Maybe it’s hard to picture heaven on earth, but it’s not hard to picture hell. Humans are great at bringing hell on earth. If you’ve ever seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, then you know what hell on earth looks like. Whenever a husband abuses his wife, that’s hell on earth. When people are selfish in marriage, it is hell on earth. Where there are lonely and hurting people, it is hell on earth. Being trapped in an addiction is hell on earth. Living with guilt is hell on earth. Living in apathy is hell on earth.
Some people don’t choose their hell. Hell found them.
God’s plan is for Christians to be his hands and feet. So when we allow hell to exist on earth, it feels as if God is absent. People want to know where a good God is during difficult circumstances, but I want to know where good Christians are when others hurt. Hell is real. You don’t have to die to get there.
Sometimes hell is thrown on people. What would our world look like if Christians brought heaven to people’s hell? What would our world look like if Christians took seriously God’s command to love others like we have been loved by him? So often we are consumed with living for our own kingdom that we ignore the hell others are experiencing. But if each Christian did their part there would be a lot more heaven.
But why do people choose hell?
- It’s easier. It takes no discipline or work to find hell. It’s easy to find destruction. Especially in America, you can live a comfy life and mistake it for heaven. As long as the bills are paid, nobody is trying to kill me, and I have my health, I’ll think life is pretty good.
- They’ve never experienced heaven. We love those stories of atheists who became Christians. What finally convinced them? Most likely it was a taste of heaven.
Today, many people are experiencing hell on earth because that’s all they know and they are even paying for it. They are choosing to follow a kingdom that is wasting away. The world is broken and it’s up to us to shine a light for Jesus in order to show there is a better way.
The kingdom of God is neither solely up in heaven nor limited to human hearts but is something we strive to experience in all aspects of our earthly life. For those who have experienced the kingdom of God now, our calling is to bring heaven on earth for as many people as we can. I think that’s what Jesus wants us to do. In fact, I think that’s what he did.
Have you ever thought about why Jesus did miracles? It wasn’t to prove that he was God. In fact, he got upset at people when they wanted him to do miracles to prove that he was God.
Jesus did miracles because people were experiencing hell. Jesus was bringing the kingdom of God to the people. He was allowing people to experience just a taste of heaven. As a Christian you are called to do what Jesus did. You are called to bring miracles to the sick, life to the dead, blessings to the poor, and comfort for the needy. You are called to bring heaven on earth today.
This article is excerpted from Rob Shepherd’s book, You Misspelled Christian: How To Bring Heaven To Your Current Circumstances.
BIO Rob Shepherd is the lead pastor of Next Level Church in Yorktown, VA.