Heaven invades as intimacy grows.
One of my favorite prayers this past year has become “let Heaven come,” and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. I mean, it’s an abbreviated form of what Jesus prayed: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 5:10). However, the Lord is showing me a lot about intimacy—stuff I’ve heard and understood before, but the revelation is becoming personal. And He’s shown me that this summer is going to be a time of huge increase of intimacy with the Father. Me and Nolan had a really good conversation about this the other night, actually. And Alyn Jones from Grace Center had a really good message last night about the secret place. You should watch it here.
But the Lord’s showing me a pattern or an order that we get to live our lives in. Basically, it’s the following, and Romans 8 really follows the same order.
- Jesus, by the finished work of the cross, removes (not just forgives) our sin. (Romans 7:25-8:11)
- We’re granted intimacy with the Father through the Spirit of sonship. (Romans 8:12-17)
- We do the same (and even “greater”) works that Jesus did. (Romans 8:18-25)
I’ve learned that (1) leads to (2) and that (3) is simply a product of (2). We mustn’t let our mind process like it so often does and think that (1) only happened so that (3) may. Jesus didn’t just die so that we could do Christian things or just so that we could merely do Christian work. Is it His desire that His Kingdom increases through us? Yep. Is that all He wants? Nope. John 3:16 has become known as Jesus’ mission statement, and rightly so; here it shows that He came out of the Father’s love to give eternal life to those that believe in Him. And what is eternal life? Knowing the Father, according to John 17:3). The main effect of the Kingdom is not just more power or more saved souls, it’s people who grow in an intimate knowledge with God the Father.
Works (3) do not precede intimacy (2). Stated another way, we do not do more works (3) so that we may have more intimacy (2). By the finished work of the cross, we no longer claim that way of doing things. God does not come near to us once we impress Him, He sees us through the lens of the cross and comes near, allowing us to delve deep into intimacy. From that place, we become more like Him and start to do the things that He does.
We see this pattern in Jesus’ own life. Jesus didn’t do things to impress God and then look to Him. It was early in the morning before the day began that Jesus withdrew to be with the Father, because He knew He was a son. In these times of intimacy, Jesus saw the Father and later did whatever the Father was doing (John 5:19-20). And because of the cross, we get to lived the same way.
Romans 8 talks about creation longing for the revealing of the sons of God, not for the revealing of servants or soldiers. Heaven only invades earth as God’s people grow in intimacy with Him as children, not as they try to do more for the Kingdom. So what does that leave for us to do? We get to stop trying to do and simply let the Father show us what it is like to be a son, like Jesus. As we shift our minds to this perspective, heaven will not be able to contain itself inside of us. An a word of wisdom: pursue intimacy for intimacy. If we pursue intimacy just for works, we’re no longer pursuing intimacy. So pray for a change of desire if that’s what’s needed! If you’re lacking a love affair with the Father, simply sit and receive the love He already has for you; we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
So yeah, heaven invades as intimacy grows. Let’s get closer to our Dad; He loves us dearly.