Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Matthew 7:21 -- On Preparing for Heaven

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 7:21

We often, with God, want to believe that he's an old softy.  That no matter what we do, or say, or think, or feel, or promote or believe in, that God will still love us and squeeze us and accept us back into his arms.  He's a God of love, right?  ... And he is a God of love, and part of this is right.  He still loves us, and he always wants us to come back.  But if we don't do the things that keep us on the path back to him, we will never get there.  It's like walking halfway to Hell, and thinking that if we just believe hard enough, Hell will turn into Heaven when we get there.  And given, God probably could teleport us out of there and into Heaven... but if Hell is what we have learned all our lives and what we've prepared ourselves for, we definitely won't be ready for a better place.
I was driving to pick up my sister once, a multi-state trip, and the car broke down.  I didn't know what to do, and so I called my mom.  She took time off work, she drove out, and she got me back on track.  She saved me.  And God does the same thing for us when we break down along the path to heaven.  He comes, and helps, and gets us back on the path.  ... But think about what my mom would have done if I had called from jail instead... or halfway across the country in the other direction, away from my sister.  Or called and said well, I sold the car for cash and then spent it all, and now I need someone to pick me up.  She may have helped me in all of those situations, yes, but there would have been consequences, not the least being an effect on our relationship.  God is not a senile old man that we can treat like dirt.  If we misuse his gifts and drive in the other direction when he has asked us to do something, it will affect our relationship.  ... My mom still would have loved me if I screwed up, but she couldn't have picked me up and carried me, and placed me in a better life.  And God won't do that either, because we wouldn't be ready for it.  If he took our drug-addled body off the floor of the crack house and placed it in a perfect home life... we'd just screw it up.  We wouldn't be prepared, or able to behave appropriately.  We'd throw away what he gave us, almost certainly in less than an hour of being awake.  If he pulled us directly out of jail and placed us in church, we'd hopefully be treated well, but it is unlikely that we would feel comfortable or get anything out of it if we weren't prepared.  And it is exactly the same as if he pulled us out of Hell and set us loose in Heaven.  We wouldn't be comfortable, we wouldn't fit in, and we wouldn't be prepared to enjoy what we found there.  Alma 34:32 tells us "this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God" ... a hint that it is going to take some preparation.
When God came to talk to Moses, the people said to Moses "Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die" (Exodus 20:19).  ... Approaching God takes a lot of healthy respect for who he is.  The creator of everything that we know.  The power behind all of it.  He can save us, and he can help prepare us, but we have to walk the path.  We have to be headed in the right direction.  We have to know God, not as a kindly old man, but as our Father, and as a *God.*  He knows everything... every thought, every desire.  And one day, he is going to stand in judgement.  Not vindictively or cruelly, but lovingly and perceptively... he knows what we want, and what we've worked for in our lives.  He knows who we want to be, and who we have become.  He isn't going to send any of us that have worked so hard for Hell to live in a place that we haven't ever desired or worked for the whole time.  He's going to reward us with what we sought.  The only way to get to Heaven is to actually want it, and seek it with all that we are... to work for it.  We need to follow God's instructions to get there.  There aren't shortcuts, and God isn't going to teleport us there.  So, today, if we want heaven, let's start doing God's will, and getting ourselves ready for it.

1 comment:

  1. God loves us so much, how then do we love Him back in return? It is a reoccurring theme throughout the bible. God says, "If you love me, keep my commandments." If we say, "God knows my heart," that is basically saying I'm going to do what I want even if God disapproves. God does know our hearts and He also knows that what he asks of us is not impossible. We keep God's laws not to gain our salvation; we keep God's laws as proof of our salvation. . .


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