Think like Heaven – Understanding your destiny is important, but knowing your identity empowers you to achieve that destiny.
There are things inside you that will arise out of dormancy when you least
expect it—and at just the right time. Know Heaven; Think Heaven
Thinking like heaven starts with thinking about heaven. The Bible is a great
place to begin, because it is filled with pictures of heaven.
It’s in the Cloud
Jesus carried the essence of God in bodily form, and heaven embodies the
essence of God in spiritual form. Throughout the Bible, the physical picture of
heaven is often a cloud. Heaven hovered over the earth at Creation, visited with
and guided Moses in the wilderness, and conversed with Jesus on the top of a
mountain. In each instance, whoever or whatever entered the cloud was changed,
and what was in the cloud changed the world around them.
Are you struggling with the idea of a “virtual” world that exists but is unseen?
One that contains stored-up resources and information and has the power to
interact on an individual and global scale alike, regardless of time or space? It’s
easy to understand—look no further than your laptop or cell phone. All that we
do and say, all of our history and future plans, all of our resources and health
records, are stored in a “virtual, computerized” cloud. It’s interesting that the
name we use for storing large amounts of digital data is the same as that of the
picture God chose to show us what He has available for us. It is as if God has
been getting us ready for the reality of heaven on earth, inviting us to access
heaven and be changed by it. God provided what you need in order to be
transformed and to transform the world around you: It’s in the cloud!
Being from Heaven
There is something about knowing where you came from that stays with you.
For example, in regard to the town or city in which you grew up, you might have
since relocated to another part of the nation or even taken a trip to the moon. Or,
you might have started life in a poor neighborhood and subsequently become a
billionaire living in a mansion. But the place where you came from will always
be a part of you.
When the Pharisee Nicodemus sought out Jesus, he walked the razor’s edge of
controversy. The sect in which he held a high position believed that Jesus was ablasphemer. For him to meet with Jesus was politically dangerous. Nicodemus
therefore came to Him in the dark of night. Still, he risked his reputation. His
reason for doing so is revealed in what he said to Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that
you are a teacher who has come from God” (John 3:2).
Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus turned the Pharisee’s world inside out. He said, in
essence, “To tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you have no clue
where I came from.” (See John 3:3–21.)
All Nicodemus heard was the impossibility of what Jesus seemed to be saying.
Bound by earthly thinking, the man envisioned bizarre child-birthing scenarios
that had nothing to do with reality or anything Jesus was saying. Nicodemus
could not grasp Jesus’ real point, which was about being born from above—born
from heaven. The idea did not fit the Pharisee’s worldview. He was not born
from heaven, so he could not go there, even in his mind.
If you are born again, you are born from above. Understanding the implications
of that fact radically affects the way you live. When you know where you come
from, you live confident of what is yours. You know where you already are and
what you already have.
That is what it means to think like heaven. Again, you are not “getting ready”
for the next level; you are there now.
Here’s how amazing it is: God’s thoughts and ways are higher, so His words
are, too. In the same chapter of Isaiah, He said His Word soaks the earth and
makes it flourish: “It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Thoughts are like seeds, words are like water; put them together, and they
produce something that is fruitful! God is telling us that when it comes to our
thinking, higher is better. It can literally change the world.
It’s in There
Thinking like heaven not only means knowing where we are but also being
aware of what we already have. There are things God put in us long ago that we
have not yet noticed. He will manifest them externally at the right time, but we
don’t have to be oblivious to them in the meantime.
Heaven was not intended as a “retirement home” for deceased believers
but as a place from which real life is lived. Adam was created to never die.
So, heaven was created so that human beings could interact with a living God!
Location, location, location. From the ground, the smallest hill can limit your
line of sight. But if you are perched high above the earth, even the Rockies are
no obstacle. When we rise above the natural landscape, it causes things to shift
within us. Life’s angles look different. Our perspective is changed. Likewise,
when we arise in our spiritual thinking, our outlook is transformed, so that God’s
purposes may be fulfilled and His glory may be seen.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the
Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1–2) “Arise,
shine….” God is specific: First you arise, and then you shine. Arising snaps the
tether of earthbound thinking. I see this often in prophetic ministry. There is
nothing better than seeing the moment when someone arises and shines!
Colossians 3:1–2: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on
things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on
things above, not on earthly things.” Speaking to born-again people, he said we
should set our minds on the place where we came from.
The peaceful and powerful culture of heaven is incomparable. The brokenness
of the world makes us long for it. Yet, there is another way—an arisen way—of
seeing the distinction between the culture of heaven and the culture of hell than
merely witnessing the world’s brokenness.
Created with Purpose and Destiny
When God gives an invitation, you know He has something specific in mind.
Everything He creates and everything He does comes preloaded with purpose—
no matter what it looks like and no matter what your response is to it. When God
descended upon Mount Sinai, He had more planned than the people realized. His
intent reached all the way to the Sermon on the Mount…and beyond. The
Mosaic covenant was a revelation of something new, and it positioned God’s
people for another shift yet to come.
For God, the creation of something (such as a new order, a function of nature, a
person, or an opportunity) and the establishment of its purpose are not separate
things. The creation account illustrates what I mean.
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was
good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,”
and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was
morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:3–5) Notice that God not only created the
light, but He also “saw” the light. The Hebrew word translated “saw” is
It means that God did more than look at the light; He looked into it.
For Him, the light and its purpose were inseparable. When He saw the light, it
became its purpose, and He called it “day.” God’s seeing the light’s purpose
and destiny was His reason for naming it.
Understanding your destiny is important, but knowing your identity empowers
you to achieve that destiny.
As long as your identity is unclear, you may try to reach your destination, but you will be limited to earthly means. That is a problem, because your destiny in God exceeds earthly boundaries and resources. You were born on the earth, but you came from heaven.
Common sense says that in order to get to a specific location, you must first
correctly identify your starting point. Until you do, you are as good as lost.
Your spiritual GPS system is amazing, but if you don’t know that you’re a son
or daughter of God, the little circle on the screen of your heart will just keep
turning. You’ll know you were created with a purpose, but the specifics will
elude you. Even if you stumble upon your destiny, you won’t recognize it. You
could spend a lifetime striving to get what you already are.
There is no title or position greater than son of God or daughter of God. If you are in Christ, that is how God sees you. From there, you can go anywhere.
All human senses were negatively affected by the fall of humanity. Among
other forms of impairment, the ability to taste was diminished, the facility of
sight was compromised, and the capacity to hear God and others through a pure
heart was lost. Emotions became twisted, so that human beings felt things God
never intended them to feel. Instead of feeling secure and confident, they were
burdened with shame and regret. God had not designed them to experience
Second Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to
salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Why?
Because regret drags you back to your past. It is a place that doesn’t exist, a
place God does not see. You were not created to dwell in the past. You were
created to acknowledge the effect of your choices, to choose a better direction, if
necessary, and to exit the past. That is what repentance really is—a consciously
From the garden of Eden to the garden tomb, emotions such as shame, guilt,
and remorse kept humanity in spiritual stocks and chains. Adam and Eve lost the
clear conscience they had once enjoyed. Instead of walking boldly and
confidently before God, they shied away from the throne of grace. Instead of
approaching the Father and allowing Him to wrap His arms around them, they
disqualified themselves and did without His love.
It was a recipe for disaster. God never intended His children to respond to Him
in this way. He created them to commune with Him freely. He purposed to
continually refresh them with words of destiny. Now, they interpreted their
shame as a barrier to a relationship with Him. Shame stripped away their
confidence in His commitment to their well-being.
We were created to “draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full
assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a
guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews
10:22). Although sin drained away our confidence before God and tempted us to
hide from Him, it could not change His heart!
Our life experiences often create neuro-pathways in our brains that can later be
activated by subsequent events, leading to physiological responses.
The blood of Jesus creates new neuro-pathways called righteousness. As a
result, we become conscious of His righteousness rather than of our sin. This
affects how we see God, ourselves, and each other.
Intentionally choose to receive the mind of Christ instead of giving people a piece of yours.
The Mind Transformed
Occasionally, Jesus took His disciples up a mountain with Him, as we see in
this account from Matthew:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured
before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the
light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with
Jesus. (Matthew 17:1–3)
In the Greek, the word “transfigured” is metamorphoo, the term from which
our English word metamorphosis is derived. In Romans 12:2, the same word is
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s
will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Transformation reshapes temporal things to look like eternal ones. When Jesus
was transfigured, His appearance was so changed that He resembled His
heavenly surroundings. What the disciples saw was not a facsimile of Jesus but
the true Jesus. Words could not describe the sight, so Matthew used
metaphorical language: “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as
white as the light” (Matthew 17:2).
Jesus sometimes spoke in parables to convey in temporal language things that
must be seen from an eternal perspective. He knew how heavenly concepts
stretched the human mind. That is why He instructed the disciples not to discuss
His transfiguration with anyone until after His resurrection. Earthly minds could
not fathom the event until they had been resurrected in their thinking to perceive