I was reading a blog somewhere (I can’t remember where now) about developing a “Heavenly worldview.” The point was that we should rid ourselves of our earthly thoughts and instead focus on Heaven. It was a pretty forgettable (obviously) post. But it got me thinking. What does it mean to “focus on Heaven?”Have you ever asked yourself questions about Heaven? These are the ones that came to mind for me: What is Heaven? Where is it? What is it going to be like? How long is eternity really? Are we really going to be singing forever?
Sadly, I’m not sure I arrived at any solid answers. Reading Revelation didn’t help much either, with its dragons, bowls of wrath and jasper walls.
As you may know by now, I like to keep things simple. To understand Heaven, I decided to look at its opposite: Hell.
Ok, admittedly, the concept of Hell isn’t significantly easier to understand than Heaven, but no worries, this isn’t going to be a deep, theological post on the nature and/or meaning of “Hell.” I have neither the knowledge nor the desire to explore the geography, location and description of the literal, physical Hell. Rather, I chose to frame my thoughts with the practical concept of Hell that I’ve been taught my entire life: Hell as separation from God.
It may be difficult for us, as children of God to grasp what exactly that means. At times we may feel distant from our Father, or perhaps we’ve even lost sight of Him through hardship, doubt or bad decisions. Those times can be incredibly depressing and discouraging at best. However, our God is never far away. With one decision and step, we are back in God’s embrace, experiencing the depth, length, height and width of God’s love, just as – or probably deeper than – before.
We live in a world full of people who are not seeing God, living separated from Him on a daily basis. Our calling, our commission, is to point God out to those who don’t see Him and help them connect with Him. In other words, we are to create the opposite of Hell (separation) – we are to create Heaven (connection).
That’s what evangelism is all about. The idea of evangelism is a scary one for many people. The idea of walking up to a friend, family member or complete stranger and attempting to share your beliefs with them is, frankly, terrifying. I believe that fear stems from a faulty, half-true definition of what evangelism is. The current, English definition for evangelism is “Zealous preaching and dissemination of the gospel, as through missionary work. OR Militant zeal for a cause.” Uh oh. Who wants to do that?
Today, evangelism has become little more than a one-sided monologue where we talk to an unbeliever about how we became a Christian, what steps they need to take to do the same and then we provide an invitation for them to take the aforementioned steps. If the person doesn’t agree to take those steps then we have failed as evangelists.
We need to do away with that faulty view. True evangelism is about more than conversion. It’s about more than convincing somebody that we’re right, they’re wrong and they need to fix their wrongness.
The Latin and Greek origin of the word evangelism is roughly translated to “bring good news.” That’s what we should be doing when we evangelize – we should be bringing good news to every single person we meet.
Have we, as followers of Christ’s teachings done that? Have we brought good news to people? Have we done everything we can to show God’s love to everybody?
In reality, the answer is yes. You’re probably already doing that everyday. Through a simple smile, a kind word or a selfless action, you are showing the love of God to those around you.
However, I fear that we haven’t been as intentional as we should when it comes to our sharing of the good news. In our effort to show God’s love, we’ve neglected to show our love. In our haste to immerse, convert and “save,” we’ve missed our opportunity to serve, love and weep with God’s children.
I have an evangelical spirit. I want nothing more than to tell people about this Jesus character I’ve found (or that’s found me) – how His life gives purpose, meaning and direction to my otherwise purposeless, meaningless and misdirected life. However, I pray that my fervor for souls doesn’t overcome my fervor for people; that my fervor for salvation doesn’t overcome my fervor for love.
We should desire with all of our being that individuals commit their lives to Christ – that they know the life changing love that we have received from our heavenly Father. But that won’t happen unless we show unconditional, agendaless love from earthly us.
That’s really what developing a heavenly worldview is all about. It’s not living preparing to die, it’s living to create connections with those around us.
Let’s be people who are creating Heaven on earth. Let’s show true love, grace and acceptance. Let’s foster the connection with God that everybody is looking for, not solely for the sake of their soul, but for their being; not only for Heaven upon death, but for Heaven while they’re still alive.