When we pull back the veil, we find that everything in heaven operates, at its most fundamental level, on God’s other-centered, self-giving love. This is important because living from heaven allows backward-compatibility, like the latest software upgrade. What I mean is, anyone who learns to train their soul to walk in this heavenly reality can also operate in any lower realm with grace and patience and love.
This post, like the last, assumes you’ve already read “Introduction to the three realms.” If you have not done so, I suggest you do before continuing.
Everything from the heavenly realm, where we are right now in Christ, operates on the language of love. To use the computer analogy, you could say that the source code is written in Love, for God’s very essence is love. And this is how we know whether or not we actually know Him.
7 Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of him. 8 The one who doesn’t love has yet to know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 TPT*)
In dealing with idols in particular, Paul makes a critical point in general:
Now let me address the issue of food offered in sacrifice to idols. It seems that everyone believes his own opinion is right on this matter. How easily we get puffed up over our opinions! But love builds up the structure of our new life. 2 If anyone thinks of himself as a know-it-all, he still has a lot to learn. (1 Cor.8:1-2 TPT*)
Notice he says that love builds up the structure of our new life, not our having to be right about everything and thinking we know better (which is absurdly childish when you think about it!) We don’t need to correct everyone who doesn’t believe like we do, or even chastise poor behavior, thinking we’re doing God a favor by doing so. This is religious pride, not spiritual maturity.
This is the point of Paul’s whole argument here. You may have noticed that he addressed the various churches very differently in his epistles. For instance, the Corinthians were at a very different place than the Ephesians. Paul could not speak to the Corinthians as spiritual people because of their infantile worldliness (1 Cor.3:1-3), but he taught some of the most profound spiritual truths we have to the Ephesians.
Again, someone living his or her life from heaven can easily operate in the lower two realms with grace and patience and kindness. Because of the attributes of love (see my post, “What Love (actually) Looks Like“), we don’t shame people who are still immature, living from earth to heaven. We don’t demonize believers because they don’t think like us, because they have a different theology, or even if they think we’re of the devil!
Think about it. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was the only person operating from this highest realm. Everyone else on the planet, no matter how spiritually mature, were operating from the earthly realm before His resurrection and the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost.
And how did Jesus see everyone else who lived in such spiritual ignorance? Was it not through the eyes of kindness, compassion, and other-centered, self-giving love, even to the point of being betrayed by His own people who had Him crucified, forgiving those who “do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)?
In contrast, notice how the know-it-all religious crowd viewed Jesus:
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” (Luke 7:33-34 NIV*)
Nobody actually got Jesus because He wasn’t eating from the same Tree as them. This is pretty much how religious folk react to those today who walk in the same love and kindness and grace that Jesus demonstrated.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m certainly not living from the highest realm most of the time in my experience. I’m still very impatient, ungracious, and unloving at times. Honestly, very few of us are, but our eyes have been opened, and we cannot unsee what we have seen. Our hearts are on fire afresh in His love in this new season!
We’ve only begun to scratch the surface here but I will close for now. I just wanted to remind us that how we know we’ve been with Jesus is because we’ve learned how to love, because Love is a Person. And Love is the source code of heaven.