Middle School was a difficult period for me.

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?

Photo by Michael Krahn on Unsplash