As I was lying in bed a few nights ago, I nonchalantly began talking to the Lord. Nothing of any great significance, just a chat session filled with half-hearted words as if I were talking to any ordinary person, definitely not with the reverence or awe that was due the Holy of Holies. I am sure as God listened, He didn’t frown because He is full of patience and grace but I seriously doubt that He was very pleased with my feeble attempt of seeking to enter His holy presence. To be honest, it didn’t occur to me that I was approaching God in an unholy manner until the thought of Heaven suddenly came to my mind. As I lay there I had this overwhelming realization that someday, I will live in Heaven. It wasn’t just a fleeting thought, it wasn’t just a Sunday school version of the stories we’ve all heard, it was not the story book images of pearly gates and streets of gold with an old man in a white beard holding the book of life, it was a true realization that someday, I will live in Heaven - for eternity. Wow. Now, this was not a vision, it was not a wild dream, it was just a truth that came to life in my mind and took root- Heaven is real. It is a real place where someday I will live. The reality that this life is only a temporal dwelling and is quickly passing away with a final and eternal destination invaded my mind and spirit. As a Christian, these have always been truths I’ve claimed but not in a way that has struck me in such a real way. Any bible believing, church attending Christian has heard about Heaven and knows it is the eternal reward for all who have received Christ as their savior but I don’t think we, as Christians, fully grasp the idea that someday we truly WILL live there for eternity. In our humanness it is impossible to fully grasp the magnitude of it but do we ever stop and try to imagine even for a second the reality of it? I don’t think so. We don’t live like we are going to Heaven. If we did, there would be joy, there would be humility there would be reverence and awe and there would be an outpouring of gratitude to the Lord- an offering of surrendered lives for His glory.
As my mind continued to wander in a frenzy of thoughts a sense of fear came upon me. It was not a fear of dying or where I would spend eternity, it was a fear of leaving this life, the familiar land in which I’ve lived, the only life I’ve known. As these thoughts began to intermingle with my thoughts of eternity, I was reminded of the story of Moses and Joshua in the Old Testament. Moses never had the opportunity to enter the Promised Land, but he lived his life in pursuit of it and led the way for others to find it. Joshua, his predecessor, continued the task of leading the people to the Promised Land with courage and trust. He believed God in that what he was in search for would be found. There was a certainty in his heart that what was unfamiliar would be his destination and with passion he would pursue it with all his heart until he reached it – even though it was something new and unfamiliar. He lived his life with the purpose of what was promised and he led the way for others to find it also. He obeyed God’s call on his life with courage, faith and obedience with only the hope that what he had been taught about throughout his life was true. I thought about the Israelites along the journey. First they followed Moses and then Joshua. What were their thoughts? Did they fully realize what the Promised Land would offer? Did they live their dailiness like they were going to receive a promised land from the very hand of God? Could they even comprehend it? Not fully, because the Bible tells us that they grumbled and complained and even asked to go back to their land of familiar.
We are no different as Christians. We walk through our dailiness and stay in this land of familiar and don’t live our lives with passion and purpose in pursuit of our promised future. For the most part, eternity is not a reality in our daily lives. We put on the face of Christianity and polish it up on Sunday, but we must ask ourselves are we living like we are going to Heaven? Are we diligently walking the path, following the Lord and leading others to follow him or are we content in this land of familiar; decorating it, making it more comfortable, pursuing ways to make it the best land possible to the point that we are satisfied staying right here, forever. We are passionate about things of this world. We will go the distance to pursue worldly gain without hesitating to sacrifice our time and money for such things as sporting events, luxury vacations, fancy cars and houses. We instill in our children to reach for the stars but so often fall short in teaching them to seek the creator of the stars. We are content to have knowledge about godly things, taking part in church activities, even serving in ministry positions, but, is it our heartbeat? Is it our passion? Is it done with Heaven as our motivation, or is it done with a take it or leave it attitude, especially if something more exciting fits into the schedule? In Isaiah chapter 5, Isaiah addressed the people on the issue of sin in their lives. He began each rebuke with “woe to you…” and emphatically went through the list of sins that had been committed. But it was when he saw a vision of the Lord that he became broken for his own sin and he said the words, “Woe to me.” In Isaiah 6:5 with brokenness he confessed “I am ruined….:” With humility and honesty his broken heart was healed as the power of the Lord came upon him. At that point he was never the same. May we be so bold as to peel back the layers of self, turning our eyes inward and allow ourselves to come face to face with the grossness of sin that has stripped our power and has left us going through the motions of this “religious” display of christianity. May we dare to say with brokenness and humility, “Woe to me…..”
Life on this side of Heaven is temporal. It is quickly passing by and whether we have claimed the reality of it or not, someday we will leave this land of familiar and will walk forever in our eternal destination. May we strip away these earthly ties and live like there is more - like there is a land worth pursuing, a land purchased and bought by a Savior who gave His own life that we may claim our inheritance and live with Him in eternity.
How are you living? For the here and now? For all this life can offer? Or do you live with Heaven as your promised destination -daily walking toward that goal, following God, and being the leader He’s called you to be in the lives of others? May we begin today setting our hearts, minds and souls toward eternity and live our lives like Heaven is our promise.
Jeremiah 2:11 But my people have traded my Glory for empty god-dreams and god-schemes. (Message)
Isaiah 40: 3-5 “Prepare for God’s arrival!” Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God. Fill the valleys level off the hills, smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks. The God’s bright glory will shine and everyone will see it. (Message)
Isaiah 65:1-… “I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask. I’m here; ready to be found by those who haven’t bothered to look. I keep saying “I'm here, I’m right here. To a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their back on me people who make wrong turns who insist on doing things their own way.” (Message)
Read more articles by Lori Rigdon or search for articles on the same topic or others.