Monday, June 1, 2015

Creating a Heaven Here on Earth

The Earth is full of beauty that is marred by sin and destruction
In response to my last post (Heaven on Earth is a Fantasy), someone said the following:
I would to some extent disagree with this article. The Bible says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," Philippians 3:20 So even though we are not walking the golden streets, etc. I believe that we can live in the atmosphere of Heaven and in the presence of Jesus everyday.
The author of this comment has some good points. I agree that we should live in an atmosphere of Heaven every day here on Earth.  Yet, at the same time, we need to guard ourselves from trying to make Earth our home.  A couple of Bible verses come to mind that state this.  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4). And, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

The Danger of Making Heaven on Earth

Many people long to have the things of this world, so much so that they put off the more important spiritual matters.  Many people still work hard for riches and glamor and the things of this earth that impress others.  They buy lavish homes and large pieces of land, and expensive cars and long for the material pleasures and large bank accounts.  The reasoning is that one should have as great a life as one can have here on earth, and part of that greatness is having a lot of money and wealth.  Worldly wealth has a way of replacing spiritual wealth, and while not everyone who is wealthy is not blinded to God, the truth is that it is a very hard road to walk down.  Most of us are susceptible to greed and want.  Many of us crave more than our neighbor, but are we truly more deserving of wealth while others are suffering and starving?  If we have wealth, how do we use it?  Do we tithe and give offering?  Or do we hoard it, hoping that we can hedge against a disaster with our wealth that we could hedge against with trust in God?
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
The Earth is Not Heaven, No Matter How Hard We Try To Make It So

This is not Heaven.
The Earth is full of war, pestilence, disease, competition, pride, murder, sin, death, deformities, vice, divorce, fear, prison, torment, rebellion, slavery, strife, want, hunger, confusion, insanity, desire, rage, hate, lustfulness, disasters, pollution, and toil.  This is not Heaven.  Heaven will lack every one of the above terms.  It is a paradise, far better than even the greatest day of your life here on earth.  No matter how much you have in your life, you will still see your loved ones die.  You will watch your friends pass away as you grow older.  You will witness your body break down as years pass.  You will see your children stray away from the life you hoped they would live.  You will lose money to thieves and those who want what you have (I, myself, lost $1500 yesterday in a similar way).  You will be involved in arguments with others or watch family members fight each other.  You will see pride and arrogance tear at the lives of others, and it may eat at you as well.  You will fight sickness, disease, and possible chronic conditions during life.  You will, at times, feel depression.  You may fight addiction, whether it be to the internet or to drugs or food.  No matter how hard you try, you can not escape the fact that earth is not Heaven.

We Can Make Our Lives as Close to Heaven as Possible

With that said, the Bible is full of information on how we can live as good a life as possible.  There are many rules for Health and getting along with others that the Bible instructs us on.  Many of these claims are backed by conventional science.  For example, the Bible speaks against alcohol, which has caused countless deaths and discord in people's lives.  The Bible also talks about avoiding certain foods and blood.

Also see: Did the "Clean and Unclean Meat" rules end with Jesus?

The Bible says that the body is the temple of God.  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:10).  One way in which we can make our lives better is by watching what we put in our bodies.  God created us, and we are His property.  God gives the commandment "Thou shalt not murder." This applies to slowly killing ourselves through what we consume.

The Bible talks about loving our neighbor in great detail.  "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31).  The life of Jesus shows how important it is for us to love both God and our neighbor.  God comes first, and God states that we are to love man.  This means swallowing pride (which is not of God), putting away envy, hate, anger.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44).  How can we expect God to forgive us for our sins if we can not forgive our brother for his sins against us?  We may harbor strong feelings for certain people, but it is imperative that we put those feelings away.  We will find ourselves living better lives and be pleasing God.  This is another way in which we can make earth a better place as we await Heaven.

Ways in which we can bring some of Heaven to our lives includes keeping your body in good shape, staying clean, living in clean, sanitary surroundings, spending time in nature, praying and communion with God, reading and study of God's word, avoiding things which are not of Heaven.  This includes certain websites, television shows and music.  Perhaps one of the most important quotes from the Bible about making life as enjoyable as possible is the following:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8).
We want to avoid anything that makes us feel thoughts that are not of God.  Why fill your mind with thoughts of murder, hate, sin, death, sadness, depression and the like?  Why not fill our minds instead with that which is pure and good?

Heaven is not here on this Earth.  Heaven is where the Lord lives.  One day we will join him in Heaven through the grace of Jesus Christ.  I hope to see you there!  There are things that we can do to make our lives as close to Heaven as is allowed on earth, but no matter what we do, we can not make our lives Heaven.  We must remember that and look forward to the day when our Lord and Savior brings us home to where we truly belong. 

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