REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by a former AMI church staff, was first posted on July 13, 2014.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“How Our Future Should Affect the Present”
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
In this examination of hosting the presence of God, we focus on how our future expectation ought to affect the present. Fittingly, the last two chapters of the New Testament, namely, chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation, play a crucial role.
Here, we are given a stunning image of the New Jerusalem that will descend with the second coming of Jesus. In the city, there is the throne of Presence where God and the Lamb dwell. From here flows this river that waters the tree of life that brings healing and redemption; It brings blessings over the curse. This is a beautiful image of the future reality that the redeemed in Christ are looking forward to enter.
When we peer a little deeper, though, we catch the grand vision of what God is calling forth. The key imagery is the tree of life that takes us back to the Garden of Eden. What was lost in Adam’s rebellion against God when he willfully ate “from the tree of knowledge of good and evil” will now be restored in abundance. All the blessing that flowed from God’s presence but was shut because of sin, will now flow from the throne room in the New Jerusalem; from here the Lord declares, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
What should this mean to us in the present? As we host God’s presence here and now (i.e., a deeper communion and fellowship with God), we are encouraged to look ahead at what is to come. Each moment of blessing is just a small fraction of the fullness of what we will receive when Christ returns and the New Jerusalem descends from above. What God says here is very clear: Usher in My presence in the present as you wait for the ultimate (eschatological) moment.
The reality of Heaven is what we are contending for here and now. Through prayer, service, and worship, all out of love for God, we echo what 22:17 declares: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’” This Sunday, as we worship the Lord, be reminded of what is awaiting us; let it stir a deeper desire for more of God’s presence. And as you continue with the ensuing week, ask the Lord to open your eyes to see moments to participate in His work of redemption, thereby bringing forth that reality to the here and now.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to desire Your presence in my life. Help me to establish a deeper walk with You. Help me to live in the present in light of my bright future in You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 13-14