When I was little I thought heaven was somewhere where unicorns jumped over candy-floss clouds. I got a bit older and Heaven sounded pretty boring as someone described it as a really long church service. I liked church, but I didn’t want to be there for eternity! Thankfully, I’ve grown up since then (not a lot) and have a new perspective. Or, I’m trying to. I’m trying to get more of an eternity perspective.
It’s hard to be excited about Heaven when the descriptions in the Bible are vague and often bizarre. Yet, there’s confirmation of unknown greatness in 1 Corinthians 2.9 ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’. We need to trust in God and believe Him when he says that Heaven is paradise. I think we don’t know what heaven will be like because God doesn’t want to spoil the great surprise!
Our whole lives are full of people encouraging us to live for the moment, but we weren’t created for a brief life on earth, we were created for an eternal life with God. God doesn’t say that you can’t live for the moment, but we’ve got to be careful that the moment isn’t everything that we live for – we are promised something far greater.
The persecuted church presents us with a challenge to how we view God’s promise of heaven. Persecuted Christians keep their faith, despite pressure to renounce God. They fight for what they believe, even though no one is fighting for them, and they love their churches, even if they know they may be destroyed.
The resilience of many persecuted Christians in the face of opposition reminds us that this life isn’t everything. The promise of something better gives strength and endurance; the absolute promise of Heaven helps us through today and gives every day a purpose. If you believe in heaven, you aren’t living in vain.
I often think that persecuted Christians have a stronger faith than I do, or maybe they believe in Heaven more than me, as I think I would crumble in the face of persecution. Maybe it’s not about who has the stronger faith, but maybe it’s about who has an eternity perspective?
If you know your destination then you are less likely to stray when trying to get there.
Turning our eyes Heavenward makes you realise there’s more to life than what is around you right now. It means that you can be secure in the knowledge that Heaven is real and you are headed there. An eternity perspective is a source of comfort and strength when everything seems rubbish around you; it is God’s way of saying I’ve got this, I’ve got you and you will one day be with me living in paradise.
A firm faith that Heaven is real means you know where you are headed in life. If you know your destination then you are less likely to stray when trying to get there. Our destination is Heaven, that’s our goal, destiny and God’s promise to us. Focus on Heaven and you’ll find it easier to stick with God as you try to get there.
I’m not going to pretend to understand the crazy verses of Revelation that describe the end times. But I do want to encourage you to pray for an eternity perspective, because we all need to get excited about the afterlife if we want to make the most of the current life. When heaven is your focus, life becomes more real.