My small group is in the middle of going through a study called "Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church" by N. T. Wright. This study, along with other things I've been reading, has been challenging my thoughts on escapism and being heavenly.
When my Grandma Ray died my cousins and I got to sing "I'll Fly Away" at her funeral. I love that song. I love thinking about leaving this world and flying away to heaven and unless Jesus comes back before I die that is exactly what I will do. But is that my hope; flying away from here?
I've been challenged to abandon my desire for escapism. What's been challenging me to do this is the Word of God. The Bible is full of calls to live for God not leave to God. Jesus prayed, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." Jesus' desire was that Earth become like Heaven.
When I read the creation story in Genesis I see God making a first rate product. Throughout the story He says His creation is good; and good is a big word for God because we read elsewhere that no one is good but God. In fact, when God is finished making mankind He still says that all of creation is good.
One of God's desires now is to make all things new. If I had a '65 Shelby Mustang that was beaten to death and I wanted to make it new I would not go and buy a new 2013 Mustang. No, I would restore that '65 Mustang to what it looked like when it rolled off the assembly line in Michigan. That is how God makes things new. He is going to restore the Earth, at all costs, back to what it was like in Genesis chapter 1. He will make it like new.
Now, knowing that God's desire is to restore the earth wouldn't it be a slap in His face to hold up a belief and a hope in leaving earth with absolutely no desire to come back? Yes. In fact in Revelation we see a multitude of saints who are excited to come back to earth with their victorious King Jesus. Heaven will come down to earth in the last days. "Now the dwelling of God is with men..." Revelation 21:3. Note it doesn't say the dwelling place of man is with God. God will come down to rule Earth. Heaven and Earth will be one!
Right now Heaven and Earth aren't one but the process of melding the two has already begun and its beginning was at the cross.
In the Old Testament the Jewish understanding was that Heaven and Earth intersected at one point: the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The Holy of Holies had the Ark in it and was separated from the rest of the Temple by a four foot thick curtain. Once a year one priest went into the Holy of Holies. When he went in he had a rope tied around his waist so that if he dropped over dead in God's presence the other priests could pull him out. The Holy of Holies was the only intersection of Heaven and Earth in this theology.
Then came the cross. While Jesus was on the cross an earthquake came and tore that four foot thick curtain in two from top to bottom. Heaven had begun to burst into Earth. More than that, Christians are now the Holy of Holies. The Holy Spirit lives in us. Paul says we are the Temple. We are the intersection of Heaven and Earth. Since we have the Holy of Holies in us we have a job to do. We must be heavenly. We must participate in Heaven bursting into Earth. It will not be complete until King Jesus comes back to Earth, but we are heavily involved in God's plan now.
Heaven and Earth are becoming one now through the Holy Spirit living in us. How awesome is that! So, let's not spend the majority of our time wanting to get the hell out of here; rather let's spend our time getting the Heaven in here.
Pray "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." Be heavenly today.