Given we all have a calling and purpose, what is our primary calling and purpose? Is it evangelism, discipleship, understanding spiritual disciplines or another of the many options that face us? I think the answer lies in something that Yahweh said to Moses.
12 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” Exodus 24:12 (NKJV)
The portion of this passage I want to highlight is the first phrase, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there.” Have you ever considered that as your primary calling and purpose, being with Jesus? What did Jesus have to say about it? In John 17, known as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, He said the following.
24 Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24 (NKJV)
Now, we can view this as Jesus desiring that His followers join Him in heaven at death. Was that what Jesus was talking about when He said, “May be with me where I am?” Where was Jesus? When He prayed this He was on the way to Gethsemane. Is that what He meant? What about what He shared with Nicodemus.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. John 3:12-13 (NKJV)
Where was Jesus when He shared this? Somewhere in Jerusalem speaking with Nicodemus and at the same time seated with His Father in heavenly places. In John 17 He didn’t pray that we would be with Him where He would be, future tense, His prayer was that His followers would experience His glory in this life. Look at more of the context of what Jesus said.
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17:20-26 (NKJV)
Paul understood this and wrote about it.
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)
Not only is our life hidden with Jesus, He wants us to learn to dwell in His glory while here. God’s glory is His character (see Ex. 33:18-19, 34:5-7). I’m not suggesting going somewhere else but rather entering into heavenly places while here. Simply by faith sitting before Him and gazing with our spirit upon Him we enter into heavenly places and He begins to touch us. I think this is available to all of us in our walk with Him. Does it sound mystical? I suppose it does but I would frame it as a practical mysticism. Not a flight of fancy but a practical expression of faith that touches our spirt, soul and body (1 Thess. 5:23). I believe this ‘living in two places’ is our primary practical calling and purpose because, just as natural food sustains our daily physical lives so this spiritual food prepares us for the assignments He has in our lives.
After all, He calls us to come to this place.
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) see also Revelation 4:1-11
So, let us daily come boldly and humbly before Him and be changed by beholding His glory.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)