For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better… Phil. 1:23
When He was here on earth, Jesus always had an urgency about Him – the urgency to go back to His Father in heaven. In the above scripture, we see the same attitude with the Apostle Paul. Paul’s singular desire was to “depart” from this world. But Paul had a reason for wanting to depart. He says he wanted to “depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better…”
It was incredible, the love that Paul had for Jesus. It is unmatched. People are always talking about, oh! how they desire to go to heaven so they can walk the streets of gold, etc. I am sure there are a few believers who think that heaven is a lot like Disneyland!
But heaven is all about Jesus. Heaven is about knowing Christ. It is loving Jesus and His ways – His all too often difficult ways. The Bible says we have to suffer with Christ in order to be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17).
There are many things that will hold us onto this world if we do not see in the Spirit. We shall be bound by the system of this temporal world and we shall miss out in the issues that truly matter.
In Ephesians 1:15-23 the Apostle Paul prays that we be empowered to see these things.
Beloved, it is not time to be drawn by what the world can flash at us. There are people who would want to mix the gospel of Jesus Christ with the materialism in their own hearts. These are the so-called prosperity preachers. But it is not time to allow materialism to blind us to the beauty of heaven.
Materialism is a big enemy to the church. There are many believers whose ‘destiny’ is to become rich materially. But it is clear from the scriptures that even our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was not rich in earthly material things. One day someone came running up to Jesus and declared he would follow Him wherever He went. Jesus warned him,
“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Lk. 9:57).
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not even have a place to lay His head!
On another day the tax men came to demand Caesar’s half-shekel from Him but our Lord did not have a penny on Him! Simon had to go fish for the money to pay the tax (Mat. 17:27).
Jesus could have become the richest man on this world if He had wanted to. But His eyes were set on the heavenly Kingdom, and He showed a holy disdain to the things that this evil world has to offer.
I am not preaching that men should be poor. But true believers are certainly not in a race for any material ‘destiny’.
Jesus could see something in the Spirit. Do you see anything? Do you see what Jesus saw?
Even more importantly, where is your heart set? Do you have an inordinate love for this world? Believers today have an easy lust for the world, and they compromise. They compromise their love for Christ. That makes them not ready for the heavenly Kingdom. There are many who would rather not “depart”; they would love to enjoy the pleasures of this world for a little longer.
But we should be so ready for heaven that if we were to die at any moment, we would do so with joy knowing we were going to the most beautiful place in the spiritual realm – heaven, and to be with Christ.
Is it time to harbor all those ill feelings that we have against a brother or sister who has wronged us? The answer is no. On the contrary, it is time to watch over hearts. We should strive to keep our hearts pure however contrary the circumstances. We should love back and pray for those who persecute us (Mat. 5:44).
That is what heaven is all about. That is what Christ is all about. Just in case you are in a hurry to get to heaven, first consider your heart and your life. Make sure you are living a holy, sanctified life and that you are walking in love towards your fellow men. That is what heaven is all about!
[Children. The Kingdom of God is for such as these]