The ideas and images that fill our minds have a huge impact on our daily living and interactions with others. Dark thoughts and emotions are quick to take up residence in us but we have ways of overcoming those unwelcome, life-draining intruders and replacing them with brilliant, positive, live-giving meditations and pictures.
One of the most powerful visions that can fill a human heart is the image of heaven coming down to earth. This is what Jacob dreamed about as he slept in Genesis 28 and it is what Jesus spoke to Nathaniel about in John 1:51,
And He [Jesus] said to him [Nathaniel], “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Get this picture in your mind. The mission of Jesus is to bring heaven down into our lives and to let us see it happen! Catching glimpses of heaven invading earth is not reserved for a few highly mature or spiritual people. Everyone can develop spiritual sight. How do I know this? Jacob and Nathaniel were opposites in terms of character and personality. Jacob was a deceiver, a man who cheated his own brother and lied to his aged father in order to get ahead. Nathaniel, in the words of Jesus was, “. . . an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Though they were not the same, they were both introduced to the same dynamic image and promise. Our capacity to see is not based on character or maturity but on God’s readiness to give us the sight that we lack.
Also, look at these other examples from the Bible of God helping ordinary people to see what they had not seen before. The prophet Elisha prayed for his fearful servant when an enemy army was advancing to capture them: “And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). The sight of heavenly angels changed this young man’s outlook!
Abraham’s servant Hagar thought that she and her young son, Ishmael, would die of thirst in the desert until God helped her to see. “Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink” (Gen 21:19). In a similar way, the apostle Paul asked God to help the church at Ephesus be able to see what they had not been seeing: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18 NASB). Everyone needs to see what God has provided!
Let me encourage you to picture this: heaven invading your life and God working in your day to day affairs. You can cultivate this kind of vision by asking God for the double gift of sight and insight. The devil will work to keep you discouraged, distracted and blind but Jesus is in the business of giving you the ability to see what you have not seen before. Vision like this can change the way you live. Vision like this can change the world!
Get the picture?