The kingdom of God is all around us! We just can’t see it–but we can know it. His Spirit reveals it to us.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love find life, prosperity and honor.
Jesus told us, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand…is near you…is in your midst” (Matthew 3:2, Luke 9:10, Luke 17:21). There is an entire “world” happening around us all the time! Paul talks about it in Ephesians 6:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
When God created the heavens, He established them in the form that we know them. The first heaven is the sky, the second heaven is outer space, and the third heaven is where He lives. It was on Day 2 that He separated the waters and the sky (Gen. 1:6-8), and it was on Day 4 that He separated outer space from the third heaven (Gen. 1:14-19). Heaven really is just a breath away. We don’t have to “go” anywhere! Upon death, our eyes are opened to a whole other realm, the realm of the spiritual. We are able to interact there just as we did on earth. It’s just a real as this earth and will one day be reconnected with this earth (2 Peter 3:13, Rev. 22:1).
So, our perspective is this: Because we have such a great place awaiting us, we need not fear death. In fact, we wait patiently for it BECAUSE we know what is in store for us. I don’t know exactly how, but our righteousness, our godly thoughts and actions, motives and intentions, are formed into a crown (1 Cor. 3:12-15, 2 Timothy 4:8) which we will gladly and voluntarily cast down in worship and gratitude at the feet of Jesus (Rev. 4:10 implied). Death is merely the passageway to heaven for Christians. For unbelievers, it’s quite something else. They step into Hades, the waiting place for all who are destined for hell.
Let us not be afraid of dying, nor of letting go of those who go before us. Instead, let us allow it to motivate us to keep our eyes on the prize, which is to be JUST LIKE JESUS. We know that we will be completed in Him when we get there (1 John 3:2). May we spur each other on to good works (Hebrews 10:24) so that our offering to the LORD, our crown, will be a sweet sacrifice to our KING.
Abba, I look forward to the day when the veil between heaven and earth comes down. I can hardly wait to step over into Your side of things–even though I know You are with me and all around me right now. I want to worship You and experience You face to face! In the meantime, I will continue to work on hearing Your voice as You walk with me in this world. Tune me spiritually to be cognizant of You and where You are working, O LORD. Amen.