GREETINGS FROM "PARADISE"
Updated: Mar 31, 2019
It’s a warm, but less warm than usual, afternoon at the University of Miami. The wind is blowing ever so slightly, flitting every palm tree frond it touches. The sound of birds chirping encompasses the air, and Lake Osceola is shimmering as usual. The typical and expected humidity feels almost nonexistent with the cold front blowing through, and all is well. Paradise amiright?
This is paradise in the here and now, but God has an awaiting paradise that can’t compare to anything we’ve ever seen or can imagine. There will be streets of gold, gates of pearl (apparently God likes aesthetics) and, of course, JESUS as Revelation 21 puts it. But to fathom a paradise more impressive than those we dream to visit here on earth is pretty incomprehensible right now.
a spiritual state of everlasting communion with God, according to Merriam-Webster
a place better than anything EVER, according to my beliefs
All that amazingness is being prepared for those who believe in Jesus, love God, and love others. Simple?
We’ve complicated things, us humans. We’ve tainted what it means to be Christian. We praise God one minute and tell a white lie the next. Jesus’s unconditional love pardons our sins forever, but His ultimate sacrifice never gave us an excuse to sin—even the sins we assume are “tiny” compared to others. Reality is: sin is sin.
I know what you’re thinking: But helloooo?? Don’t we have freedom in Christ??
Yes! Yes! And a million times YES!
But there are actually things that displease God even when we do believe in Jesus Christ, and most of them are matters of the heart. Our lives are to be guided and governed by the direction of the Holy Spirit who lets us know what God says. Jesus is the only way into the Kingdom of Heaven (the Way, the Truth, and the Life woo--John 14:6), but that doesn’t mean we have a free ride to live however the heck we want to. God is in no way a killjoy. He wants us to have joy—just joy in His beautiful and righteous way!
So, what is He not cool with? Let’s take a look at a few of the “not okays” seen in the Word.
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
And in the last book of the Bible:
“And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."”
Well dang. Pretty scary if you ask me. But don’t worry. God is good and wants us to live a life of goodness so that we can avoid all of that! So, what does the life of goodness look like?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
I’ll have the fruit please.
Walking in Christ is more than saying “I’m a Christian.” It’s loving Him with our whole hearts and lives and everything we are. It all boils down to love. “Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins.”
Jesus is coming. Idk when.
But I do know this: He wants us to live abundantly and righteously so that when He does come, we will be found doing things that please Him. The Holy Spirit really has been revealing to me the reality of sin we live in. It’s not cute. We shouldn’t hurt ourselves over trying to be perfect because we can’t earn God’s love (it’s free!); however, we should aim to live righteously.
We all do things that displease Him, but we must ask Him where we fall short, ask for forgiveness, and try not to keep repeating the same sins. I’m not a perfect person—never have been. But we’ve gotta walk the faith walk if we want to enter the aesthetically pleasing pearly gates.
God is a righteous judge…meaning everything we do (good and bad) is going to be reviewed and revealed. He loves us and desires us to be with Him in a place without suffering or tears or pain. Heaven is real, but so is hell.
God doesn’t pressure or force us to run to Him, but He does call us to. Living righteously is a choice. Believing in Jesus is a choice (a good one haha). Heaven is a choice. Choose it for Him. Choose it for you.
stay blessed, Jade