BodEquip Ministries - Equipping the Body of Christ to Live Abundantly.

The Eternal Now

(By Christopher Long, BodEquip Ministries)

What I want to share in this article is in some ways a simple concept, but in others is deeply profound, and I pray today that through the Holy Spirit you are able to receive and perceive what I am about to share.

Picture if you would a timeline representing your life here in time. On one end, there's your start date (or birth date here), and the other end represents when you "die" (or date you go home to be with Jesus). Somewhere on that timeline is today as you are reading this.

If you can visualize it, see a dot on the timeline representing today.

All that precedes that dot is what we would call our past. All still to come after that dot is of course what we would call our future. And then there's today, which for the purposes of this, we will call our present.

Many Christians spend their lives living FROM or OUT OF their past. What I mean in saying this is that we all have a past with its hurts and traumas and joys and successes and all of that is shaping our present reality. But this past defines many of us. So for instance, the fact that 10 or 20 years ago on my timeline somebody hurt me deeply with deep woundings is now stunting me today from moving forward. Or maybe even with past successes or joys, we find ourselves today in our present looking back and longing for those days or trying to re-create them. There are all sorts of ways that people in their lives are really living FROM or OUT OF their past. Their past defines them. The childhood taunts, the death of the spouse, the abuse, even the reminiscing of the "good old days" - the list is endless.

On an extreme end, I have met people that are in their 80's and 90's that have been "stuck" for most of their life because of some trauma they endured as a child. They never really moved beyond that trauma and in essence, lived the entire rest of their life in their past.

Particularly in regards to trauma and grief, this is why some churches and church movements have embraced things such as "inner healing" or SOZO ministry or Christian counseling. I know different parts of the Body of Christ feel differently about some of that and my goal today is not really to delve into that. I will just say that I do see great value in things where the goal is to help people "bring Jesus into" (or "see Him in") their pasts and give things to the Lord and replace lies they believed in their past with His truth.

However, I have found when it comes to our pasts, it can be easy for this to become a neverending cycle where we are just constantly looking backwards trying to "overcome" our past. It can be a place where our past defines our life and that's where we are constantly putting our focus.

So that's the past.

But there's another group of people that aren't living as much FROM their past as much as they are living TO or FOR the future. I do think it's healthy and Biblical to have vision and hope for the future so don't misunderstand what I'm about to say. But many people are looking TOWARDS the future for their answers - they see their lives as "if I only had X" or "if I could only obtain Y" or "if I could just do Z" then I'd "have it made" and be what I should be. This can sometimes be subtle, but they in essence are saying they do not yet have or possess what they are after and they are constantly looking for, or living their lives to obtain, these things. For Christians, this mindset can also manifest as "when I get to Heaven it'll all be okay", which for many Christians means they are looking off in the future to when they go Home to Heaven to such a degree that they really are "stuck" for the rest of their present reality here - because their focus is on some future time when they will finally get what they are after.

So that's the future.

I believe the majority of Christians spend their lives either living FROM or OUT OF the past, or living TO or FOR the future.

Then there's a group of people, even non-believers, who are all about just "living for today". They are the "live it up" crowd because "who knows about the future?" There are Scriptures in the Bible that talk of how we don't know about tomorrow (e.g. James 4:13-15) so I'm not knocking that entirely, but I'm talking about the "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" crowd who just live how they want to live in the present in a natural way without regard to the past or future. In truth, often such people with that view of life are in actuality really living out of their past, but we won't go there...

All of what I have described above is all based on linear time. Again, see that timeline in your mind. Our past, our present, our future. We are talking about who we are "in time" as our dot moves along that timeline.

However, as born-again new creation believers in Jesus Christ, I believe God is wanting us to live in, and live from, a continual state of what I'm going to refer to as "The Eternal Now".

While we exist in this time system - living in time - we are NOT "time beings"! We are eternal beings that are merely dwelling bodily in time.

When we were born-again, a radical shift happened where we became a new creation that dwells with God through our spirit outside of time. We literally became a new creation (or new creature) as the popular verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us plainly. This new creation is living right now in Heaven with Jesus, seated at the Father's right hand. Through our born-again, made-alive spirit, we dwell right now with Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-7 tells us: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

This tells us some very important things including that because God is so full of mercy and out of His deep love for us, He already (past-tense) "MADE" us alive with Jesus and "RAISED" (past-tense) us up with Him and "SEATED" (past-tense) us with Him in Heaven in Jesus.

