When my heart belongs to another realm, it won’t be pulled back into what I left behind when I decided to follow Christ, for it is the seat of our affections that determine the course our life will take (Prov.4:23). But, unlike with the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, this “heavenly country” is not something we have to wait for when we die. It’s fully available to us now—in this life on earth.
This is what the writer of Hebrews is driving at in chapter 11:
13 These heroes all died still clinging to their faith, not even receiving all that had been promised them. But they saw beyond the horizon the fulfillment of their promises and gladly embraced it from afar. They all lived their lives on earth as those who belonged to another realm.
14 For clearly, those who live this way are longing for the appearing of a heavenly city. 15 And if their hearts were still remembering what they left behind, they would have found an opportunity to go back. 16 But they couldn’t turn back for their hearts were fixed on what was far greater, that is, the heavenly realm! (Heb.11:13-14 TPT*)
The writer is saying that these people longed for the appearing of a “heavenly city” that they could not see, that was beyond their reach. Sadly, this is how many Christians view this heavenly city today. They’re still waiting for this city, but that’s NOT actually the writer’s point! He’s contrasting their covenant to ours in Christ. All we have to do to see this is read on to the next chapter as follows:
22 By contrast, we have already come near to God in a totally different realm, the Zion-realm, for we have entered the city of the Living God, which is the New Jerusalem in heaven! We have joined the festal gathering of myriads of angels in their joyous celebration! (Heb.12:22 TPT*)
Notice the tenses here. What the writer is saying is that what these heroes of faith were waiting for, we don’t have to wait for anymore! We have already come to “the New Jerusalem in heaven!” So, unlike them, who believed for something they would never experience in their lives, we can live from this realm now. This is what Christ has done!
Beloved, your eyes of faith must now look from heaven to earth, not the other way around. You’re not an earthbound creature waiting for Jesus to return. You’re with Jesus—in heaven—waiting for His return while still living on this earth.
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil.3:20 NKJV*)
Could it be any clearer! This is the perspective your life must take. You live in two realms at once, so your vision must become like a front and back camera on some smartphones. You see and experience heaven while living on the earth!
What we need to believe is that living from heaven is living according to God’s life and power and love, and in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11 NIV)
Beloved, nothing in this world can even begin to compete with this realm! Of course, we must believe that it’s so, for faith unlocks this reality for us (Heb.11:6). This is how we follow Jesus. This is how Jesus followed His Father.
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. (John 5:19-20 NKJV*)
And He told us to do the same thing that He did….
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10 NIV*)
The question here is, how can we do any of these things Christ told us to do if we’re not living from our heavenly place in Him?
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col.3:1-3 NIV*)
Empty religion all about “not yet” and “not you.” But God is not telling you this. He said the Kingdom of God is within you—now. He told you to set your minds to where your life is already hidden. And when you direct your faith toward this reality, you’ll find overflowing joy and all that your heart desires. You will find your true identity and purpose, a refuge and safe place in your Father’s house, along with the great cloud of witnesses cheering you on, and your family in heaven and on the earth. And like the heroes of faith in Hebrews, you will be unstoppable!