What Do You Want?
Do you know what you really want? I am sure there are many things that you would like to buy and have and do and accomplish, many places you would like to visit and see, and many people you would like to meet and know. But are these things that you really want? What if they were but "superficial" manifestations of a deeper longing?
C.S. Lewis, who was a medieval literature professor at the Oxford and Cambridge University and described himself as “the most reluctant convert”, said, "There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else...” (The Problem of Pain).
Please don’t reject the idea of heaven so quickly as a mere figment of man’s imagination. It may very well be. But how do you know that heaven doesn’t exist? How certain are you? Certain enough to stake your life, possibly for all eternity? If so, on what basis? There is no way we can know for sure whether heaven exists or not. Some believe in heaven and others don’t believe in heaven. Either heaven exists or doesn’t. Either it is something we made up because we want something better than this life or our heart is drawn to it like the compass needle is to the magnetic north. C.S. Lewis goes on to say, “[Our desire for heaven] is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.... All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness" (The Problem of Pain). It may well be that that which gives you delight and joy is a shadow of heaven, pointing you to heaven itself, the essence of purest joy and delight.
If you believe in heaven, or “a much better place”, how do you think you can make it there? We instinctively know that not everyone is fit for heaven. We associate heaven with "good" people, not with "bad" people. But how "good" do we have to be? And how do we become good enough?
The obvious answer seems to be to try our best to do good things, treat others kindly, and hope that what we do is good enough. But can any of us say we’ve done our best in loving others, even those that are closest to us? And what does it mean to be good? What if we must be good not only in our outward actions but also in our words and thoughts? What is the standard we must meet? How pure do our motives have to be? And who gets to decide whether we are good enough? Many people believe that, as long as their good works outweigh their bad deeds, they can make it to heaven—the “51 percenters”. But that’s hardly a passing grade even for an academic class!
The Bible declares, "There is none righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10). Do you think that is too harsh? Then, why is it that bad habits are so easy to acquire when building a good habit feels like fighting an uphill battle? Doesn’t that show that our hearts are inclined toward evil, not toward good?
There’s another way to enter heaven, which God provided for us because we failed to qualify for heaven with our own efforts. He did not just condemn us for all our failures; He provided a Redeemer! Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners like you and me. How? By taking upon Himself the punishment of our sins so that we might be spared from the punishment of the law. He also saved us by doing the good (obeying God’s law perfectly), which we have all failed to do.
Certain things are priceless—love, friendship, joy, and the air we breathe, for example. Such things cannot be bought with money; they are gifts that are freely given. Heaven, too, is much too precious for us to buy or earn somehow: it must be freely given as a gift at God’s expense. All that God requires of us is that we acknowledge our inability and unworthiness to enter heaven on our own merit and place our trust in Jesus Christ. By His sacrifice, He paid the price for our forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. If your possessions and achievements lead to disappointment, it is because your longing is too noble and great to be satisfied by them. When you accept Christ as your Savior, you will experience your deepest longings satisfied in His love for you. Place your trust in Jesus Christ and God's free gift of heaven and eternal life can be yours even today!