This is huge and something that much of Christianity has either completely missed or glossed over. We may even know this intellectually, but God is wanting us to actually perceive and live in this state.

In Matthew 10:7-8, Jesus told the disciples He was sending out, "And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay." (ESV)

How could the disciples heal the sick or raise the dead or cleanse lepers or cast out demons? The answer is that the "kingdom of heaven" was at hand. It was through operating in the eternal kingdom power and authority.

In Luke 6:20, we read that Jesus, "lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 6:20b ESV).

Notice it does NOT say that yours "will be" the Kingdom of God. It says that yours "IS" the Kingdom of God. Right now.

In Luke 17:20-21 we read of Jesus talking more about the kingdom in relation to future events:
"Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." (NKJV).

Or as some translations put it, "within your midst", which since he was talking to Pharisees here probably makes more sense. But either way Jesus is correcting some theology about the eternal kingdom here.

In Matthew 16:19, Jesus tells Peter and the disciples, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (ESV).

Again, Jesus is talking about this kingdom reality of power and authority and Jesus tells us here He's going to give us the keys. Well when did He do that? When He died and rose again, that's when. When we were made alive together with Jesus and seated with Him in Heaven, that's when.

Colossians 1:13-14 tells us "He [God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (ESV, bracketed text mine).

We are, RIGHT NOW, living in the eternal kingdom of God in a place of power and authority.

It goes on to tell us in verses 15-17 "He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (ESV, bracketed text mine).

This tells us that Jesus is the image of the God that we cannot see and that by Him all things were created both that we see and do not see and that in Him all things (including you) hold together. Jesus is the place of all power and authority.

Ephesians 1:22 further clarifies when it tells us that God "put all things under his (Jesus') feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." (Eph. 1:22b ESV, bracketed text mine).

All things right now are under Jesus' feet. And Jesus is head over His body, the church (that's you and me), and that us as His body have His fullness as the one who fills all in all.

I know I'm throwing a lot of Scriptures at you, but this is all huge. Stick with me because here's one of the key ones I've wanted to get to:

"For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority." (Colossians 2:9-10 NLT)

So this tells us the fullness of God dwells in Jesus and that WE (you and me as born-again, new-creation believers in Jesus) are complete through our union with Jesus, the One that's over every authority and with whom all things are under His feet.

If all things are under Jesus' feet and I'm joined to Jesus, then all things are under my feet too. If He's the head and I'm the body and I'm in Him and He's in me, then I'm in a mighty powerful position. And so are you.

1 Cor 6:17 tells us "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him."

In John 17, Jesus, praying to Father just prior to going to the cross, said: "The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." (John 17:22-23 ESV).

Jesus is in us, and we are in Him. We are joined with Him. Colossians 3:3 tells us "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (ESV).

Just as Jesus died and then rose again and is now seated at the Father's right hand, so also because we are in Jesus, right now WE are seated in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus, at the right hand of the Father. We are joined to Jesus in an inseparable way - He is in us and we are in Him. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus bodily and because we are in Jesus, we have the fullness of God dwelling in us. We are complete in Jesus. There is no lack, there is no "I can't [blank]", there just is God. In this place, "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all." (Colossians 3:11 ESV).

It's The Eternal Now.

2 Peter 1:2-4 is another power-packed Scripture that tends to get glossed over:

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (ESV).

Do you see it? Right now in Jesus, we are partakers of God's divine nature - full of everything that entails. We right now have ALL things that we need for life. Anything we possibly have need of is available to us in Jesus as we literally are in Him and seated united with Him in power and authority.

We aren't beggars trying to get God to move or give us things we don't have or trying to get His presence to "come down" (despite what some worship songs or well-meaning Christians might utter...). We are already in His presence and He's already moved and given us all that we need. We are complete in Christ and right now we are seated in the Heavenlies in Christ Jesus. This is a HUGE concept that much of Christianity has managed to miss. We're always trying to get things. We're always trying to GET healing from our past or GET healing in our body or GET the presence of God, as if He might say no or withhold from us and only will do what we want if we pray hard enough or fast or [fill in the blank].

