Heavenly Character

How often don’t we speculate about how things are going to be in Heaven. What is it going to look like? Will there be animals? Will we still have relationships with the people we were close to? People write books about their near death experiences where they were given glimpses of Heaven. We ask these and many more questions all the time, but do we ever wonder what we are going to be like in Heaven? Obviously we are going to have a new body after we have been resurrected from death. There are many references to our glorified bodies in scripture.
1 Corinthians 15:44, It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. It there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Having established that, does the Bible say that we are going to receive wonderful, pure characters once we reach Heaven? Does is say that our prejudice and bad habits will be supernaturally washed away after we die? No, it doesn’t. We have to work on our character now while we are on earth because I think this is the only chance we are going to get. I think so because there are so many references to Godly character in scripture. If we didn’t need to be as much like Jesus as we could possibly be, why would good characteristics be emphasised so much? Why would there be fruit of the Spirit if they weren’t absolutely necessary?
Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;…
We have to admit that the person who constantly manifests these traits is pretty near to being perfect. Very close to what Jesus was. But how many of us can claim that we walk our daily walk clothed in these?
Then in Romans 5 there is talk of rejoicing in our sufferings. This is hard and our natural reaction to suffering is that it is not fair, and if God loved us He wouldn’t allow us to go through all this hard stuff. But look what it says:
Romans 5:3-5, Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
James 1:2-4, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:12, Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.
If we look at suffering and hardship as something that is going to make much better people of us then we are able to endure it with a good attitude. We shouldn’t see hard times as being unfair or as a personal attack.
2 Timothy 3:10,You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness…
Paul is emphasising these characteristics for a reason. If they weren’t important to have he wouldn’t have mentioned them. We don’t just need these good attributes so that God can pat us on the head and say we’ve passed a test and now we can go to Heaven one day and sit around worshipping Him all the time. I truly believe that we are going to need these qualities to be able to function after we leave earth. There are hints throughout the Bible of the time to come.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life?
We are being prepared for something much higher and holier than what we are experiencing on earth at the moment, and we need to put our full weight behind our efforts to live a life that reflects Jesus.

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