This morning, while listening to a sermon about Heaven, our rewards in Heaven, our losses in Heaven, and our duties in Heaven, I began to feel quite inadequate. I went over in my mind the numbers of things, (substantial things) that I could ever remember really having done in genuine honor and self-sacrifice for the Lord. A number of small, paltry efforts came to mind. Then there are a few mediocre attempts to share Christ, and a couple flat out, put-it-out-there witnessing experiences. But really, in nearly 50 years, that’s it?
Although I am banking on the crown of righteousness (for longing for Jesus to call us “up hither”), I don’t see the great mounds of rewards heaping up for me. In other words, it probably won’t take long for my rewards to be rewarded.
I have been a believer since age 12 and I know that my salvation is set. I know that I am sealed by the Holy Spirit and I know that one day I will meet Jesus face to face. But am I ready for the BEMA seat? Are any of us?
As Pastor Jeffress divulged details of what will happen at the judgment of Christians, he announced that, contrary to popular belief, there WILL be regret in Heaven. Regret for the things we could have done on earth to further the Kingdom. Regret for the opportunities we missed to share the gospel. Regret for the absence of sincerity and effort in the feeble attempts we may have made to do something pleasing to God. Regret for doing the right things for the wrong reasons.
“Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).
I can tell you, this struck a chord. But it was a chord that most definitely needed to be struck. I can think of about 15 years in my life that I floated along, secure in the promise that all I needed to do was believe that Jesus was God’s Son, that He lived a sinless life, and He died on the cross to pay for my sin burden, and He rose again from the grave to reign with the Father. I also believed He was coming again, although for most of those 15 years, not totally aware of the actual progression of events that would take place, i.e., the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Second Coming. None of this was misguided at all, and Jesus Christ DID die to pay the price for our sin. Believing on Him IS the way to Heaven. But once you belong to God, your obedience is just beginning.
Probably some of you can relate, if not most of you. Maybe your time of “strolling” with the Lord or should I say drifting, with very little energy put forth, was just of short duration, or maybe it was much longer than my own. Whatever the case, we all have to look back with regret for the years we missed and the chances that were lost while we were living this thing called life, all the while forfeiting rewards in Heaven for our complacency.
Which leads me to one of my favorite personalities in the Bible. Not often talked about, but profoundly referred to by several notable writers of the Bible, with mention in the gospel of Luke, by the writer of Hebrews, and by Jude (half brother of Jesus), Enoch was a prophet. ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD. Enoch walked so closely with God, and God had such favor for Enoch, that God took him. That’s right. Gone. Raptured, in a sense. Now I ask you, just how incredible would that be? Can you imagine being SO LOVED and FAVORED by the Almighty that He just took you to be with Him one day? Now that is one special man. Can you even fathom what Enoch did to be so special to the Lord? Oh, I would love to know more details to that story.
Most likely, there is very little chance that any of us will be individually raptured for our great favor with God like Enoch was. Most likely there is very little chance that many of us have never even walked one-millionth as close to God as Enoch did. But what if we tried?
While I was in the process of working on this article, I downloaded a new CD onto my player and while walking the other day, appropriately, the song “Walk with Me, Lord” by Lynda Randle came on. The songwriter basically asked the Lord to walk with him on his daily struggles with life. What a great prayer that we should all pray endlessly.
Then it hit me; God IS walking with me–daily, incessantly, lovingly and eternally. But then I realized that maybe it is ME who is not walking with HIM! Could it be? Unfortunately, even in my daily walk with the Lord, I realize that I could be walking more closely with HIM—much more closely. And that changed my entire outlook on Enoch and his walk with God. Why would God walk so closely to me if I am not seeking HIS face and HIS counsel and HIS will at every step of my journey? No doubt, God is much more of a presence in our lives when we earnestly invite Him to be.
Our own Rapture, as true believers in Jesus Christ, is very soon at hand. The events taking place in our world are like the last grains of sand filtering through an hourglass. Very, very soon, we who believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior will meet our King face to face. Some will be given great responsibility, authority and positions in the Millennial Kingdom. Some, as Pastor Jeffress said, will “get in by the skin of their teeth.”
I do not want to squeak in the back door to Heaven. I want to come bounding through the gates and be greeted as a faithful servant who deserves to be there. But can we ever really deserve to be in Heaven? No. There are multitudes who will deserve it much, much more than I. But only by God’s redeeming grace, can we enter through the gates of Heaven. Only by the sacrifice of God’s only Son, can we even hope to live and reign with Christ in His glory.
But here is the pinnacle of the story. We still may have time. We may only have a minutes or hours, but we may have a few years, even more. Whatever the case, it is time to get on our knees and plead with God to show us His will and give us the strength and courage to walk IN THAT will.
Enoch surely walked daily in the will of his Lord. One can only imagine the magnitude of Enoch’s devotion to God. There have been many, many believers over the centuries that have followed in the footsteps of the great apostles, disciples and prophets, but I do not know of any in modern times who have simply been “translated” as Enoch was. Although the Bible prophecy world has lost a great number of devoted scholars in recent years, and I like to think it is in preparation for their duties after the soon-coming Rapture. While many devout servants of God, going way back to Enoch, have been prematurely called to Heaven, their lives here on earth cut short, what a divine manifestation of reward for them must have been waiting!
And so, in the days we have left here, what can we do for the glory of God? Which areas in our lives need to be purged, purified and refined? What, as children of the Most High, can we do to step it up and work harder to please our Lord? And what, in your heart of hearts, would it take for you to know you have lived your life according to His purpose and plan and succeeded in a sojourn to eternity that is magnificent and pleasing in God’s sight?
I cannot wait to meet the prophets of old when we get to Heaven. Enoch’s life, even though we know very little about it, is a testament to the life we should all strive for—a life that is so pleasing to God, that when He does “take us,” we can be secure in the fact that we have done our best to merit our rewards in Heaven, great or small. And after all, our crowns will joyfully be cast at the feet of the One who died for us.
Why not give Jesus our undying devotion and service while we still have the chance? He gave US everything. Jesus DID pay it all. It is way past time to return the favor. Really, what could be more rewarding than walking hand in hand with God? Pleasing Him should be our absolute obsession in these remaining days.