When you as a believer really grasp the things I'm sharing today, it will totally rock your world because it completely changes how you relate to God. It's no longer approaching God as a begging sinner, but as a dearly loved saint that's complete in Jesus and in whom you ALREADY have all that you need and with whom you ALREADY, RIGHT NOW, dwell in His presence.

1 John 4:16-18 tells us:
"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." (ESV)

The same God that made this world and made you and me has loved us and united Himself to us through Jesus, and in this "love state" where we have been raised up and seated with Jesus, we have everything - there is no fear or lack. As God is, so are we here right now in this world. In our spirit.

And that's where the rub is of course. While all the things I have shared are true, they are true of our born-again spirit.

I mentioned earlier that we are not "time beings" but "eternal beings". We are a spirit. We are spiritual beings that dwell with Jesus right now. But we also dwell here in time in our physical body with our soul. Because we also dwell in linear time and can make choices that can affect things, we can choose to live according to temporal principles based solely on what we can see or feel.

I get that you might not always "feel" God's presence or see that you have all things. But whether one feels it or not, we do need to start with the acknowledgement that these things are true - they are 100% reality in the core of our nature as a spirit being. Most of Christianity hasn't even gotten this first step down. And yet it is really foundational to our walk with Jesus - understanding who we really are as believers united with Him and in Him.

As we allow what is true of who we really are as the new creation that was created when our spirit was born again by God Himself - when we allow that reality to be the greater reality over fleshly temporal thoughts and feelings and circumstances, that is when we can see that more in a practical way in our lives.

Looking to the past and just looking at things in a temporal and feeling sense ("this person hurt me and it made me feel [blank]" etc) can be a neverending cycle because it's putting the focus on those thoughts and feelings and events instead of the true reality of my nature that right now in Jesus I am complete and dwell in fullness of love without fear and have God's divine nature which is full of health and wholeness dwelling in me and I have no lack and have all things because I'm in Jesus and He's in me and Jesus is all in all.

Do you see the difference? Where is the focus? What is your reality?

This is how the Apostle Paul could say: "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV).

So Paul is saying he's moving on from his past and moving towards his future where the prize is the upward call of God - moving forward and upward. That's a notable goal and his focus in this verse is on his future and what he has in Jesus. But just a few verses later in Phillipians 3:20 Paul says that "our citizenship IS in Heaven" (emphasis mine) and that we live here in time "from it" - from our place of citizenship in Heaven. In other words, the means for Paul to press on toward the goal is intertwined with the reality of who he is right now in the heavenlies seated at the right hand with Jesus.

It's living in this "Eternal Now" state where all our past hurts and disappointments, our perceived inadequacies, and even our hopes and plans and dreams for the future bow to the reality that right now I am in Christ and He is in me and that in Him, I can do all things. This is to be our place of rest. The rest that Hebrews talks about that we labor to enter into (Hebrews 4). The rest where we are living FROM the eternal and what we already have in Jesus, rather than living merely according to our senses and then trying to GET or BE. It's a shift of focus to who we already have been created to be and who we already in actuality are in Jesus.

It's where we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and who we are in Him as we live in this "Eternal Now" - where the eternal abundant life of Jesus is ours now and not something we are working to obtain. It's the Eternal Now. It's the Eternal. Now.

We are not to live in the past, nor are we to live in the future, and we aren't even to live for the present just in a natural sense. We are to live life here from outside time in the eternal state where all things are ours in Jesus and there are no limitations in Him. It's taking all that is ours in Jesus in this place of completeness and fullness of authority and power and drawing that into time in our body and soulish realm.

