They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)
These words of Jesus speak of a better way. A mindset; a dimension of thought and life different than the system of the world.
His next words are a powerful contradiction to traditional Christian thought: I do not ask that you take them out of the world… Jesus wants us to remain here – enmeshed in the world while ushering in an alternative culture.
An objective appraisal of scripture reveals that heaven is to come to earth. Scripture is rampant with the goal of God and His kingdom inhabiting this place. The earth is to be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Man inhabits earth for this purpose.
For man to accomplish this, he must aspire to a greater goal than heaven. It is not good for man to be alone. A place, no matter its perfection, will not satisfy him. Instead, man is to pursue a Person.
Jesus is the ultimate goal of human life. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is our finish line, our great hope, our home.
The reason we desire a place called heaven is because we rarely encounter the person of Jesus on earth. We have a belief system rather than a vibrant relationship filled with rapturous encounters with the Lord. If we did, heaven would simply be a continuation.
In Christ is not a mere truth but a real place. It is the presence of God recognized and intentionally accessed. Lovers of God not satisfied with anything less than Him make this place a living reality right here in the world.
You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalm 16:11)
The path of life leads to His presence. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No comes to Father except through Him. The overwhelming scriptural aim of man is not heaven, but the person of the Lord.
A simple study in a book about Him isn’t enough. A service dedicated to talking about ideas of Him leaves us empty. Preaching doesn’t transform us unless it comes from His presence, His very essence. There, is fullness of joy.
This is the true fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer. Seeking first the kingdom means to engage Jesus. There is no kingdom without the king. There is no heaven with Jesus.
Longing for heaven is a vacuous desire. A life of drudgery and suffering results in such a pursuit. It is the reason so many well-meaning Christians long for death. And frankly, that is a waste.
Seek the Lord – a real, dynamic relationship – and this world will see the King.