Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” – Matthew 7:21
My family recently traveled to London, and the trip was uneventful except for one mistake I made. I forgot to pack any extra socks. By the fourth day of the trip, I broke down and went to a local department store to buy some cheap socks. I knew it was time to do so when the pair I brought with me were no longer lying by the bed every night; they were standing by the bed! Now, that was a mistake, but it had no lasting consequences. It may have been uncomfortable for family members who stood downwind from me those first three days, but no permanent harm.
However, failing to adequately prepare for the trip we are taking after we die can have devastating and unending consequences. That is the last subject we will look at as we contemplate heaven: How can I prepare for my journey to heaven? The first step is the most foundational, and that is: Make sure you have a valid passport. To travel to most countries, you have to have a passport. No passport, no entry into that country.
I learned about the importance of passports a number of years ago. When I was a youth minister at the church I now pastor, we took our student choir to the Soviet Union. It was during the Cold War, and the atmosphere was so oppressive that we could not wait to get out of there. At the airport, I watched as our students went through passport control one by one, with expressions of relief as they passed from bondage to freedom. I waited until everyone else was on the other side to pass through myself. I reached inside my coat pocket for my passport–and it was missing.
Panicked, I frantically searched everywhere for the missing document with no success. I explained to the Soviet agent my predicament and that I had to pass through because I was the leader of the group. Trust me, he could not have cared less! No passport, no exit. My wife of exactly one year was standing on the other side crying, imagining her new husband imprisoned in a Russian gulag for the next 20 years!
After watching me sweat for a while, a “friend” of mine held up my passport, which he had taken as a joke. I can assure you that after more than 35 years, my wife still does not think it was funny. I will never forget the relief I felt as I finally settled in my seat on the plane.
The absolute panic I felt that night pales in comparison to the terror that will grip the hearts of those who will be denied entrance into heaven because they lack the proper “passport.” As they stand at heaven’s entrance expecting to be welcomed into God’s presence, they will instead hear these words: “I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:23).