Hello dear reader. I trust that you are well in the Lord. In the last post, we saw that a spiritual mind is one that delights in spiritual things. This is to mean that being spiritual minded involves thinking in a spiritual way about all the affairs of life. Today, I am going to share on the biblical view of heaven and why we should often think of heaven. I am also going to briefly share on the renewed mind and on thinking spiritually.
SPEAKING OF HEAVEN
In Genesis 1:1, the Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The word heaven is usually plural- heavens, unless when referring to God’s dwelling place as in 1 Kings 8:30 where Solomon says that God would hear from Heaven- his dwelling place. 2 Corinthians 12:2 indicates that there are at least three heavens. God dwells in the third heaven, which is also called paradise. As we see in Luke 23:43, Jesus told the thief that he would be with Him that day in paradise. In 2 Corinthians 12:4, Paul says that he was caught up to the third heaven- paradise.
When we give our lives to Christ, we become citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV). This means that heaven is a real place where God and Christ dwell as we see in Revelation 4. As believers, heaven is our true home. In this world, we are just but passers-by and our true and final destination is heaven. Simply put, we are heaven-bound.
For the believer, heaven ought to be the greatest desire. No amount of riches here on earth can be compared to the glories of heaven. For those whose desire is to spend eternity in heaven, it is important to have a biblical view of this wonderful place- paradise.
THE BIBLICAL HEAVEN
Many people have the wrong view of heaven. For some, heaven is the place where they will enjoy all those earthly things that attract them now. There is nothing spiritual in their heaven. What they imagine is not the biblical heaven. In order to have the right view of heaven, we need to look at the scriptures.
We need to realize that heaven is a place where we will be free from all trouble. For believers, this does not mean merely to be free from illness, poverty, and such outward troubles.
Heaven means freedom from something worse than all these troubles- it means complete freedom from sin and all the consequences of sin. I cannot think of anything more refreshing to consider than this, for Christians are often disappointed to find that sinfulness still affects them.
Scripture indicates that the chief delight of heaven is that believers will see the glory of Christ. Acts 7:55 tells us of Stephen when he was being stoned to death. It says, “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” The things that are not clear to us concerning the kingdom of God will be revealed to us in heaven.
When we have learned the true facts about heaven, we should think often about them and what they mean to us. Through this, we become increasingly spiritual minded. A mark of spiritual mindedness is when the thought of complete freedom from sin brings delight.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (ESV).
This means that, through the Holy Spirit in us, we are being transformed (over time) into the same image of God that was distorted at the fall (Genesis 1:26-27). In addition, it also means that as we contemplate of God’s glory, we are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory.
WHY THINK OF HEAVEN OFTEN?
Here are a few reasons why we should think about heaven:
- Our treasure is in heaven
In Matthew 6:20 the Bible says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (ESV). As Christians, we ought to spend a lot of time on things which have no earthly significance. These include: praying for lost souls, winning souls for Christ, praying, discipling, seeking Gods face…all of which only make heavenly sense and are our heavenly treasure.
- Our hope is in Heaven
Colossians 1:5 says, “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard of before in the Word of the truth, the gospel.” (ESV). As believers, we need to think often enough of the things hoped for. In Romans 5:2 it is written, “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (ESV). Our hope is therefore dependent on the glory of God which will be revealed to us in heaven.
- Our reward is in heaven
Matthew 5:12a it is written, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” From this we see that a reward awaits each one of us in heaven. Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (ESV). It is therefore evident that there is a prize that awaits us in heaven if we remain faithful to the end.
- We should always be longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling
In 2 Corinthians 5:2-5 the Bible says, “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened- not that we should be unclothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared for us this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (ESV). From this scripture passage, it is clear that our present human bodies are full of sin and it is at Christ’s return that we will be given heavenly bodies that are devoid of sin.
- We have a heavenly calling
In Hebrews 3:1 it is written, “Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.” (ESV). From this, we can see that we have a calling to heaven and that we should always live with this in mind.
- We have tasted the heavenly gift
Hebrews 6:4 says, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come.” (ESV). From these verses, we see that we have heard a taste of the heavenly gift and have found that it is good. Therefore, the whole heavenly gift awaits us.
SPIRITUAL BENEFITS OF THINKING ABOUT HEAVEN
- You will find your desire for earthly things lessened (Colossians 3:5).
- Your faith will grow stronger (Romans 10:17).
- As a result of stronger faith, hope will abound (Romans 5:2).
- It will make you strong to endure hardships and persecutions (Hebrews 12:2).
- You will be less likely to have a wrong love for earthly things (Luke 14:26).
TRANSFORMED AND NOT CONFORMED
For us to think about heaven constantly, our minds must be filled with God’s word so that they can be renewed.
Romans 12:2a says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (ESV).
In our pursuit for spiritual mindedness, our minds must be renewed and our whole nature transformed. Before I go any further, I must say that we cannot do this by ourselves- it is the Holy Spirit who must do the work. However, we must open our minds to that work, submit to His control and think on the things that matter rather than on the things that at the end bear no fruit or bear ungodly fruit.
Here, we see the necessity of both a sovereign God working in and through us and our responsibility to adapt to what God wants to do in us. By doing this we will be working out our salvation with fear and trembling for God is at work in us to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13).
The reason as to why our minds should be renewed is that before we gave our lives to Christ, we were carnal minded. The biblical descriptions for a carnal mind include: dulled, reprobate, depraved, set on the flesh, hostile to God, tainted and diseased. To express this in a single statement, the carnal mind is inevitably opposed to the purpose of God and neither can nor will follow His laws (Romans 8:7).
In order to cultivate a spiritual mind, we need to meditate on God’s word. If we do not enjoy being with Him here, we will not enjoy being with Him there (heaven).
Joshua 1:8a says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you will meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written on it.” (ESV).
Unless we train ourselves to meditate upon the word of God, thinking spiritually is not possible. To meditate is to engage in thought or contemplation. In other words, it is to reflect on something. This means to think deeply about something.
Meditation can be likened to chewing something over and over again until there is nothing left. After you have had your quiet time, do not leave it at that. Ask God to give you insight to a certain verse you may not have understood. Think of it over and over again asking God to give you more understanding.
The biblical concept of meditation involves filling your mind with spiritual things. It does not involve emptying it and trying to “think about nothing”. A practical way one can do this is by going over a certain portion of scripture repeatedly.
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (ESV).
The scriptures tell us to “set our minds” and not “empty our minds”. Some Practical ways to do this is to think of God’s power, love, sovereignty, goodness, mercy, grace. One phrase from God’s word can be taken and repeated quietly, asking God to give us revelation into it. There should be time also to listen to what God is saying.
As I come to a close, it is my prayer that we set our minds on things above and not on things that are on earth. May God keep you and fill you with a knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. May you stand firm in His will, mature and fully assured.