Many things I’d never faced cropped up. Peer pressure grew intense. Pressures to cheat, curse, lie, and jump over other firmly ingrained moral codes pulled at me. Most troubling was my sudden fear of death. I had trusted Christ as my Savior several years earlier, yet this haunting horror seemed to hover over me daily. My only consolation was knowing I’d be safe in heaven if I died. I had made the necessary arrangements.
Rather than a wide-open road to heaven, Jesus said the path was narrow. Comparatively, few would discover it. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:14 NLT).
If only we could get to heaven by loving the unlovable, following a lifetime pattern of good works, abiding by moral principles, serving our neighbors through community and political offices, regularly attending church, or frequently giving to the church. While it might be nice if we could reach God by any route we wanted, there would be serious ramifications. All the above are admirable, but none in and of themselves have the power to connect us to God.
Jesus said the gate that leads to heaven’s joy is narrow, and the road is difficult. He himself is both. According to his own testimony, he is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him.
Whether we go to heaven when we die is gauged by how we respond to Christ. If we acknowledge him as God’s Son, believe he paid for our sins on Calvary’s cross, accept that God raised him from the dead after three days, and commit ourselves to love and serve him, then we can rest assured heaven is in our future.
Making the decision to follow Christ gives joy and peace in the present. Otherwise, we must live in a state of anxiety and fear. If you died today, would you go to heaven?
Martin Wiles is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing, and Assistant Editor for Vinewords.net. He has also served as Web Content Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina. Wiles has authored Don’t Just Live…Really Live (Ambassador International), A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World (Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots (Vine-Word Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Parenting Teens, Open Windows, Proclaim, Stand Firm, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, The Upper Room, The Upper Room Disciplines, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Converge, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, The Banner, Relevant, Bible Advocate, Reasons to Live, Author Magazine, and Lutheran Digest. Wiles has also written for the Bridges and Pathways Curriculum (Warner Press) and is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, Inkspirations, and VineWords and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles has also served on faculty for the Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference. crat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions , the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and as a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. You can follow him @linesfromgod.