The natural question arises then, "Well how do we do that?" Again, it first starts with the understanding and acknowledgement of who you really are and what you really have in Jesus. Much of the church world has missed this first step. We're still talking and singing songs in a mode of "we don't have" and we're begging God to get or just hobbling along til we "get to Heaven where all will be righted", instead of acknowledging what we already have and the reality that we ALREADY RIGHT NOW are IN Heaven! Heaven isn't a future thing - Heaven is now. We're constantly begging for Heaven to come down or get healed or get God to move instead of aligning ourselves with the reality of who we are and what we have and drawing that into time. Heaven already came down. His name was Jesus. Through His death and resurrection and our faith in Him and God's great grace and love, we were united together with Him and we are in His presence now as believers in Jesus. Everywhere you go as a believer in Jesus, there goes God's presence; there goes the Kingdom of God...that same Kingdom of God that heals the sick and raises the dead that the disciples Jesus sent out had access to. Whether you feel that presence or not isn't the issue. If you don't feel it, the assumption should not be that God's not there and we need to beg for His presence / Heaven to come down. Rather, the assumption should be that you need to align yourself again with the true reality of who you are and what's yours through faith and that you are in Him and He is in you and you carry His presence. Feelings are not the dictator of truth, but when we are operating in faith and living in the reality of the Eternal Now, they usually follow.

Of course I do understand that there will come a time where one day we will shed this mortal / "in time" part of us and live solely in the immortal and where our faith will be fully realized in its fullness. But that doesn't change the reality of who you are and what you possess right now.

Again, I do understand that though the things I have shared are true in our spirit, they might not be being reflected very well in our body and soul in a feeling or natural sense. But that doesn't mean they are any less true. And acknowledging that is Step 1, which is really the core of this teaching. The other steps, some of which I've touched on a bit, really require other teachings. :)

But just as a basic preview, one key truth that I've already aluded to is that the method by which we draw what is true in our spirit into our body and soul is faith. Faith in this context has gotten a bad rap, but it absolutely is the conduit by which what is true in our spirit and the reality of who we are in Jesus flows to affect the rest of us. It's a place of lining ourselves up with who we are and what we already have instead of trying to GET God to move or do some thing we need or get His presence etc. Again, this requires a whole lot more teaching, much of which is covered in my book "Where's the Abundant Life?".

But I would like to close THIS teaching with a practical faith application step in helping you to see and perceive yourself in this Eternal Now state.

I'm going to ask you wherever you are right now reading this, if you are able, in a moment I want you to close your eyes. I want you to think of yourself here in time and the things of your past that have hindered you or the things off in the future you think you need. You know the situation for you. You know the things, the people that have hurt you. You know the woundings and the traumas that have stunted you. You know the things you think you need to live as you think you are to live that you think you lack. With your eyes closed, I want you to see those things.

Then with your eyes still closed, I want you to ask the Holy Spirit to show you the reality of The Eternal Now where you are seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus and are complete in Jesus, partaking of God's divine nature. Pause for a moment and see through the eyes of your spirit the reality of your union with Christ. You in Him. Him in you.

Then, I want you to verbally say outloud, "I am complete in Christ." Put your name in there. Say, "I, [name] am complete right now in Christ. There is nothing I need. The past hurts and woundings have no power over me because I am healed and whole in Jesus right now. I dwell in Jesus and His love. I have all that I need."

What you are doing there is speaking by faith the reality of who you are and declaring that reality the greater reality in your life by faith.

See yourself living in this Eternal Now state where Christ is all and in all and you have all you need in Him. Spend some time just meditating on these truths with the Lord and the depth of His love for you and who you are. You are not your past. You are not your future things to do. You are right now complete in Jesus.

When ready, you can open your eyes (figured I'd better tell you that, or you might never open them LOL).

The more that you perceive the reality of the eternal Kingdom of God that you already dwell in, the more that Kingdom will become a practical reality in your life, and the more that the presence of God becomes less something you feel only occasionally or at church, but more of something you perceive and live in and live from on a continual basis. It's a process, but it's something I believe we are called to - to align ourselves in time with the truth of who we really are and what we have.

The Eternal Now.

This article is Copyright by Christopher Long 2022. All rights reserved. You may quote/reprint this article for any non-commercial purpose without obtaining permission as long as you use the entire text and that all text, including this and all following notices, is not modified or removed in any fashion. For any other usage, you must obtain written permission from the author.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

This is version 1.2 of this document (May 2, 2022).
Previous versions: 1.1 (February 28, 2022), 1.0 (February 24, 2022)
This document is provided as a ministry outreach of BodEquip Ministries.

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