Let us pray as Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who art in the heavenlies, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). Yes, it’s plural: “in the heavenlies.”
Our Father isn’t just way up there in the third heaven where his throne is, but he’s also in the second heaven where the sun, moon and stars are, and he’s here in the first heaven where we live and breathe and the birds fly.
Jesus opens all the heavens for us with “the prayer” and with his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven where he “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:3).
So powerful is his work that he brings us along with him into the heavenlies, not later in “the sweet bye-and-bye,” but right now. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).
Do you see your place to sit? “God ... seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Mom sent me an encouraging card years ago. The front read, “Keep looking down,” which was catchy because we usually hear “Keep looking up.” Then I open the card and the punch line reads, “for you are seated with Christ in heavenly places!”
Jesus believes this and he warns, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” Then he encourages us with, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
Paul elaborates, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2). And again, “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
This reality is present. As a believer in Jesus, you are already in heaven. Our challenging opportunity is to embrace this as true, right here, right now. It is totally opposite of the world’s calling toward “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” all of which are passing away (1 John 2:15-17).
This reality is precious. You are sitting right next to the Father and Jesus in the heavenlies. The Holy Spirit “gives you access to the Father” constantly through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s own body and blood on the cross (Ephesians 2:18). Now you can snuggle up and be a home with Papa (Romans 8:15) and Jesus and “innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn (believers) who are enrolled in heaven” (Hebrews 12:22-23).
This reality is powerful. “Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool” (Isaiah 66:1).
Your work on earth is no longer from underneath, and below, even though your physical existence is down here. Now you work from above, where your spirit lives, right on down through the heavenlies. In the name of Jesus you “keep looking down” and intercede for loved ones and earthy situations from up here where we are seated together in Christ!
John Parker coaches those who want to succeed with life now and forever. For information about coaching or simple-style church, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 564-7201.