar way in heaven, or He may have a way we can’t even foresee here.
Of course, there will be many other joys. The greatest joy will simply be the presence of God. We will also be blessed with perfect relationships, freedom from sin, and the list goes on, but the idea of working in heaven runs against our sinful desires.
But what if you don’t want to work? What if you just want to take an eternal vacation? You won’t. You will be remade in the image of Jesus with His servant attitude so you can experience His joy.
But we don’t have to wait for heaven to experience a taste of that joy. Think about your relationships now. Marriage was designed specifically for the purpose of experiencing the joy of serving in love. The church serves the same purpose. We have the opportunity to enjoy that joy now as we serve in the kingdom.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is here,” not, “coming eventually.” What did it look like? Serving others with Jesus and with each other while experiencing His glory and celebrating. That’s the Kingdom. And the kingdom is here.
Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7, 8, GWV)