If you have been following the Lord Jesus, having trusted Him as your Saviour and Lord, then heaven is prepared for you. Jesus said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26). Later He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
The day before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). How remarkable is it that Jesus’ greatest desire concerning His people is that they will share His celestial glory for all eternity! He eagerly awaits our arrival in heaven to welcome us to heaven’s pure and perfect joys.
However, Christians of our times, generally, seem to have lost the excitement about the glory of heaven. Their hearts relentlessly pursue earthly affluence, success, pleasures, and prosperity. Their lives are so dedicated to their academic excellence, career goals, business success, vacation plans, etc. that the notion of “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come” (1 Tim 6:19) is viewed as an unwanted distraction. To them, the appeals from Scripture that they ought to prepare themselves to eventually leave this earth by laying up treasures in heaven, are unwelcome intrusions into their busy lives. They disdain and set aside the biblical counsels to live every day with heaven in view. They think that living for heaven while on earth is an enormous waste of their time and energy. When such Christians lose their focus on heaven, they become self-indulgent and self-centred, materialistic and worldly, spiritually weak and lethargic.
All genuine Christians must remind themselves that they are “strangers and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:11; cf. Heb. 11:13), and that their citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). This world is not the Christians’ real home. Like the ancient heroes of faith, we too must confess that “here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). Godly men in the Bible longed for heaven, and expressed their earnest expectation of the coming glory with the LORD in heaven:
- “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).
- “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:9, 11).
- “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24).
- “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).
- “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
- “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-
Like those saints who declared their enthusiasm and hope of heaven, we too should sing and declare our longing for heaven, and live with great anticipation for heaven’s glory. Let us rejoice that we are called to be heirs of the eternal celestial glory. As Jesus told the disciples, let us “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20; cf. Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). As noted earlier, their citizenship is there (Phil. 3:20). We are promised “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4). Our eternal reward is there. In Luke 6:23, Jesus said, “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven”. Our greatest impetus to be in heaven is the rich fellowship that we will have with our wonderful Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the glory of heaven.
If the church loses its heavenly-mindedness, it will become a worldly, carnal, and spiritually lethargic church. Such a worldly-minded church will be disobedient to the Lord and be ungodly in its pursuits. So brethren, let us take heed to the Lord’s command to all His followers, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). “If ye then be risen with Christ,” Paul wrote, “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).