Taste of Heaven

We want to be comfortable. To have our needs met. We long for a life that is free from the struggles that weigh us down. We desire relief from emotional and physical pain, broken bodies and minds. We want people to value and respect each other. We yearn for justice and equality. We long for peace, safety, and security.

God desires these things for us, too. And He will provide them in heaven. But they are not guaranteed on earth. A pop song in the late 1980s claimed that heaven is a place on earth. It has a catchy tune and appealing lyrics, but they do disagree with Scripture.

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. (Psalm 11:4, NIV)

God is in heaven and you are on earth (Ecclesiastes 5:2, NIV)

We want to experience all the goodness of heaven now. But we cannot. We are still residents of this sinful world under Satan’s control (I John 5:19). During this life, we should expect evil and difficulties because people are incapable of upholding God’s perfect standard.

…No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19, NIV)

There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12, NIV)

But God has not left His children alone without help or hope to face these struggles. Here are some of His instructions and promises that point us toward far more life this side of heaven.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV)

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:19, NIV)

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25, NIV)

This life — both good and bad elements — is temporary. Our bodies, wealth, riches, success, and struggles will end. God’s Word reminds that far more life looks beyond the present circumstances to our eternal future:

Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are in heaven and will last forever. (2 Corinthians 5:1, CEV)

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. (I Timothy 6:17, NIV)

Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. (Matthew 6:19-20, CEV)

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever (I John 2:17, NIV)

Far more life is not found in earthly pursuits. It does not depend on our wealth, power, influence, accomplishments, or success. Instead it is found in dedicating our lives to God. In striving to love Him and represent Him in all we do. In letting the power of His Spirit overflow in us: unconditional love; lasting joy; profound peace; genuine gentleness; and more. We get a taste of Heaven on earth — and experience far more life — when we yield to God and adopt the mindset Jesus modeled in the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10, CSB)

We get a taste of heaven when we honor God’s name. We do this by respecting His character and changing our beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions to match His. We also honor His name by giving Him the credit He deserves. We honor Him by telling others about His love, righteousness, and offer to pay the penalty of their sins. We honor His name through a living, growing relationship with Him.

We get a taste of heaven when we are building His kingdom. Although this world will never reach the perfection of heaven, God is working here. He invites us to join Him in that work by sharing our faith with others. They face the same questions, doubts, and challenges as us; they, too, can find hope and help through a relationship with Him. Jesus is the best solution to every problem humans face on earth!

We get a taste of heaven when we do His will. In heaven, we will be fulfilled by carrying out God’s will quickly, completely, and cheerfully. The most satisfaction we can find on earth is through obeying God in this way. He has a master plan, and we each have a unique part to play in it. Having made us, He knows the best way for us to fulfill His plan and discover far more life.

While we wait to fully experience heaven, remember this encouragement about our time on earth:

And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. (2 Corinthians 4:17, GNT)

Sisters,
In what area(s) of life do you most long for heaven?
What is your attitude toward the difficulties that you experience in life?
What do you think about God’s declaration that no one is good apart from Him?
Have you yielded to God in honoring His name? In building His kingdom? In doing His will?
Praise Him for the fulfillment of far more life as you look forward to eternity in heaven!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso

Far More #momlife

This post was written by guest blogger Jenna Huether. Jenna pursued a friendship with me and it has been a wonderful blessing! I’m thankful she carved time out of her busy #momlife to share these thoughts with us. They are a great reminder of far more life for women in all seasons of life.
-Shari

Shari’s weekly reminders that Christ came to bring us far more life have been both refreshing and challenging for me. I know very well that the Christian life isn’t meant to be glamorous or comfortable, yet somehow my heart won’t stop yearning for my life to feel like far more. My circumstances right now aren’t defined by abundance, but endurance. My husband is in the thick of grad school on top of working full time, and I am a stay-at-home mom to our three kids, three and under. I constantly find myself asking God for more: More energy. More patience. More resources. More time. More help. More life.

As I read the Bible this week, I came to a favorite verse:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2, NIV) 

That command is very grounding (ironically) when I get upset about the perceived “lack” in my circumstances. Why am I setting my mind on those things anyway? The things above are greater, significant, eternal. Those are the kind of things that will fulfill me in a lasting way. In fact, it was pretty much the main point of Shari’s previous post: “focusing on our future brings joy.”

A few years ago, I hopped on the bandwagon of picking a word to define the new year, rather than setting resolutions. This year, my husband and I both chose the word “invest.” It has proven to be an apt word. When I’m exhausted at the end of a long day alone with the kids, Matt reminds me, “Jenna, you invested today.” When he collapses into bed after hours of studying and an intense night at work I remind him, “Matt, you invested today.” Between parenting, grad school, moving, eliminating student debt, etc., there are so many things that we are pouring ourselves into this year with the hope that we will eventually see a return on our investment.

But the truth is, there really is no guarantee that we will. We think that we will. We hope that we will. We pray that we will. But we know that investments can be risky at times and the results can be outside of our control. Focusing solely on all the returns we long to see in the coming years will never feel like far more life. Even if they all come to fruition. That is why I found such encouragement this week in Colossians 3:2. Setting my mind on things above will bless my life, because the things God has promised to those who follow Him are absolutely guaranteed.

If I want to feel the far more life that Jesus promises, I need to focus on investing in something eternal. So that leads me to an item that I would like to add to Shari’s list from last week: Focusing on our future brings joy because God will reward those who follow Him.

If I diligently serve and love the Lord, there will be a return on that investment:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20, NIV)

It doesn’t matter how trivial the task seems:

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. (Matthew 10:42, NIV)

It actually doesn’t even matter whether anyone notices:

…and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:18b, NIV)

These promises are what can take #momlife and make the mundane tasks meaningful. My son won’t remember me nursing him in the wee hours of the morning. My husband will never notice half of the things I do to make his life easier and his home nice. My friends can’t know how often I pray for them when their struggles or joys come to mind. God is the one who attends to such things, and He will remember them forever. His promised rewards are what make even a season of scarcity feel like far more life.

Jenna

Sisters,
Do your circumstances reflect abundance or endurance?
What earthly things are you tempted to set your mind on or invest your hope in?

How are you investing in the eternal?
Which of God’s guarantees about your future life above will you focus on this week?
Thank God for making far more life possible now on earth and in heaven for all eternity!
-Shari

Copyright 2019, Shari Damaso