What Does It Mean That We're "Hidden with Christ in God"?
Does that fact that we’ll one day be in heaven with Christ make any difference in our lives right now? That’s a good question! I have to admit that as a kid the idea of heaven honestly kind of scared me; everything bright white, fluffy clouds, strumming harps, everyone bowing and throwing crowns at Jesus’ feet. It just seemed so, well, boring. Later in my teen years I actually had a relationship with Jesus, and the idea of heaven became sweet; I often came to tears at the thought of just being with Jesus, and it served as a motivation to share the gospel with some of my unsaved friends.
Then the dark years came - the decade I fell away from Christ and walked in open sin and rebellion. When Jesus came back into my life in 2004, my heart was once again filled with joy, but I can’t say heaven is a topic I thought much about, and I don’t think it really had a great deal of impact in how I lived my life. Heaven was going to be great, I truly believed that - but I really had no idea what it was going to be like, and it seemed so far away…
I’ll be 46 on April 18th, and while I’m not “old” in the world’s eyes heaven seems a whole lot closer than it did 15 years ago. Does that reality make a difference in my life? Is heaven only relevant for the future, or can it have an impact on my life here and now? Randy Alcorn would say a big “YES” - in his blog entry “What Does It Mean That We're "Hidden with Christ in God"?” he shares his thoughts on the relevance of Colossians 3:1-4, where Paul writes:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”
So what exactly does that mean? Alcorn points out that the same things that the saints in heaven rejoice over are the same things we can rejoice over as well. He states the following:
In a metaphysical sense, we’ve already entered Heaven’s community. By seeing ourselves as part of the heavenly society, we can learn to rejoice now in what Heaven’s residents rejoice in. They rejoice in God, His glory, His grace, and His beauty. They rejoice in repentant sinners, the saints’ faithfulness and Christlikeness, and the beauty of God’s creation. They rejoice in the ultimate triumph of God’s Kingdom and the coming judgment of sin.
This heavenly focus can in turn impact our heart attitude here on earth and have an eternal impact for God’s Kingdom - especially when that overflow results in the good news of the gospel being shared with the lost! The enemy of course understands this, and seeks to fill our lives with sinful temptations and deadly distractions. How do we thwart the work of the Devil? Alcorn says this: …”if we see ourselves in Heaven with Christ, we’ll be drawn to worship and serve Him here and now, creating ripples in Heaven’s waters that will extend outward for all eternity.”
Let’s all make some ripples for Jesus today!