The Lord wants us to be seeking the things of heaven! God has unlimited blessings for us to experience as we seek Him with the whole heart. Heaven is loaded with wonder in what we can learn and experience – even lasting throughout eternity. All the we interact with on the earthly plain is either a counterfeit for what God has or is simply a shadow of what is available to us in Christ.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”
Paul tells us not to be given over to the things of this earth but rather to seek “things” that are above, to set our minds on things above. What are these things that are being alluded to? Most of us would agree that we are to seek “the Lord”.
“Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.”
I. Things Above
Scripture is replete with the message of seeking God or seeking the Lord. Here we see the open call for us to seek “things above” where Christ is seated. Clearly God is not only good with us seeking after the things of heaven but is explicitly encouraging us to do so!
There are many passages that we can read that are invitations to us to pursue the “things of God”.
1 Corinthians 2:9–10
“But as it is written:“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,Nor have entered into the heart of manThe things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
We can clearly see that God wants to reveal things to us by His Spirit. When Jesus ascended He dispersed gifts abroad. (2 Cor. 9:9) These gifts are things that God wants us to early covet.
1 Corinthians 14:1
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
Most don’t have a problem with coveting the things of earth, unknowingly and sometimes knowingly, but when it comes to the things of heaven some will think it is strange just because they are more attuned to the things of this world. When you love this present world that is where your affections are set. God wants our affections set on Him in pursuit of the things of heaven.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
II. An Eternity of Experience
What things does God have for us? “Things” is pretty broad! That totally fits the nature of God because He does not want our minds to be limited in what we ask. Just as Jesus told us that we can ask of “anything” in His Name. He leaves it broad and open. With this there are more specific things that we know are part of what God wants us to pursue. God has mysteries. Paul talks about how we are stewards of the “mysteries of God” or even the “mystery of Christ”. Think about just how much God revealed to Paul in a way that He could actually articulate God’s wisdom in His letters. The letters of Paul are rich with wisdom, revelation and understanding of the things of God. For good reason through his own experience he prayed that we would have the same “spirit of wisdom and revelation”. (Eph. 1:17-18) That would be a “thing” for us to pursue!
“Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”
Jesus told His disciples that things were revealed to them but hidden from those who were wise in their own eyes. We need to have a humble heart in realizing that what we know is very small compared to what the Lord can reveal to us in one encounter with Him! Jesus rejoiced when His disciples discovered the authority and power that they had as Jesus empowered them to do the works of God. He rejoiced in spirit, literally leaping or jumping for joy, that these “things” were revealed to “babes” and not to those wise in their own eyes. Paul affirms this as he says that people can have a form of religion and “deny the power”. In other words, you can look real good on the outside but not have true substance of Christ’s power at work in you – even denying the power exists. Discovering your authority in Christ is another aspect of the nature of God that Jesus wants to reveal to us as He gives us authority over all the power of the devil.
“Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
III. Trusted Friends
There are secrets that God wants to reveal to us. When you have a secret you don’t tell that to someone you don’t know. You will tell that secret to a friend, someone close to you that you can trust. It is the same with God. He only shares His secrets with true friends that live close to Him. These are the ones that seek His face, that are vigilant in prayer and desire more of his eternal unlimited glory available to them. The Word of God says that He does nothing UNLESS He reveals these things to His servants – the prophets. This is a powerful statement revealing that God not only wants participation, but requires participation from those who are close to His heart so that He can do His will in the earth. How close are you to God’s heart? This should make us want to get closer – even with an expectation that He will reveal His secret to us as we pursue Him with the whole heart!
IV. The Gift Dispersion
Gifts of the Spirit have been dispersed abroad and are available to be obtained by us through pursuit. We see a list of the “things of the Spirit” or gifts of the Spirit outlined in Corinthians. There are words of knowledge, words of wisdom, manifestations of the Spirit, the gift of tongues. (I Corinthians 12) All of these things should be eagerly desired and sought after because God has made them available to all. We are all inheritors of the Holy Spirit if we are Christ’s. Through the eternal deposit of the Spirit we have access to a plethora of gifts and manifestations of the Spirit – these are also the “things of God”.
Not only that, but do you realize that the tabernacle of Moses was patterned after a heavenly tabernacle where Jesus is now High Priest?
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.”
This is just another example of things above but wouldn’t you just love to get a glimpse of that?! God can take you up to see these things.
V. Wisdom, Power & Encounters
Paul, as we can see, was an incredibly smart, studied and intellectual person who excelled in the scriptures. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, an expert in the law and trained to be one of the elite in Israel in the religious spectrum. (Phil. 3:8) In addition, we need to understand that Paul was a man of “encounters with God”. He was just as much on the experiential side of the things of God as he was solid in doctrine and “the faith”. He also embraced the value of continually being “filled with the Spirit” – knowing it was not a one time event. (Eph. 5:18)
Paul’s doctrine included encounters with God where He shares experiential knowledge of the power of God. He never intended his letters to have the power and gifts of God deleted out of them like many have done in religious circles. Many have dumbed down Paul’s letters to fit their own comfortable theologies. Men will be held accountable for teaching a neutered gospel that is devoid of power – the very things Paul warned about. Imagine taking someones letters that are filled with faith and power and twisting them and degrading them down to a level where they become nothing but dead letters. That is what has happened, in part, in regards to the modern day church.
Paul mentions that he was taken up into the third heaven seeing things that he was not even allowed to speak of – not being sure whether he was in his body or not. (2 Cor. 12:3) As well, these experiences are not just for the “apostles”. In the Book of Acts we see a man by the name of Stephen who was serving tables. He was a man of faith and power who has an open vision of Jesus standing at the right hand of God – right before Saul (who became Paul) approves of his death. (Acts 6:5-7:59) Stephen was first hand experiencing the overflow of the Kingdom of God through healings, miracles and heavenly encounters. It is also worth noting that Stephen was very well versed in the scriptures as he gives the religious leaders a lengthy historical overview from early on to Christ before rebuking them for their hardened hearts – which subsequently leads to his death.
VI. God’s Kingdom Plans
There are plans, blueprints and wisdom that God wants to reveal to us. There are so many things that God wants to show us as encouragement to keep seeking Him. Many times God will show us things that we might not want to see. Some are unpleasant but are still helpful to our lives whether they be personal or directional. Either way, we need the wisdom of God, the leading of His Spirit in our lives that we may live pleasing to Him. All these things that God makes available to us are to help strengthen ourselves and others in knowing God in His fullness.
1 John 2:15–17
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
All that concerns God should be our infatuation and all to His glory and exaltation. We are in this world but not of it. Love not the world. God wants to deliver us from pattern of this world and not to be hooked into the system that the “god of this world” rules over. God wants us linked into the reality of His world – even heaven on earth. He wants to switch our affections from the things of this world to the things of heaven.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of being born again. Nicodemus answered, “How can these things be?” Jesus responds to him saying if you don’t believe me when I speak to you of earthly things then how will you believe when I speak to you of the things of heaven? The latter is very much important in the eyes of God concerning our lives. If we are so attuned to the things of earth that it chokes out any desire for the things of heaven we need an oil change. There is a shift that needs to happen so that we can enter into the fullness of Kingdom living.
This is not an extensive list of all that we can experience because there is ALWAYS more!
Seek first the Kingdom of God… The King is calling!
Create an Atmosphere for God’s Presence!
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