Children love stickers. Athletes love medals. Employees love raises and recognition. Reward systems inspire us to strive for greater heights. Similarly, God rewards us when we faithfully seek him. Hebrews 11:6 says:
“Without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.”Hebrews 11:6 TPT
Our loving Father wants us to engage with him, and he knows how to motivate us. Of course, we seek God for the sake of who God is, but the existence of a reward system captures and engages our humanity, compelling us to seek our transcendent God within our transient world. In doing so, we engage with heaven here on earth, and we experience God’s generous rewards.
Imagine when, in a worried and weary Israel, David, the shepherd boy, traveled to see his brothers who were soldiers on the front lines. What he discovered when he arrived were masses of prepared soldiers, older and stronger than he was but still too afraid to fight the Philistine giant Goliath.
Then David overheard the reward for slaying Goliath: tons of riches, the king’s daughter in marriage, and a tax-free status for his father’s household. Well, the reward system clearly motivated David because twice he asked pointedly, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?” (1 Samuel 17:26 NKJV) Because of his faith in God, he slayed the giant, but there were also other tangible incentives.
David’s confidence and courage bring up an important aspect of faith in God: David knew that God was for him, not against him, and that God would reward his faith. Let’s not become so dulled in our religion that we miss the fact that God wants to reward us. For David, his rewards came in both physical riches and spiritual favor. Whatever blessings God chooses to lavish on us, we can be sure that his riches far exceed anything we may have here on earth.
Our obedience and faithfulness are because of the immense love and gratitude we have for God, but rewards are an attribute of the richness of God’s kingdom and his generous nature. We don’t give to get, but when we do give with a pure motive, we will reap God’s rewards because, as a loving Father, God takes great pleasure in blessing us.
An important element to engaging with heaven is learning about the nature of God. How can we adore a God whom we don’t understand? According to Hebrews 11:6, faith is both knowing that God is real and that he rewards. So, take time to recognize and contemplate how God has rewarded your faithfulness in the past. Are you engaged with God? Do you know who he is, what he’s like? It’s not enough to simply admit his existence and pledge your allegiance. He wants a mutually loving relationship with you.
Daily doses of devotion help you remember whom you serve and what he has called you to do. What is your “giant”? What rewards are being offered for your faithfulness? Most importantly, who is your God? The Lord Almighty is eager to involve you in his kingdom work here and now. You aren’t simply passing time until the age to come; your time on earth matters in eternity.
During his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed us to pray that God would cause his “every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 TPT). Are you playing your part to see God’s kingdom come to earth, just as it is in heaven? It means engaging with heaven, which will cost you everything you have. What you are given in exchange, however, doesn’t even compare because God is far more generous than you are faithful. Furthermore, God has given you a plethora of timeless promises to help you find your way through the world’s darkness.
God is a giver, and it was never his intention that we should walk alone. The more we grow aware of the nature of God, the clearer our paths become. His rewards, his promises, and especially his love help spur us on and show us how to stay engaged in the work of his kingdom here on earth. We have been given tasks to do that carry eternal value, and with faithful obedience, they also bear rewards.
Jesus continued his Sermon on the Mount by saying that we ought to “stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you esteem as your treasure” (Matthew 6:20–21 TPT). What is your treasure? What do you value? Do the rewards of God motivate you to do your best and give your all? Realize that you have been given the opportunity to participate in the work of the kingdom of heaven here and now, that God offers rewards to those who faithfully obey him, and that he wants to engage in a loving relationship with you today. His love is what compels you, and his generous rewards and promises keep you marching on.
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Author, church planter, and international speaker James Levesque is the founder and lead pastor of a network of Engaging Heaven churches. He has also written Revival Hunger and Fire and hosts the podcast Engaging Heaven Today along with various TV shows, including Breaking Through with James Levesque and Love Living Life. James and his wife, Debbie, have three beautiful children.