I originally posted this on my blog in 2006 with little fanfare, and the themes and ideas germinated and took root in me over the years as I meditated on them and and eventually published a short book called The Imperishable Seed of Christ: Understanding the Believer’s Spirital D.N.A. where the theme permeates the book, and at least one chapter focuses on the themes brought up in this post.
If you enjoy this article, then you’ll love the book and I encourage you to get it.
Have you ever felt like you just “got” something, and it made sense to you, but not to anybody else, and when you try to articulate it you sound like a babbling child who can’t put words together, because you don’t know how to explain it?
Like you’ve downloaded some big file on your computer, but you didn’t have the right ‘zip’ program to unpack it all and put it to use?
Well that is what this entry is like for me, and writing it and putting articulate thought to it is, in a way, harder to do than having a conversation with someone about it with their interactive input or clarification on my thoughts.
So, that’s my disclaimer.
This is my official ‘end of the year’ New Year’s themed entry.
Here is a revelation of the age we are in, and the age to come that many believers don’t seem to have a functional understanding of. If we did, the Body of Christ would live way differently than we do.
This age we live in is a temporary one. The one to come, is eternal.
Where are you dwelling? Where are you planted?
The kingdom of God has already broken through into this realm, and not yet completely, both at the same time.
The instant Jesus died on the cross, the powers and principalities of the air, and the results of the fall of man were defeated. But, in a sense, not everything has been 100% implemented yet and still won’t be (so to speak) until Jesus Christ returns. Jesus has not begun to rule the new earth and new heavens, but He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, now.
Meanwhile, the “present evil age” spoken of in Scripture (Gal 1:4) has passed, and still in the process of passing away. It has come to an end, but in our realm of understanding the concept of time, has not “been completed” yet.
So in effect, we are in overlapping ages.
We are in the already and not yet of the age to come, and the present and “passing away” of the evil age that the kingdom of heaven has defeated and ousted. The kingdom of God is ‘here’ and ‘not yet’ simultaneously and without contradiction.
Is your head spinning yet? Re-read that a couple of times.
With that being said, where we live and dwell, and how we make our decisions shows which age we’re living for. Being stuck in this present age is a sign of immaturity, and being stuck and based out of the age to come while living here on this earth at this present time, is a sign of maturity.
What realm do you live your existence in?
If Jesus returned today, would you be mad or disappointed that you never got to fulfill your ministry ambitions? If you’re single and reading this, would you be disappointed He didn’t wait longer until after you could get married first? What about your education, secular or ‘sacred’—would you be upset with Him in your heart that He came to set up His kingdom before you could start your career and live the American dream, own a nice car, house and white picket fence?
Which life are you focused on?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be
For the creation revealed to us waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
The nature of the kingdom of God is that it’s already here in our possession but not yet have all things been brought into subjection, or given to us. All of creation is groaning, and waiting for us to get our act together. The children of God are groaning for the age to come—or are you fixed on this age and the cares of this life?
As verse 8 says, the sufferings of this present time (evil age) are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (age to come).
Whatever you’re going through, you’ve got to leave it in the past—it won’t last or survive or have any significance in the age to come. As the U2 song says, “walk on and leave it behind”.
Many of us have gone through our shakings, and things have been broken off of us that we couldn’t imagine how we’d handle it much longer, but we did, and came out stronger. You might evenfeel that way right now while reading this.
In Hebrews 12:26 we are told God has promised
Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The next verse goes on to say that this phrase indicates “the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.
The things that get broken off of us are merely the stuff from this age, this life, in order that what remains is only the stuff that lasts in the age and kingdom to come. The more attached we are to the things of this temporary realm, the more painful that shaking is when it happens. I have people that come to mind and on my heart right now, who I know will never read this, but if they did, I wish I could take pain they’re going through away or encourage them to redeem it and not let it go to waste. I know that nothing we go through is for loss, but for eternal gain. This life is but a vapor (James 4:14), so leave the crap behind in that vapor that will disappear!
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes tho
ugh it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
-1 Peter 1:6-7
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
-1 Peter 5:10
This life is just a little while.
After this little while comes the eternity which is based on THIS little while!
John Bevere writes an amazing allegory that takes up about 1/3 of his newest book, Driven by Eternity, about these characters who live in and train in a school, and then go off into their ‘professional’ lives, always under the impression that in ten years they will be taken before the king, and judged for what they did with their ten year period in preparation for life under this ruler’s kingdom, and rewarded or punished accordingly. Only, they are all gathered suddenly and unexpectedly after only 5 years, and now are going to be judged according to what they did with that five year period of their life.
I strongly suggest and recommend reading this book if you want to be rattled and challenged about what realm you’re living your focus in.
To get back into the overlapping of the ages we’re in, the ‘little while’ temporariness clashes with eternity here, and it produces suffering. It produces testing for us to overcome, that we may be fit for eternity.
We are supposed to live victoriously above this world during the age, but it should never steal our focus off the age to come. This little while is a reference to a time of testing common to mankind. Don’t get me wrong, we only are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, but all things will be put through the fire.
The fire that purifies gold also turns what is not of gold to ashes.
Malachi 4:1-3 states in clear detail the way the godly will be purified, and the wicked will be ashes under their feet. The idea is that we need to be people that will withstand the fire, and not be vaporized both then and by the fiery trials of life.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 that what we build in this life will be tested with fire, and those that suffer loss are the ones who build with wood, hay, and straw—the things that are seen above the surface of the ground.
Are the things in your life that are seen by all going to burn up in that day?
This is precisely why there will be many ministries in that day, doing mighty glorious works and who are even anointed powerfully, and they will have their works burned up with nothing to show for it, saying to Jesus “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” (Matt 7:21-23).
They built a ministry in this lifetime that was seen by many, but had no eternal or everlasting significance in the kingdom to come.
The gold, silver and precious stones…those are the things buried and hidden.
Do you have things said and done in secret that are worthy of being shouted from rooftops in that day?
Those are the things that will withstand the fire.
The things you may be going through, the things that make you want to cave in and give up, are meant to purify you, whether it feels like it or not. Wounds heal and those scars are badges for eternity.
Experience the moment you’re in with faith, courage, and dignity—don’t pretend it’s not happening. Sometimes lamenting can be the greatest form of worship. But the scars you will obtain are the result of wounds that got healed. Redeem your suffering and make it count for eternity, and turn those wounds into battle scars!
As you enter the New Year, pondering what was, determine in your heart you will be made strong by what has been, and redeem it for the age to come. Leave behind in the age that’s passing away, what needs to be forgotten and left behind.
Get a copy of my book, The Imperishable Seed of Christ: Understanding the Believer’s Spirital D.N.A where I reflect more on the themes begun in this post: