What if Heaven was Here?
What is heaven like?
We start by asking if heaven is like something we know here on earth. We imagine a big family re-union (though, wouldn’t that be painful when we realize who isn’t there?). Fishermen dream of fishing all the time in the river that flows through the New Jerusalem. Golfers are sure there is a golf-course tucked behind the walls of heaven. A woman once told me her idea of heaven was Neiman-Marcus and an unlimited Visa card.
I think all this misses the point. Heaven is the place where we are finally living as God designed us to live, uncorrupted by our flawed thinking, our fouled up choices, and our feeble values. In Heaven, God’s thinking, God’s choices, and God’s values reign.
In heaven, there is love – a deep commitment not just to God, but to each other. Imagine a place where everyone wants good for everyone else.
In heaven there is joy – because people have been set finally free. No one is pointing out flaws, and no one is carrying guilt. Our burdens are lifted.
In heaven there is peace – no one competes with anyone else. We will not be jealous, or trying to steal customers, or looking over our shoulder to figure out how to stay on top. There will be no Tigers, no Gamecocks, no Gators – just followers of Jesus.
In heaven there is patience – no one is in a hurry. No one is crunching a deadline. There is no time in heaven so we all will move at the pace God made for us.
In heaven there is kindness – imagine living where we all understand each other. We see clearly who God made us to be and we bless each other as “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
In heaven there is goodness – nothing rots. People’s hearts are open. We no longer live in fear of actions and words that hurt. What is spoken and done is good, just as God made us to be.
In heaven there is faithfulness – you can trust people. Truth is the language of heaven. Skepticism goes away.
In heaven there is gentleness – everyone in heaven is self-aware. We will come to each other as whole people. We will extend grace to each other.
In heaven there is self-control – we will no longer feel inner turmoil, torn between what we know is right and what we know is wrong. In heaven we will see wrong for what it truly is: a sham, a lie, a fake promise that always lies.
All these fruits of the Spirit will be fully lived in heaven.
Paul says in Galatians 5:25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Church is supposed to a hint of heaven now, a place where there is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If our church doesn’t show signs of heaven now, why would we think anyone would want to go to heaven when they die?