"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High."
This is the first of many paintings I will be crafting for "This is Heaven" series. 2021 is the year I'm focusing on the celebration that all of heaven is, and pointing yearning hearts heavenward. Heaven is not only a place however, it's a person. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without God's presence and character permeating every inch of it. The hope and promise of going home to our Father in Heaven compels us gladly to live for Christ's commission to seek His kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is a spiritual kingdom after all, that is at work on earth right now, and each breath we are given we play a part for heaven's gain.
I first chose to focus on the characteristic of peace. My sweet mentor taught me over the start of the pandemic that peace is not a feeling, but a knowing (Isaiah 26:3). It's choosing to lean on God and His truth over the chaos of rising emotions and in the midst of raw earthly circumstances. When we choose to let Christ speak and calm the inner storms, we naturally exchange our fleshy tendency to war, want, and worry, for strength to face anything and love anyone. God wants us to know this kind of genuine peace, so we can be a picture of heaven itself to a dying and thirsty world.
However the fruit of peace is just unattainable on our own, even unthinkable in distress, if we have not made peace with God first. We must submit that Jesus Christ died for the ungodly and is the only way to eternal life. There is no other name under heaven that God has given to bridge the relational rift between Him and sinners (Romans 5:1). If we remain distrustful and distant from God, then we are not going to drink from the life giving River, Jesus, (Psalms 46:4, John 4:14) or reap the benefits. In order to be a citizen of heaven, we must draw near to God in humility, let Christ handle and wash our shame away, and freely drink deep God's word (to which we were created by). When we have made peace with God, we ourselves become a wet marsh and fruitful garden, able to speak and feed the real life giving peace of Christ to others, which is the heart of heaven's pursuit.
"And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your
desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail."