Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Leaving Heaven

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” – Philippians 2:5-7

I had a vision not long ago while worshipping.  In that vision I was standing behind Jesus as He left Heaven for earth.  Dressing in a long flowing robe, He started away from the throne, looked over His shoulder briefly at what He was leaving behind, and continued until He was out of view.
That lead me to the thought of what it was Jesus would have left behind in Heaven.  I don’t think He would have missed the grandeur, the gold streets, the jeweled things, and the riches of God.  His Father God owned it all.  He chose gold to be the gravel of Heaven.  The physical assets of Heaven may have been attractive, but I don’t think Jesus would have valued them the way we will.  In His economy, gold and jewels are worthless.

He might have missed the sweet smelling aroma of the sacrifices of the people (Exodus 29, Leviticus 1&2, Numbers 15). For Christ, the smell of the people of God offering up sacrifices for their sins was the smell of a heart seeking to please God, seeking to remove the enmity between God and man.  If the smell was sweet to God, it must have been sweet to the Son as well.

He might have missed the angels singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).  But I doubt it was the sound of their voices as much as the words they sang.  Any word in Hebrew said three times means completeness, perfection of the word.  To say “Holy, Holy, Holy” is the highest of compliments.  It was to offer the greatest of praise. 
As a beach lover, I wondered if He would have missed the crystal sea that is before the throne, or the rainbow that is around the throne (Revelation 4).  But then again, what is a sea, crystal, or a rainbow to the one through whom they were all made (John 1)? 

I believe what Jesus would have missed most from Heaven was love.  Consider a place of endless love.  Jesus was surrounded with the love of God the father, the love of the angels, the adoration of the seraphim and cherubim. There was no hatred, no ulterior motives, no distrust, no lack of faith, no self-promotion.  There was no backbiting, no bitterness, no prejudice, and no jealousy.  In Heaven, it was love.
According to God’s word, no one else, except satan, has ever left Heaven.  Satan was thrown out for acting like a human.  He became full of pride and jealousy and self-promotion, and could no longer worship God because he was worshipping himself.  But Jesus…that’s a different story.  He had done nothing to deserve earth.

Yet, He came anyway.  Jesus was there before the foundation of the earth.  He knew the plan God had for us to receive him as our eternal sacrifice.  He knew that coming to earth mean an earthly life among sinners, and death.  He came, experiencing hatred for the first time, experiencing mocking, bitterness, jealousy, our weak faith, our weakness to sin, our contempt of each other, our prejudices towards nationality, our selfish motives, and our lack of trust in Him.  It was a far cry from Heaven, and yet, He came.
He came to prove that He loves us more than He loved the splendor and worship of Heaven.  He came not to show His disdain for our sins.  Even though He was righteous and could have condemned us, He didn’t.  He loved us.  He came to prove His obedience to His Father God.  He came to allow us to see Heaven and live with Him eternally.  Jesus, perfect Jesus, wants us to be with Him eternally.  He showed us love, so that we could understand love, and love Him and each other in return.

In John 15:11-17 Jesus speak of love and joy.  He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL. This is My commandment, that you LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I HAVE CALLED YOU FRIENDS, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, BUT I CHOSE YOU and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.  THESE THINGS I COMMAND YOU, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Jesus calls us to love each other, not just in words, but in deeds.  He calls us to be self-less in love, even to the point of laying down our lives for each other as He laid down His for us.  He tells us that when we do this, we will have joy, and our joy will be FULL – a heart full of joy.  Doing His will, He calls us His friends, personal friends of Jesus.  If you feel He didn’t mean this toward you in particular, consider what He means when He says “You did not choose me, but I chose you”.  He has a personal love for you – an individual love for you. 

Do you want to experience a little bit of Heaven on earth?  Love one another.  I cannot think of a single gift Jesus would prefer for His birthday than that we show unconditional self-less love for one another.  Imagine what it would be like if we all just oozed love for each other in everything we said, everything we did, and every though we had toward each other.  Would that not be heavenly?  Find someone who needs to be loved, and open your heart to them.  Let the love of God instruct you and show you how to love with His unfailing love.  Yes, you might get hurt.  Jesus did.  But love anyway.  Love one at a time until all are loved.
Merry Christmas!

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