What If You Actually Believed You're Going to Heaven?

What If You Actually Believed You're Going to Heaven? - Christ.net.au

Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Take a quick break, just for a minute — and think about what would it feel like if you truly did believe you're going to go to heaven. Heaven.


What even is that?

What if you actually believed that your definite, guaranteed, assured future is to end up in a place (and be living a life) better than anything you've seen, or thought about, or wished for, in your life so far on this Earth?

And not just better than all those things, but better than anything you can even imagine?

Happy All the Time?

Before I was a Christian myself (which was most of my life so far), I used to think that Christians who really believed in this kind of stuff would be 100% ecstatically happy, all of the time.

But they aren't. At least not most of them, and not most of the time. And this has also been my own experience, after becoming a Christian. I absolutely definitely feel happier than I would if I wasn't a Christian. And I know my life has improved in many ways because of my Christian faith. Yet — what I find with myself (and see elsewhere, with many others) is that Christians can still get very distracted by the cares and concerns of life on earth. And think much less about heaven, and the rewards and love that await us in the next life, than we do about temporary and (in the big picture) comparatively trivial worldy desires, wants, and problems.

Instead of spending most of our lives thinking about heavenly rewards, this only happens occasionally. And most of our lives are spent thinking of earthly things. We stress, strive, worry, and even just fantasise about how we might achieve various earthly goals. These can range from basic and immediate demands of life, like how to pay the next bill, to long-term and grandiose future goals of exotic travel destinations and other earthly pleasures.

Yet the Bible clearly tells us that "all these things will be given to us" in Heaven:

Don't seek what you will eat or what you will drink; neither be anxious. For the nations of the world seek after all of these things, but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek God's Kingdom, and all these things will be added to you.

Don't be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.

So, I thought, why not deliberately take some time out to think about, and be happy about, and be full of thankfulness, and give praise to God, for the great things that God is going to give to us in heaven.

How Can You Imagine Heaven?

I think a lot of this heavenly stuff is hard for mortal humans, like myself, to really imagine. So, I had the idea to think instead of the best things I can imagine experiencing here on Earth... And then to add to that the idea that heaven will be even better than those things.

And then I had the idea of thinking about those things, specifically and individually, as a form of praise and thankfulness to God. And also just to help my mind make the transition (part of what some people may call "sanctification") from having worldly goals to having heavenly goals.

Since I'm a very visual person, the natural way for me to do this is to use actual images (as in photos) of things I'd really like to experience, and always wanted to experience... And then combine that with my Christian faith that I'm going to heaven.

Because I spent a lot of my life as a non-Christian, a lot of the goals I had and things I longed for were worldly things. And even as a Christian, living in modern society, it's very common to spend the majority of the hours in each week doing and thinking about worldly things. Since we live in the physical world, this is of course something that's very common.

So instead of trying to imagine some abstract place where everything will "feel amazingly good" — but without any more idea than that about what it would really be like, I find it helpful to think about actual real things from Earth, and then think how heaven will be even better than them.

This is not to say that it's a good idea to crave and to seek after a lot of wordly, material, non-spiritual pleasures, goals and rewards. Much of Christianity teaches there are good reasons to deliberately not seek after worldly pleasures. So in a way, this is like a mind trick. It's like saying to myself that in heaven (and in some ways, before getting to heaven as well) I'm going to experience godly pleasures that are even greater than the specific worldly pleasures that I'd got used to thinking of as something I'd want.

I find that doing this greatly adds to my confidence with earthly life, and my happiness and enjoyment of it. And rather than feeding my lust for worldly non-spiritual things, I find the opposite: It takes away from my desire / "need" / craving / longing / desperation to experience these things while I'm still here on Earth, before I die. And replaces that with the confidence that after I die I'm absolutely, definitely, going to experience things that are even better than these Earthly things that I've spent most of my life desiring. Probably so much better that as a mortal human on Earth, I can't even imagine how good it will be in heaven.

