OUR HEAVENLY JOURNEY
The writer of the book of Hebrews had spoken about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah. He then said, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” (Hebrews 11:13-14) These servants of God in Old Testament days confessed of themselves that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They were not seeking an earthly country; they were not even seeking that country from which Abraham and Sarah had come out from. “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” (Hebrews 11:15) They were seeking another country, a heavenly country, as their home. “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:16) This world is not the place where they were “at home” neither is it the place that they were traveling toward.
This world brings some happiness, but our desire is for heavenly happiness. We should, above all else, “Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) Our major goal must be to be with God in heaven in eternity. We can possess, enjoy and use the things of this life. “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23) However, as an earthly traveler we do not want to rest in what we meet with on our earthly journey, regardless of how comfortable and pleasing those things may be. We willingly and cheerfully give those things up for heaven. We are not enticed by the temporary things of this life, but our focus is on the eternal. We must entertain no thought of staying on this earth forever, for it will not happen. The things I possess here are not my own; they are only in my hands for a short time. We must desire heaven more than any of these earthly things.
If my desire is heaven I must be traveling the path that leads to that destination. We must rid ourselves of anything that will cause us to miss heaven. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) If there is anything that will keep you from going to heaven in your life get it out. As we take this journey we should live in obedience to God. Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23) We should follow Jesus Christ to heaven. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) The way to heaven is a godly life.
We ought to persevere in our Christian journey as long as we live. Daily Christian growth is necessary if we are to get closer to heaven. We must continue daily in conformity to God and His will and in becoming more like Him. Paul’s goal was to be found in Christ and pressing on in His likeness. This should likewise be our goal. “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:9-14) All other concerns of life ought to be entirely subordinate to our goal of going to heaven. Whatever we do in this life we should ask ourselves if this will help us go to heaven.
Jesus is our wonderful Savior. May all mankind lovingly obey the Lord Jesus. Let everyone say with Job, "For I know that my Redeemer lives..." (Job 19:25) Our spiritual life is through and because of Jesus, the Christ. To be saved from sin hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3-4) After baptism, live in Christ and have Christ in you (Galatians 4:19)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P. O. Box 551,
Greenville, Alabama 36037