Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Our journey to paradise

By  Peter Shaw, Youth Speak News
  • May 4, 2022

What does it take to attain the reward of eternal life in Heaven?

As we meditate Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into Heaven during the Easter season, we gravitate to pondering about how one day our time on Earth will end.

In our last moments of death, however, I imagine many feel the guilt of all our sins weighing down upon us.  I believe we will come to understand that every sin we committed hurt God so much more than the transgressions visited upon us. We will know that God owes us nothing and we owe God our very existence.

We have examples of countless lives of men and women who have followed God’s teachings and are instilled with a steadfast belief that Jesus Christ achieved salvation for all with His sacrificial death. These Christian disciples are rewarded with everlasting happiness.

Some saints were young when they entered Heaven, while others enjoyed a long-life span. Mary modelled selfless grace throughout her entire life, the repentant thief only repented at the end of his. Some even die for their faith. While not all of us are called to be martyrs, all of us are called to be saints.

Despite their many differences, they consistently have two things in common. They believed in God, and, in the end, they were willing to do God’s will, no matter the worldly consequences.

Believing in God can come across as automatic and obvious, but it is not enough to just believe in God’s existence. After all, even Satan believed in God’s existence. Instead, we must take the time to make God the centre of our life. He created us, saved us and has forgiven us many times. We need to love Him back by forming an intimate relationship with Him.

Following God’s will is another expression of our love for Him. For example, it’s not enough to just say, “I love you” to your parents and then go smear junk food over the new sofa.

Jesus focused on placing the Father’s will over His during the agony in the garden. While He knelt, knowing He was to be abandoned and betrayed by His closest friends, He prayed. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

He tells His Father in Heaven that “although they will not do what You want, I will.” Jesus will do what the Father wants, no matter what. This great example, modelled by the saints throughout the centuries, must be followed by us too in 2022.   

We also must stop looking at what God wants and checking to see whether or not it aligns with our ambitions and desires. We must flip the equation: how can we nurture our free will towards saying words and completing actions that glorify God?

And why would we not choose to adopt this mentality? God has created us and loves us with an insurmountable love. He is here for us, and always will be “even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

(Shaw, 15, attends home school in Barry’s Bay, Ont.)

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