How do we know that we are really walking with Christ in the same path He walked? When the reality of heaven is greater than the reality of our present earthly existence, we know that our faith is alive and working for us. Faith enables us to transcend the present, whether it be bliss, blight or somewhere in between.
Where is the reality of heaven? So long as we need to deal with the demands of daily life, the things of God’s kingdom will be remote and far removed from our thought and conversation. The strong imprint of this visible and material world upon our souls militates against raising us to a level of inner peace to where faith beckons. Too much, we walk, breathe, and operate in the material world, making it naturally more real than the invisible world of the Spirit, but transcendence is absolutely necessary to experience what it means to be anchored and rooted in Christ. To be free from the pull of the world, from what 1 John 2:16 states as the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” we must just like the pull of gravity, keep going higher and higher toward greater and greater freedom from the “Newtonian” pull of our fleshly desires. We remain earth-bound and flesh-bound so long as we allow ourselves to be enmeshed in the world with all of its appeal and attraction. Always remember that we were created in God’s image with a spiritual nature that enables us to soar upward higher and higher toward Him. The less that the world is attractive to us, the more we know that are living more transcendent in God, so that though we are in the world, we are not a part of it. All of our earthly needs: to gratify drives and appetites and to earn the favor and reward of people, will all be subjugated to the single need of knowing God and being pleasing to Him through the grace of Christ. Jesus told the woman at the well that those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). When reading this verse, I wondered where its connection is to anything in this world. Even the woman tried to localize worship to a given geographical place, being the mount where her Samaritan ancestors worshipped, but Jesus raised the place of worship out of the material world into the spiritual world. While being beaten and humiliated in the gauntlet leading to death, He was nearly silent except for a few statements that speak to this point of transcendence, one of them being, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Here are also the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles a re achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Here the reality of heaven is not remote, but in our grips! Paul makes a statement of a present condition and not a wishful hope in his words, “We do not lose heart.” He is not advocating escapism from the hardship and troubles of this life, but faith in them that they become integral in achieving for us an exceedingly glorious reward. Not losing heart means being faithful to our spouses, to our children (and grandchildren), to all of our associations, causal and business, to our churches, and most of all to God, even if, faithfulness has been lacking toward us, because we have oriented ourselves to that which is invisible and timeless.