“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:4-10
There’s a higher love than the one we’ve found here on Earth…and the world knows, make no mistake about it, the world knows. The lyrics of half the pop songs ever written talk about it, and the poetry of a thousand cultures whispers its name. Stories are told about it, great tales and epic narratives spanning generations. And then there’s philosophy and religion, twin branches from the same tree, one seeking to understand it, the other to embrace it.
The Kingdom Of Heaven is the true source for everything the world yearns for in this life. Everything about the Kingdom is concerned with elevation, with height. God is the Father, enthroned on high; the Holy Spirit is elemental and dynamic, a creature of soaring wisdom and flickering revelation. Christ, the Son, is the bridge between the Kingdom and the world, a man of clay raised into glory, just as we can be. The Spirit acts as our mentor, teaching us how to experience the true knowledge of the nature of Jesus within us, and us within Him. Key to this is the realization that the risen nature of Christ means that he isn’t tied to the Earth any longer: He’s not subject to the restrictions or attacks of the earthbound. Since we’ve been placed in Him, and He in us, then we too aren’t subject to the influence of the earthbound.
The Father’s vision for our journey isn’t just about the direction to take, but also the height to travel. Everything there is to experience in Christ has an element of elevation to it. We are seated with Him in Heavenly places. We seek what is above. God is on high, the highest, and that perspective is the one we’re supposed to assume. We’re no longer earthbound…but do you still feel as though you are?
Well, there’s a significant difference between being earthbound and being stuck in confinement in a situation and that difference is in bondage. Being earthbound is a function of the negative, of the world: the earthbound are lashed into place, crying out for release. The very fact of our saved nature, of our disavowal and burial of our old self in the birth of the new, means we’re not bound to the Earth or tied to the world any longer.
God is nothing but practical, though—often when we feel as though we’re trapped in a situation, confined by the adversity in our circumstances, it’s because God sees an echo of the person we used to be still fluttering around us, and wants to remind us of who we used to be, and the heights we’re called to reach. After all, in the gutter we lie and look up at the stars, because at the bottom the only way out is up. Opportunity is a creature of perspective. If we lie face down in our time of trouble, all we’ll ever see before us is miles and miles of broken Earth and the centre of the world, the buried and the drowned. God simply asks us to turn and face the sky.
In Jesus, we open ourselves to enlightenment: that’s a mindset and a perspective that automatically raises us up, allowing us to encounter our true Heavenly identities. In the Kingdom, we have authority over the earthbound, not the other way around, and we can govern any earthly circumstance. Boiled down to its essence, this means one very simple thing: to solve your problem, you must first get above it.
Of necessity, that will mean standing up, climbing up, rising up. But the Spirit urges us to take whatever action is necessary to rise up. We must not run from crisis, as crisis naturally leads to promotion, to elevation: to rising up. It’s a delicious irony that, in Christ, the situations that might have threatened to take you down before will now cause the new you in Christ to rise up. A spirit of overcoming is by its very nature a spirit of rising up. The might of the Lord allows us to surmount the insurmountable, to fulfil our intended purpose, which is to rise up.
Given the brilliant perspective of the Kingdom, the adversity in our circumstances is no longer an obstacle but something to climb upon to give us greater elevation: and with greater elevation comes a fresh perspective. Far too often, we attempt to live a Christian experience at ground level, unable to see the forest for the trees. Our placement in Christ is on a higher level, just as His love for us comes from a higher level. Negativity, doubt, and anxiety—anything born of fear comes from a level close to the ground, or beneath it entirely. Dealing with that negativity directly means stepping down to its level, allowing ourselves to become tethered to it, gradually taking on that mindset of confrontation, misery and opposition.
We drag ourselves down. Remember that the things of the world have no authority over us any longer unless we allow it. Negativity has a tremendous impact on our mental equilibrium and our emotional state. It works against faith, against trust, against any kind of enjoyment of the Presence of God.
When we learn to live in the fullness of who Jesus is for us, then we experience the higher level at which He thrives. Focusing on our identity in Him allows us to see things so much clearer, and our fresh perspective has no time for negativity. Fear becomes redundant: we flick it aside almost as an afterthought.
That’s exactly how God deals with so many of our supposedly insurmountable problems. He points out a relational, spiritually aspirational thing we could be doing instead of worrying about whatever afflicts us. He advises us to think a better thought and we find that in doing so, the problem vanishes on its own. He encourage us, lying there in the dirt, to realise that we’re not bound to the Earth anymore…to face the sky, smile, get up and start climbing.