The Heavenly Paradise
Quick, think about what paradise means to you. What images come to mind when you think of this word? For some, it’s the beach. The white sand shores meeting a light blue ocean is quite a view for sure. For others, paradise may be a cabin in the mountains. It could be sitting next to a fire in the winter, as the snow falls. The common theme here is that paradise varies from person to person. There is, however, one paradise that never changes. And sometimes, our pursuit of these earthly paradises can obstruct our view of the most beautiful paradise, heaven.
For all Christians, the ultimate goal is to live faithfully by following the commandments of God. As the apostle Paul says in II Timothy 4: 7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” In the very next verse, Paul gives us the reason that he persevered. The reward is a crown of righteousness that the Lord will give to all that believe and are faithful. Though we know the road we travel isn’t going to be easy, we can find peace in knowing that our reward is eternal salvation with the Lord.
So after we have fought our fight, what exactly awaits us? We have now come back full circle to the idea of paradise. Sometimes we may try to describe what heaven will be like. Personally, I feel like our words are not strong enough to describe the paradise that God has established for us. So rather than looking for the right words to describe this, let us turn to the bible. God has an incredible knack of putting into perspective ideas that we can’t fully comprehend.
Just as Revelation 2: 7 talks about, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” Let us hear what the bible has to say about the eternal paradise. As we continue in this same verse, we see an idea of what the Lord has in store for those that endure even through troubled times. As the last part of the verse says, “To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.”
To me, and hopefully all Christians, it is obvious that we will face periods of adversity in our life. This is part of being a Christian, and we know this from John 15: 20, where Jesus tells us, “…A servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” It certainly seems like a task that can be wearisome, but what we have seen is that God is not going to overlook our efforts. By striving to keep the faith, we work towards seeing God’s paradise. And the paradise that we have in store with the Lord supersedes any paradise we could ever imagine or find on this earth.
What exactly does this paradise look like for us? Well, as a Christian might expect, Heaven isn’t a place of darkness. In fact, Matthew 13: 43 tells us that the righteous “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” We know that in a world of darkness, our example serves as the only light for this world. Imagine how strong the shine will be when all the Christians are united in heaven! There will never be any lack of light in Heaven and with light comes joy. Our eternal lives will be lives that are amazing beyond description, and full of happiness with no sorrow or suffering.
In addition to being a shining and bright place, we can be assured that Heaven will be paradise because it is a place that will be pure and holy for the Lord’s servants. Its glory will also be never fading. I Peter 1:4 describes our paradise as an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” Our eternal paradise will be a place that is free from any negativity. This is due to the fact that Heaven is the home for God and Jesus’ thrones. We see in Revelation 22: 3 that heaven shall contain these thrones, and will be a place where “his servants shall serve him.”
The final point I want to make about our paradise is the care and concern that has been put into it. Think about a gift you were given that meant so much to you. Usually, these gifts aren’t memorable because they’re extravagant or high-priced. The things we cherish most are those that make a connection with us on a personal level. The gifts that mean the most are the ones that are special and unique for just us.
Christ has given us a special gift…salvation! By dying for our sins, He has given us the ability to spend eternity in paradise. Even before His death, He speaks about our heavenly home. In John 14: 2, Christ describes heaven, and even more important, gives us an idea of how special we are to Him. Christ says that, “In my father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
How glorious it is to know that our savior gave His life for us, and is preparing a spot for us in the home of His father! Though we will face hard times, we have a paradise waiting for us should we make it through as faithful and loyal Christians. So the next time you are sitting and thinking about paradise, pause for just a moment. Leave that sandy beach or those snowcapped mountains that you envision, and remember that the Christians’ paradise is a place more beautiful and special than anything we know here on this earth.