One of the most successful and unchallenged efforts of the arch deceiver is to make our heavenly home appear dry and boring, even though the Bible gives plenty of evidence to the contrary.

One thing the Bible assures us is that a perfect (sinless) environment does not mean the absence of friction, that there will always be differences of opinion and the need to exercise longsuffering, patience, and self-control.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

Love, joy, peace are easy to accept as virtues in the New Earth, but longsuffering and patience? What are those needed for?

God does not use cookie cutters when He makes things. Everything is different, unique, though often sharing many similar qualities (like particular cells of our body that are grouped together to make tissues and organs). But, as the Bible says, an eye does not do what an ear does, yet we need them both. And it is this difference that makes life interesting and fulfilling. God has given us gifts that He hasn’t given to another, and vice versa. So this draws us all together to work as a family or unit.

But what comes with these is DIFFERENCES. Yes, even in a perfect environment there will always be differences of personalities, thinking, approaches, speed of accomplishment. Consider this last characteristic for a moment. There will be those who are methodical and intricate in everything they do. This requires carefulness, and carefulness requires slowness of movement.

God gives a small group of us a project, but this project requires extreme carefulness. We might have a type A personality in the group, like Peter, an energy-driven person who wants everything done NOW. Someone else has creative talent that just leaves us dumbfounded, but our little team realized that none had the skills that Jane has, and the project really required someone with attention to detail. So we approach Jane and ask her to join us. When she does we all know we will be needing to give her the space she needs to accomplish her part. This will require forbearance and patience, just as it did for Moses leading God’s people out of Egypt. The exodus included children, the aged, and the domestic animals–all slow.

Yes, forbearance and patience will be a real and active part of the heavenly life.

Even in heaven we will still be able to make mistakes in judgment. Eve did when she was sinless. Unfallen angels did when Satan (Lucifer) campaigned against the government of God and took 1/3 of them with him. But mistakes do not always end up as sin. In Revelation where Jesus commissioned four angels with power to hurt the earth and sea and trees, there was another angel who was told to hold them off (as they began letting them go), until the sealing of God’s people was complete (Rev 7:1-3).

 “… the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father, and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels, and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.” {CET 102.2}

I began to see that forbearance, patience, gentleness, and brotherlikindness are as essential for getting along with perfect beings as they are for getting along with imperfect ones.

But temperance? In heaven?

After graduating from college my wife and I decided to attend a little medical missionary training institute for a few months to hone up our spiritual edges before jumping headlong into the world of business and schedules and temptations. The school was awesome. Well, to be more accurate, I should say the people at the school were awesome. Everyone who was there, whether student or faculty wanted to be there and also wanted to please the Lord in all they did. This caught me off guard. It seemed like a taste of heaven. And exactly here is where 2Peter 1:6 should have come in. When anyone asked a favor of me (to do something good for the school or others) I would say, “Sure. Be glad to!” I couldn’t imagine turning anything down that seemed to have such a good purpose and would have heaven’s blessings, and it felt so good to be part of this Christian family. But soon I found myself overextended. I had committed myself way beyond my ability to perform! Eventually I had to apologize to some that I couldn’t really help them because I was already committed to others. I was learning the importance of adding temperance to knowledge.

I see heaven as being no different. We won’t be able to read each others mind, so we (or they) will often ask favors, to get a commitment for help when the other already has a full plate for that time. Temperance, respect, patience will all have their place.

But would we really want it any other way? Isn’t variety more interesting than monotony? With every condition there are its limits and responsibilities. This is what makes life interesting… and unpredictable.

Heaven will be a wonderful place (for those who have learned to appreciate and practice its principles here on this earth).