Heaven…our heart’s deepest longing and desire…or at least it should be. It’s hard to imagine what to really expect. We all have our own ideas and hopes about what it will be like. But the bottom line is the same for all of us: heaven will be a place of unending happiness and bliss.
Scripture gives us this hope: no more weeping or mourning and every tear will be wiped away. So how are we to know for sure and how do we know the way to get there?
It occurs to me that the best way to get to heaven is to live like we’re already there. Of course, we don’t know exactly what to expect, but we do have enough clues to get us started. Here are a few ideas:
1. Live in the Light – Our sins we hide in darkness but in heaven there will be no more sin and all our deeds and thoughts will be in the light for all to see. Now I’m not suggesting you give up modesty in this world but you should be living a transparent existence – unafraid for your deeds and acts to be exposed. (In other words, no private servers.) Do good and there will be nothing to be ashamed of if a bright light is shined in your direction.
2. Live in Truth – Honesty is always the best policy, even on this side of heaven. But living in truth is more than that. In heaven you will be fully who God created you to be. Be who you are now without pretending to be someone you think the world or others would prefer. God gave you unique gifts and talents – live them and be authentic. Be you!
3. Be Positive – There are no sour pusses in heaven. In heaven we’ll see God face to face and understand how He worked all things, even our sins, our tragedies and disappointments for our ultimate good. Strive to see things from that perspective now. Trust Him and His plan for you and stop railing against His will.
4. See the Good in Others and in Yourself – It’s so easy to see the plank in your brother’s eye and your sister’s shortcomings. It’s not always as easy to see our own…and yet for some that’s all they see, their faults and shortcomings. In heaven we’ll all be perfected but we’ll also continue to be who we are. See the good, the gifts and talents, the sweetness and humor in your family and those around you. Remember the flaws and faults are the result of original sin and hurts they’ve endured…and not the real person. See who they can become with God’s grace and help love them into the person they’re destined to be. The same goes for you. You’ll probably never be perfect here but it doesn’t stop God from loving you so follow His lead. He has a plan to make you into the best version of yourself for all eternity… and this momentary weakness is part of that plan for your perfection.
5. Speak Only Well of Others – Heaven will be filled with repentant sinners…you and I included. There will be murderers, adulterers, embezzlers, and the like. But in heaven it will never be discussed. There will be no back biting or gossip or innuendo…even if it’s true. So instead of whispering and wondering aloud about another’s sins and shortcomings, keep it quiet, and speak only well of them. If you have nothing good to say, say nothing, or change the subject.
6. Immerse Yourself in Beauty – There will be nothing ugly in heaven. Everything there will reflect God and His Infinite Glory. Take at least a few moments every day to disconnect from your electronics and stop rushing through the day and take note of the beauty that exists all around you right now: in a flower, a beach, the mountains, great architecture, a beautifully decorated room, a great outfit, an adorable pet, or a giggling child. Remember in heaven we will enjoy the “beatific vision” of God and all of His creation. We’ll have eternity to explore and contemplate it. Why not get a head start now? Heaven begins here.
7. Be Receptive – This world seems to reward us for our work and stresses effectivity – doing, doing, doing. But in heaven you won’t be running your own department. Instead you’ll be constantly receiving God’s love and grace. Be more receptive and affective now…feel God’s love and give thanks for all of His gifts, both big and small. Yes, God loves a cheerful giver but He loves when we are cheerful receivers as well. All good gifts come from Him…open your heart to receive every one of them.
8. Stay Connected to God – It’s silly to think of heaven without realizing how deeply connected we will be to our Creator. We will be inseparable. He will pervade our every thought and feeling in a constant communion of love. Instead of relegating Him to Sundays or to times of need invite Him into every aspect of your life right now. He’s always close beside you. Keep a perpetual conversation going with Him…share your hurts, your desires, your dreams, your questions, your joys, your sorrows, and even your sense of humor. See His hand in all things He permits to happen in your life. He is closer to you that you can even imagine.
Naturally, we still live in a fallen world so we may not be able to experience heaven on earth, but by living in a more heavenly way we can certainly get much closer…and lead others there as well. May His Kingdom come … on earth, as it is in heaven!
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