“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority” – Colossians 2:6-10
When we become Christians, the first thing we get taught is that God loved us so much that he gave to us. We are told in a hundred and one ways that God is a good Father, who cares for us intimately and provides for us practically and lavishly. Yet for some reason, after a short while the language of those around us begins to change, subtly communicating that our sweet communion with the Lord needs to be conformed to external images of ‘maturity’, which often involves a hefty to-do list and a bunch of serving ideas. Christianity begins to look less like Christ in your heart, and more like the sweat of your brow, the very curse that Christ died to redeem Adam’s descendants from. I am not saying that God wants us to be lazy and passive, but I am saying that God does not get delight from our toil. When we become so busy with the ‘cares of this world’ (Matthew 13:22), whether that is the cares of a secular job, or of a Christian organisation, the word of life within our hearts is choked. In other words, when we try to put our programmes and suggestions onto others, what was created to be a spontaneous, organic, inspiration-from-the-heart faith, becomes a culture of performance. Kingdom power is replaced by human traditions.
In the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23, Jesus speaks clearly of this. He states that the good news is sown into our hearts. When God created us, he gave us spiritual senses that can interact with God’s Good News on earth, such as eyes that see heaven and ears that hear his heartbeat. These spiritual senses of ours are flooded with the images and inspirations that impress themselves upon our hearts, and from these spiritual senses, we perceive the world and conform to the patterns of the world that we perceive, through the resonance of their inspiration. As Bill Johnson has once said, ‘we live under the principles of the Kingdom we think the most about’. The best way that I can describe the word being sown into our hearts is to imagine that the heavenly realm is as a song sung by our Creator. This song has vibrations and frequencies of everything good and perfect, and these rhythms resonate through our hearts with tangible excitement and vitality. These sounds are the song of Christ’s hope, articulating in various forms, as He expresses himself to us in unique, creative ways suited to our one-of-a-kind personalities, so that we can walk in the pattern of our heavenly Artist’s design. Imagine this song like Aslan’s Creation Song in C.S Lewis’ Narnia book ‘The Magicians Nephew’:
“A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Diggory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. It was hardly a tune. But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful sound he had ever heard.”
This song is the song of heaven on earth; the sound of Spiritual Wisdom, in vibrant hues of joy and peace. Like parrots fluttering vibrant wings and tweeting to one another in a tropical rainforest, his voice is one of breath-taking refreshment and captivating colours. He is the Source of all creativity and wonder; or, as Albert Einstein put it ‘…the source of all true art and science’. Thus, the song is both practical and inspirational. It moves us from our core and articulates our actions and our rhythms of life, naturally and passionately.
However, there are other sounds that come to us, which prevent us from hearing the song – blocking us from seeing its patterns and sensing its impressions upon our heart. When we take upon ourselves the heavy, ill-fitting yokes of others’ expectations (whether individual or cultural), we begin to live from ‘deceptive philosophies’ and ‘elemental spiritual forces’ of this world. We live from the outside in, rather than from the inside out. This can manifest itself in ‘a form of godliness, but denying its power’ (1 Timothy 3:5), and therefore can include religious activity, as well as the more unholy flavours of living. Therefore, no matter how well-meaning and sincere the people who place these external demands on you are, you must learn to be rooted and built up in the Gospel of God’s grace from your heart. As Colossians 2 states ‘just as you received Christ, continue to live your lives in him’. Live your life within his energising song of victory! This is what living ‘in Christ’ is all about – being able to see and experience within your heart, all that he died to give you, and all that you share with him in your co-resurrection! (Colossians 3:1-3).
Everywhere you look there is a myriad of religious activity, prejudices, and every other ill-fitting external demand. Yet Jesus invites us to a higher perspective of living from the heart, the most natural, simple life available – the life of receiving his love, and flowing with it, as a freestyling poem of heaven, as the echo of Christ’s resurrection articulates itself through us in elegant, whimsical designs. You have a unique way of seeing, and thus bringing, this song of heaven to earth, as you filter it through the giftings and wonders of your natural personality. Do not be conformed to an external ‘culture’ – a limited, set way of behaving – as you contain the vastness of heaven’s Kingdom within you with all of her glorious, holy cultures (Luke 17:21). In Song of Solomon 6:4, Jesus names you as beautiful as Tirzah, which is the city of delight!
Therefore, remain plugged into the message of God’s grace and love, as ‘faith comes through hearing the word of Christ’ (Romans 10:17). It is through Christ that our hearts beat with the clarity and power of heaven on earth, and we can discover who we are, and how vast this Kingdom within us really is – the Kingdom that waits for us to flow with its inspirational ways and wonders. Jesus reveals to us our unique prophetic sound of heaven, by appearing to us in our humanity and tearing away layer upon layer of misunderstanding and external pressure. Through the new wine of his message of life, pouring itself into our old, rigid wineskins, we begin to burst with inspiration once more – we begin to flow with the resurrection-rhythms of the heart, being practical bringers of our unique, one-of-a-kind, divine flavours of heaven to earth. Some of us will be called to seemingly traditional roles, yet some of us will be called to transform cities into creative gardens. Some of us will be called to do a mixture of the ancient and the new! The possibilities are endless, just as the realms of creativity within each of us are multi-faceted and priceless. There is no one else who can reveal your flavours and styles of the divine! You are a one-of-a-kind expression of the Trinity’s affection.
