The older I get and the longer I walk with God, the more I long for Heaven. I am not anxious to leave on the next load, because I still have some living to do. But there is something about being a “pilgrim and stranger” to this world that causes me to sense a gravitational pull toward my real home, Heaven.

When you add the volatile world situation, the declining political climate or the possibility of being the one out of three who will get some form of cancer, it makes Heaven look pretty good. But there is a greater reason for that pull and longing toward Heaven.

For the committed follower of Jesus there is a growing confidence and inner assurance that God has prepared a place for us that is our real home (John 14:1-6). This is more than just a group affinity thing, it is a natural spiritual longing because of who we are in Christ. The Scripture even says that “we are seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). We are already there positionally so it’s natural that we would have this physical pull toward home.

I believe the Apostle Paul perfectly describes this bent toward heaven.

1For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. 4While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. (2 Corinthians 4:1-9 )

Bottom Line

Hope is probably one of the greatest attributes that a person can possess. Hope gets us up in the morning. Hope helps us look forward to another day and gives us something to live for. However, there are many things in this life to destroy one’s hope. That’s because hope in this world is limited and temporary at best. But for a believer our hope is based on an absolute. It is based on the authority and power of a risen Christ and His promise of a new life. Our hope is vested in another world that is perfect and is way beyond our deepest dream. So look up fellow believer, and put your hope in your eternal birthright as a child of the living God, because Heaven is your home.

For God has prepared, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Preparing for the Pass-Through

After the disciples left their professions and began following Jesus, they were convinced that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that He had come to deliver them from Roman tyranny. They believed that Jesus had come to setup his kingdom on earth. The more miracles He did the more they were convinced that Jesus was God and that the new kingdom on earth would soon be a reality.

But the disciples missed the point of why Jesus came to earth. He came to die that they might be delivered from the power and the penalty of sin. “For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own son…as an offering for sin.” (Romans 8:3).

to accomplish God’s purpose of redemption. Jesus had to go to the cross. So near the time of his crucifixion Jesus sat down with the disciples and had a very frank and direct conversation. We read about this event in John 12-14.
It was the last Passover in the upper room. Jesus was once again foretelling his death. Just before He washed the disciples feet they were arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom (Luke 22:24). They were self-focused, discouraged and confused. Then Jesus said to them;

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to Him, “Lord we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said, “ I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:1-6)

In this one statement Jesus revealed three eternal truths to the disciples that day.

1. I must go so I can pay your sin debt.
2. I am going to prepare a place for you because this is not your home. You are a pilgrim and a stranger just passing through this world temporarily.
3. In order to pass through this world you must first pass through me.

Notice the emphasis to “passing through” in the above statements. As a committed follower of Jesus, our whole life is about passing through. We first pass through Jesus for our salvation. We then take the position of passing through this life because we recognize that we are “other worldly”. This world is not our home because we are now strangers and pilgrims.

I recently read a summary of the book by Ron Pettey entitled “Heaven is Real”. It is the story about Ron dying on the operating table during brain surgery, and his visit to heaven and back. I don’t normally read books like this but I was intrigued by his story and it seemed believable to me.

In his visit to Heaven the angel refused his full entry because it wasn’t his time to die, he had to go back into his body and finish his time on earth. Before he left heaven he encountered several events including seeing the Lord Jesus. Here is his account of Jesus welcoming the saints into heaven.

“As the young man came near Jesus, the lad glanced at me and smiled. Then he disappeared, engulfed in the flowing sleeve of Jesus’ glowing garment. Suddenly, I realized the boy had literally passed through Jesus into Heaven.
The truth of John 14:6 suddenly became clear. “No one comes to the Father but through me.” Could it be that the scriptural reference to Jesus being the door and the gate into Heaven were not figurative as I had thought? My mind could scarcely contain what I had witnessed.” (Heaven is Real, http://www.rgministries.org)

Life is not about accumulating stuff, it’s about living our life surrendered to the one who is preparing a place for us. Heaven is the superior of everything good. It’s where we are meant to live, and experience all the best that Jesus has prepared for us.

As you reflect on the meaning of Christmas this year, remember that Christmas is not only about the birth of the Christ child, but it is also about celebrating the indwelling Christ, the One who we will ultimately pass through, and dwell with forever.

” To be “in the will of God” is not a matter of intellectual discernment, but a state of heart… It’s motto is –” My Father can do what he likes with me, He may bless me to death, or give me a bitter cup; I delight to do His will.”
– Oswald Chambers