During Sunday worship, I was sitting in the Lord’s presence, praying and preparing my heart for a teaching about accountability I had been asked to give, when my thoughts instead turned to heaven. I didn’t ask in so many words, but as I let my longing for heaven within me, I knew that this was somehow related to my prayer.
Suddenly and clearly, a single word came to mind – “testimony” – and with it the realization that every believer in Jesus Christ will have a story to tell in glory. Heaven will find us sharing the story of our lives with each other. What we already do now in small measure, sharing how God healed us of this, how He forgave us of that, how He spoke to us, delivered us, and provided for us, will be made complete. In this life, we live between worlds, in the process of being changed into His image. When we are there in our final home, the change will be complete. All that remains to be healed will be healed, the last traces of sin’s burden lifted, every loose end tied up, every struggle resolved, and we will be in glory.
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” – 1 John 3:2 (NASB)
To be glorified means that every detail of our earthly lives will become a great cause for thanksgiving and worship in heaven. Everything that we will be in glory will declare the glory of our Father and the full expression of the salvation brought to us in Jesus.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NASB)
Life in heaven means giving testimony. Over time, as the years pass into centuries, each of us will share our full story with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our stories will be songs of worship to the God Who saved us, shouts of thanksgiving to our King, precious, unique and perfect revelations of His nature. Through sharing what He has done for us, we will reveal Who He is to us.
Our God is infinite, beyond comprehension, never changing, unsearchable, yet revealing Himself uniquely to each of the myriad of His children.
“But as for me, I would seek God, And I would place my cause before God; Who does great and unsearchable things, Wonders without number.” – Job 5:8-9
As the untold millions of His own declare the wonders He has done for them, heaven becomes an unfolding revelation of the fullness of God. What we know of Him, what we have of Him, and most importantly our love for Him, will increase through the sharing of His deeds with one another. With it, every brother and sister who shares their story with us becomes fully known by us, and our love for them increases. Thus the two greatest commandments are fulfilled perfectly.
“And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:37-39 (NASB)
This great sharing, this great unfolding of the shared revelation of His glory will continue until everyone is fully known by everyone, until everyone shares all of what there is to know of their Lord and Savior through each others’ eyes, the Bride of Christ growing in intimacy with the Bridegroom.
Jesus prayed for His bride near the end of His ministry.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” – John 17:20-24 (NASB)
The Lord created the universe with His Word. He spoke and it came into being. This same Jesus spoke the unity of His bride into being when He prayed. “That they also may be in Us” has been spoken into being. It will be fulfilled in heaven, but has begun in the here and now.
This unfolding revelation of our God began with creation, shining through all of history, down to the present, onward to eternity. We live our lives in the light of it. When we struggle with sin, we struggle in the light of the testimony to come. We know that our sin has been covered by the blood of Christ, that we are seen by the Father as holy and blameless. Yet, we for a time struggle with sin. Sometimes it seems hopeless. Sometimes we stand condemned in our own eyes, too ashamed to confide in others, too weak to stand against it. As dark as it can be, know that the Light is far greater. This very same sin, this life long torment and endless failure, will become a testimony of the the greatness of our God when He completes His work in us.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
Today we have sins to confess, sicknesses to be prayed for, needs to be met. These will all, to the very last, become part of our completed testimony when we stand in glory. Thank God, we already have stories of what God has done for us. And in light of the glory to come, we should tell your stories to all that will hear them. The more we share of what God has done for us, the closer we become, the more clearly we hear God for each other when we pray, the more faith we have to extend forgiveness when we confess to one another, the more we become a part of the testimony of others.
When we confess to one another, encourage one another, make ourselves accountable to one another, pray for one another, we draw closer to glory, which is our hope.
“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:25-27 (NASB)
Word received during worship Sunday, 1/7/2018