Jesus comes to each of us and he asks us to live ‘as we received Christ Jesus our Lord’. In other words, from the resonance of love, inspiration, and grace within our hearts. As Jesus has stated in the parable of the sower, it is the one who hears the good news within their heart and ‘understands’ it, that produces an abundant harvest. The word for understanding here is important, as Jesus reveals that the understanding of the Gospel is the action that produces a harvest. Well, the Greek word for ‘understanding’ that Jesus used is the word ‘syniēmi’. This word means to synergise what has been heard within the heart, with your perceptions of the world around you. A definition of it is to ‘put together the perception with the thing perceived’. This means that the word is effective for those who are able to discover, with wide-eyed wonder, how their personalities are designed to bring heaven to earth, as they flow with this heavenly song.
Yet, let it be clear that it is not even us who bring ourselves this understanding through human reasoning and the basic principles of this world. Christ articulates himself through us in our patterns, as we remain plugged into his good news. He is the one whose tongue is the pen of a skilful writer (Psalm 45:1), and who is the author and articulator of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He causes us to recite our verses of life before our King, in many various, spontaneous actions, as he reveals to us the life of our design. His faith stirs up our hearts with that heavenly resonance once more, which is why Scripture unveils that ‘in the Gospel God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith’ (Romans 1:17). As we behold him, the wind of his Spirit flutters through our hearts with impressions and inspirations, awakening every single one of our spiritual senses, and revitalising and healing us back to his original song of serene bliss and intoxicating tranquillity (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Let us be those who can synergise heaven with earth, as we live from inspired hearts set ablaze with amazement and wonder. The inspiration of the Gospel is received and then flows through us, colouring in our world with his living descriptions of hope. This Gospel message produces results, not as we translate it into a religious to-do list of many and varied rituals to make so-called Christian organisations work, but as we allow Christ and His message to be a living, active inspiration. He dances through our personalities and comes skipping to this world with his unbridled hope! We are called to perceive the author of our faith, Jesus, within our hearts, and as we do the result is that we receive the implications of his finished work of love and grace.
The implications are many and multi-faceted, culminating in the over-arching truth that ‘as he is (right now in heaven), so are we in this world’ (1 John 4:17). This is all related to his generous, lavish love. 1 John 4:17 states that as we grasp this truth that we contain all of Christ within us, love is made complete among us. The tired and weary lady in Song of Solomon cries out that she is a busy-body for religion, worn down with the to-do lists of her surroundings.
“my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” – Song of Solomon 1:6
She knows that the cure is the Christ-kiss, to tangibly feel the love and grace of Jesus, the good news, personally, within her own heart. This brings transformation and life. She cries ‘let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes, your name is perfume poured out’ (Song of Solomon 1:2-3). Allow Jesus to be that fragrance of pleasing, delicious life. As we connect with his love on a personal level, we allow his kisses to ignite our heart with heavenly impressions. It is through receiving the joy of Christ’s manifold affections that we begin to perceive heaven on earth with all of our senses – as all of our spiritual senses are awakened. Through his love we perceive and see with the eyes of our heart.
“…and asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in your knowledge of Him. I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. He displayed this power in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And God put everything under His feet and made Him head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” – Ephesians 1:17-23
These verses state that as we receive the revelation of the Christ, we begin to perceive heaven on earth within our imagination – not only as a distant hope but as a living and active thing, powerful enough to conquer any contradiction. Through our perceiving, faith is released that we have both the riches and the power to bring heaven on earth through our hearts, as we have an all-sufficiency in Christ, whose resurrection is our resurrection. This is true, authentic Christian service. This is living from the inside out, and it is all about resonating with the Spirit of Love! 1 John 4:19 states that ‘we love, because he first loved us’.
Understanding Christ in our hearts, then, is continuing to hear the Good news of the Gospel. The Gospel brings a whole new lens to us – an entirely different way of seeing and perceiving. It gives us heaven’s sights, sounds, scents, touch, tastes, and emotions! These ‘heaven on earth in the here and now’ spectacles, these rainbow-tinted lenses, enable us to tangibly see and experience that ‘in Christ, it is a whole new world’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our perspective is completely transformed to one of holiness – the Incarnate One inhabits the colours of our heart once more, and in this space he kisses us with inspiration so that we can interact with heavenly realities through the revelation of the fulfilled promises of God in Christ’s love and affections towards us.
These promises of heaven on earth colour in our perspective with living hope. The bible calls this living, active vision ‘faith’, as ‘faith is the substance of what is not physically seen yet’ (Hebrews 11:1. Through faith, heavenly power explodes in firework-beauty through us, as we behold and release the authority we have gained in Christ. We are called to transform earth to look like heaven through this rainbow-perspective of Christ; the colours and impressions that his love and grace paints on our heart. We see everything through Christ’s perspective. As Isaiah 11:2-5 details:
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea”
This was the song given to us through the finished work of Christ. The multi-faceted, life-transforming, earth-shaking revelation that Christ makes available for us to hear and receive once more!
The Spirit of God which flows in wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, worship, and delight (Isaiah 11:2), presents to us these many facets of God; each gifts to us a new, living colour of heaven, a new heart-revelation, a new note in this song, so that we can hear once more the melodies of salvation, and engage in the dance of heaven on earth.
These refreshing revelations of God bring enlightenment to our senses so that we can ‘not judge by what we see [naturally], or decide by what we hear with our [natural] ears’, but instead can see beyond, into the pattern of God’s design, to bring the harmony and serenity of heaven to earth. Christ is the ‘little child’ whom Isaiah says leads this movement of tranquil harmony, the movement of the love of heaven caressing earth. It is his fresh perspective, and his innocence in perceiving heaven on earth through his heart, that enables us to do the same, and to bring to the earth the manifest knowledge of the Lord – his glory!
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” – Luke 10:19