HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN
After hearing about our heavenly home in the previous chapter, I canít imagine a soul that does not want to go there.† Although, I am sure there are a few beings that truly donít want anything to do with God, or the home He has promised and prepared for them.† If you feel you are one of the absolute lost souls, I would ask that you read Revelations 20, starting at verse 10, and Luke 16, starting at verse 19.† For the rest of us that want to go home to live with our Father in heaven, Iíve laid out a road map of how to get there.
We are about to embark on a long journey, so I would suggest having your vehicleís mechanic to do an in-depth inspection.† As you pull into the ďBorn AgainĒ garage, be sure you follow the recommendation of the chief mechanic, Jesus Christ.† I would request the full makeover. Heck, I would just give him my old vehicle and have him give me one that he himself, has recreated.† Be sure he balances the headlights because your lights need to be focused and directed on the Lord.† It is the law, on the highway to heaven, to drive with your lights on.†† In fact, it is required to flash your lights to warn oncoming traffic of the danger of going the wrong way.
While you wait for your vehicle, I recommend going to the little grocery store called Fruits and Spirits that is across the street.† Pick up some snack food for the drive.† I would recommend a healthy diet; perhaps the fruits of the spirit.† They have lemons of love, and grapes of joy and kindness, the passion fruit of peace and patience, which is right next to the grapefruits of goodness and gentleness. Finally, pick-up several sweet plums of self-control.† I would suggest getting as many of each type that you can, just in case you need to share along the way.
Now that we are prepared to start the trip, letís put the petal to the metal and hit the road.† In order for us to find the highway to heaven we must make the first right turn at the foot of the cross of Christ.† At that cross we must recognize Jesus for who He is, and what He did for us.† Jesus is the Son of God who came down from heaven and died in our place for the sins we so grievously have and will commit.† Jesus the Christ, who is the first-born from the dead and the one who sits at Godís right hand interceding for those whom call Him Lord.††
After negotiating this first turn, which I must admit is difficult for some to make, one is well on their way to entering the highway to heaven.†† You will now find a steep, long entrance ramp with a toll at the top.† The steep hill is that of Golgotha, and the toll at the top is dying to self.† Here we must pick up our cross, tie it to the roof of our car and follow the ways of Christ.† P.S., no IOU's are accepted.
If you were willing to pay such an exorbitant price, and entered the highway to heaven, the first question you will ask is why.† I know you will be asking what the tolls are used for, because the roadís maintenance is poor.† There are a lot of bumps on that first stretch of road and you may find yourself growing weary.† Those bumps built into the highway are the hard knocks one takes in following the two commands Jesus gave us.†That being to love God with oneís whole heart, soul, and mind; and the second loving oneís neighbor as yourself. †On these two laws hang all the jolts one will take along the way.
††††††††† As you slow down to pay the next toll, Iím sure youíre giving praise to God that you had your car inspected by the master mechanic.† Iím also sure youíre glad on the choice of snacks that you picked; what with the road being so rough Iím sure the fruitís of the spirit has helped to settle your stomach.† But before you get brazen with self-confidence, believing you negotiated the most hazardous portion of the road, and won, read the price of the next toll.† The cost of discipleship!
†††† If you were willing to pay the price of the next toll and continue Iím sure you noticed the large, filled, rest site located on the island between the north and southbound lanes.† If youíre like me and cussed the condition of the road, Iím sure youíre wishing you could take back every colorful superlative.† You see if you continued on and paid the cost of discipleship, you now understand, that even though the road, up to this point, was poorly maintained, at least it was paved.† The cost of discipleship has you abandoning your car to help finish the road that was started by others.† All of a sudden you realize the amount of work that needs to be done, only to find that there are very few that wish to pay so hefty a price.† Iím sure you also understand why the rest area is so full of cars and littered with goat manure.† It is filled with brothers and sisters who believe they paid enough of a price at the first toll and wait now for the highway to be completed. †They stand around telling each other their war stories, laughing and playing as they wait.† Unfortunately, they forgot to turn off their holier than thou headlights, and when the time comes, will find they have a dead battery.† Maybe they should have refueled one more time on the word of God, reading in 1 Thessalonians, ďWe continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.† For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep convictions.† You know how we lived among you for your sake.† You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all believers in Macedonia, and Achai.Ē Or, as James stated in his letter, ďIn the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.Ē
††††††††† Finally, upon arriving at heavenís gate, there is one last thought you need to be made aware of.† That being, no matter how hard youíve worked, or how much mocking you persevered, you still fall far short of being allowed to enter the home God has prepared for you.† You see it is only through Godís grace that you are able to enter into your heavenly reward.† God has to pay the last toll for you, please remember this.† Humbly ask permission to enter, knowing you have no payment great enough to make the gates open.† Then humbly allow Jesus to carry you the last few steps of the way.
††††††††† Yes, the highway to heaven is not an easy road to travel.† It is strewed with wreckage, breakdowns and hidden pitfalls.† There are even some that start out only to make a U turn retreating back to more familiar territory.† Feeling much more comfortable sitting in the traffic jams of life then to speed toward the reward prepared for them by their Father.† Foolishly, shaking their heads at the scores of those broken down due to a lack of maintenance, only to find their vehicle stalling due to a lack of gas.† Thereís an emergency phone on the side of the road, amazingly many walk by and never see it; grains of self-pride blow into their eyes causing them to be blinded to the truth.
††††††††† Fear not if you are one of these broken souls.† Wipe your eyes and look to the roadís sides.† There is an unassuming man standing on the side of the road, waiting to help you.† He sits on his tools box, with cans of water and gas lying next to him.† Donít be afraid to ask him what he would charge to fix your car.† The answer might just surprise you!