What is Heaven? To many, it’s where you go after your life on earth. To others, it’s simply up. To many it is a wonderful place with no pain or sorrow. And still, some would call it a Sunday school class that goes on forever. No matter how you define heaven, it seems like everyone wants to go there (well, compared to the other place at least). But we still don’t want to die.
I haven’t lived a whole life. I want to get married. Finish college, start a family, have grandkids, make money, etc…
All excuses we tell ourselves. I know that at the end on the day—and the beginning and middle for that matter—I want to be alive. But if I think heaven is so wonderful, why am I so afraid to die?
If you look at Peter Pan, he seems to address death differently. “To die would be a great adventure,” he says. Or if Pan isn’t your favorite fantasy figure, try another. In Harry Potter Dumbledore says, “To the well-organized mind, death is but the great adventure.” And we can’t forget The Lord of the Rings when Gandalf tells Pippin that, “Death is just another path.”
So what are we so afraid of? What are we missing that these authors are telling us?
Well, what is heaven? Is it all the things listed above? Sadly, that’s how many of us view heaven (admittedly or not).
The Apostle Paul seems to hold a similar view of death. He says that, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, TNIV).
It’s hard for me to believe someone would say that because it seems so hard to believe (at least in my life). But Christ was the source for Paul. He found his meaning for living (in prison and in persecution) in Christ.
Where are we trapped? What is our prison? Paul was literally locked up, and through the difficulty, found freedom in Christ. What sin is imprisoning us and making freedom seem so far away?
How are we persecuted? What brings us down? Is it the words of “Christians” on television and in the news? Do our co-workers laugh at our religious integrity? Or do we persecute ourselves for “not getting it.” It’s hard to focus on God when we have so many outside distractions. Like Paul, our challenge is to focus on the inward love of Christ to rid us of the distractions.
Through out the good and the bad, Paul aligned his life in Christ.
Maybe when we align our lives in Christ, other things do not seem to matter that much anymore. We are not worthless, we see over and over again that we are valuable or precious, but at the same time, we are not worthy of the life we have been given. And when we come to the realization that this live is not ours—that we have been bought with a price—then maybe we can actually say this life is for Christ and to die is gain.
By aligning our lives with Christ we start to taste heaven on earth and in turn long for God. Maybe then heaven will seem as wonderful as it truly is, and we can proudly embrace the great adventure ahead of us.