For a few minutes, let’s think about heaven. Think about what it will be like… and what it takes to get there. We like thinking about heaven, but NOT what it takes to get there… dying. But according to Scripture they are tied together for all but just a few believers. Consider what Paul wrote,
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Now meditate on these things (John Piper)…
Does the thought of dying and what we will lose or leave behind (Family… Friends… Possessions… etc) give us more pain than the joy of gaining Christ as a result of dying?
When we realize what wonders… glories… joys… and WHO await us when we die, THEN we will not fear death. THEN death will have lost it’s sting!
When we can say with passion and conviction “To die is gain,” only then it will be true of us that “To live is Christ!”
Consider what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:4-8…
For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Here are Paul’s priorities when it came to living and dying (John Piper)…
First Desire: I want to live until Jesus comes back. I want to be alive when my body changes from mortal into immortal. I want nothing more than to have my new body (Vs 4).
Second Desire: If I can’t live until Jesus comes back, I want to die and be with Jesus as soon as possible within His sovereign will (Vs 8 and Phil 1:21 above).
Last Desire: If the first two can’t happen, then I will live as long as God wills with a lifetime of faithful service to him (Vss 6-7).
That’s what I want my perspective to be. Someone asked a question something like this, “Would heaven still be heaven if it had everything you wanted… family, friends, a new body, food, streets of gold, no pain or tears or sorrow… but GOD was not present… would it STILL be heaven for you?”
Until what makes heaven heaven for us is God’s presence, we’re not ready to die. What makes home what it is for me is not the building, yard, or furniture… no… it is WHO is there: Pam, Amy, Trey, and Britton. My family is what makes home home! When I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and body… THEN I will be ready to die. Then death will be gain, because I will be going home… to my eternal home… where my true family abides!
What better way to end this post than with “I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy” by Michael English.