Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O How I Love Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Our backyard with its many trees is a heaven for squirrels. I enjoy watching the squirrels frolic high up in the black walnut branches. I imagine the squirrel's view from high up in the trees. From there, the neighbourhood dogs are of no concern. Yet those same dogs would look ferocious and terrifying at ground level. The height provides an advantage for squirrels. It reminds me of the high and lofty place where Christ places us through salvation:
Ephesians 2:6 – God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
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. (NIV)
Through our union with Christ we receive an entirely new vantage point. It's Christ's perspective. From here, earthly concerns look far less threatening. But it's not just an illusion. We truly are secure with Him Who resides "in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion" (Ephesians 1:20b-21a).
I can always tell when my focus slips down toward "ground level". The symptoms are predictable: Troubles loom larger than necessary; I obsess on them; I complain about them; I feel anxious and discouraged; I drag others down; or I'll let others drag me into their pit of anxiety. It's all because I needlessly take the wrong vantage point. That's so ungodly! That's not where I belong. That's not where any of us belongs if we are truly God's kingdom people.
Now, imagine the squirrel's life high in the trees. There, they are free from the crippling anxieties at ground level. They are free to be squirrels, free to do what squirrels are designed to do: leap across branches with surefooted confidence and relentless energy. Tree squirrels are at home in this lofty domain. There they forage nuts, make nests, and care for their young. Essentially, they build up their own squirrel kingdom.
Tree squirrels aren't designed to thrive on ground level. Neither are we, as kingdom people. We are made to thrive on a higher plane, empowered with every good and perfect gift from above.
Of course, the kingdom of heaven isn't literally about altitude or cosmic location. It's about spiritual power and authority. It's about a supreme God and His domain of rule, where His raised ones are free to be fully human under the reign of God's providence, protection, and presence.
The biblical psalmists longed for this higher ground. May their petitions be ours too:
Prayer: Hear my cry, O God; I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:1a,2b) You are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. (Psalm 3:3) [You] reached down from on high and took hold of me; [You] drew me out of deep waters. (Psalm 18:16) How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth! (Psalm 47:2) Amen!