2 Chronicles 6, Malachi 3
Everyone wants to go to heaven. The alternative seems less appealing.
We’d like to believe Joan Rivers or Robin Williams are in heaven now, especially because we liked them so darn much.
We liked them because they entertained us. They made us feel good. And we’d like to believe they were good people as well, which means admission to heaven is a sure thing for them, right?
Don’t get me wrong; when it comes down to the standards of human behavior, these celebrities might have been really good people, among others. I’ve heard stories of charitable, selfless acts they’ve performed that have surfaced posthumously, gestures that warm the heart at make you believe that, perhaps, they were good enough to get in.
Unfortunately, being “good” isn’t the standard for heaven. In fact, the Bible says that no one is inherently good, really. Sure, there’s a desire to do it, but we’re all inclined to choose evil at some point in our lives. The standard is perfection, found in Jesus Christ alone.
But there IS a pattern of behavior for those who are headed to heaven — more specifically, those who are adherents to God’s Word. The behavior itself does not constitute access to heaven, but those who have a relationship with Jesus might do these things.
1) You’ve made an agreement with God. (2 Ch 6:11)
At some point in your life, you’ve made a sincere commitment to Jesus Christ. You’ve decided that what God wants is more important than what you want, and you’ve signed that lifetime contract.
The ark represents Israel’s agreement with God, the presence of God within His dwelling place, where He belongs. Likewise, God should be allowed to dwell inside of us, and this characteristic should be obvious and the result of a conscious decision.
2) Your desire is humility. (2 Ch 6:21)
When you pray, your desire is always to lower yourself. This attitude then resonates throughout your day.
It’s becoming increasingly rare to see this. Especially with social media, we can construct a tidy facade of false humility, appearing to be all about others when we’re actually just trying to look good.
We must constantly look to decrease so that God is glorified in all ways. This might mean NOT sharing that status about how you helped someone out today.
3) You look for justice and righteousness. (2 Ch 6:23)
My wife and I had a discussion this morning about this, how there are few people who are prepared or would act accordingly when a critical situation arises and they need to take action.
Check out what I mean here.
If a cause benefits people personally — like the apparition of charity with the ice bucket challenge trend, among others — they’re more likely to do it. But if there’s a risk involved, many will stand idle.
Followers of Christ are active seekers of justice. Is that you?
4) You’ve been tested, and you’re still good. (Mal 3:2)
Truthfully, most Christians have never been tested. The highest level of testing I endured was in college, where a large percentage of my peers were staunch atheists or skeptics of the God of the Bible and would take shots in class whenever an opportunity presented itself.
Others around the world are constantly on the run, imprisoned, or executed for being public Christians. I have mad respect for this, because it’s precisely what the Bible discusses. They’ve been tried, through the fire, yet they stand firm.
When your faith is tested, it shows how important it really is to you.
5) Your offering is pure. (Mal 3:3)
Some people go to church simply to be seen at church. Some people pray aloud — or perhaps a little bit longer than the person before them did — so they might seem spiritual. Some give to others so they might show off their charitable ways.
God wants none of that. If your offering isn’t pure, it is sheer vanity and proves worthless to God.
Shut the door when you pray, give privately, and worship the Lord inwardly. These all please God, and mark the character of a true believer.