Collections of Photographs

As I've discovered (and explained above), its nice to think to myself "heaven will be so awesome, better than anything on Earth, better than anything I can imagine". But there's not a lot else in that idea to actually literally picture in my mind. Like real situations and images to actually picture in my mind, and think about specifically.

When you search the internet for images using the search term 'heaven', this is the kind of thing you most often find. Personally, I don't find looking at this makes me think of the most amazing, exciting, and inspiring experiences I can imagine.

When you search the internet for images using the search term 'heaven', this is the kind of thing you most often find. Personally, I don't find looking at this makes me think of the most amazing, exciting, and inspiring experiences I can imagine. Photo by Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells.

Yet there are many thousands of things on this Earth that I've longed for. A lot. Some of these are things that I've greatly enjoyed. Others are things I've not achieved, experienced, or owned myself — but longed to, and wanted to, and in some cases desperately craved to.

I find it much easier to imagine these Earthly pleasures — which I understand, and can picture, and can very easily imagine — rather than abstract, imagined, heavenly ones.

To help with this I've made up some photographic collections of things that have great appeal. They aren't fully complete yet, and I'll develop them a lot more over the winter mid-semester break and in the future after that...

Would You Want to Go to Heaven?

I get the impression that a lot of people out there in modern society aren't interested in becoming Christians because they think it means there would be less pleasures in life. But in fact, in heaven, the pleasures to look forward to will be greater and more enjoyable than anything you can imagine on Earth.

Even just the feeling of being close to God, while still living here on Earth, can feel better than any of these wordly pleasures — but of course this is not obvious if you've never felt anything like that before. I think trying to imagine what that feels like, if you've never felt anything like the presence of God, would be like trying to explain to a three-year-old boy that one day he'll probably be more interested in the three-year-old girl next door than he is in her older brother's toy bulldozer.

So, just for a minute, really try this: Assume that it's really true that you're going to go to heaven, — and that it will be more pleasureable than any pleasure on Earth you can imagine. Even if you don't believe it (yet), just pretend and imagine that it's true.

Since, after all, it could really be true. It's possible for it to really, actually, be true. No-one has ever been able to disprove it. Which means that — even if you don't currently believe in heaven — it could really be true.

What if it was actually true?

Then just think, again, just for a minute (you can take more time if you like, but try to think about it for a minute at least), what if it actually was true? And from there it's not much of a big leap to realise that maybe it really, actually, is true. Even for a non-Christian / non-believer, this much is a fact. Since it's impossible to disprove it. Which means that it might really be true.

Which means, if you look into this more, and discover what's real and what's not, you could really go to heaven. And in due time, experience all that goes along with that.

It might actually be true.

That means, you might actually, really, truly, be able to go to heaven.

Would you want that to be true, or not?

It's a Whole New Life

Becoming a Christian and following Jesus Christ as one of his disciples, like the way it's described in the New Testament of the Bible, is a very different life to the ordinary life that most people live (who aren't following Christ). A much better life. Now and in the future.

It's so different that its often referred to as being "born again":

Jesus answered him, "Most assuredly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, {The word translated "anew" here and in John 3:7 (anothen) also means "again" and "from above".} he can't see the Kingdom of God."

Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

Jesus answered, "Most assuredly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.' The wind {The same Greek word (pneuma) means wind, breath, and spirit.} blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Assuming that it could actually be true, and that you could possibly look into this further, and you could end up believing that there is a heaven, and that you are 100% definitely going to go there after you die..... Would you want to believe that? What would it be like to believe that? Would it be an improvement on whatever you were thinking about the future before you started thinking about heaven today?

This web page that you're reading right now is asking you to think about that.

If you would rather that was not true, have a think about why not. There are many reasons why someone may not want to believe in their idea of what Christianity is about. I had many of my own, for many years, that stopped me from believing in Christ. I'll write up some of them on another web page in the near future...

Heaven Is a Place... In Heaven

Many Christian terms and concepts are borrowed and used by popular culture, including music:

Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth?
Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.

The Bible also tells us that heaven is a place, although not on Earth. The Bible tells us that heaven is the dwelling place of God. His throne is there, the angels are there, and the Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven. Philippians 3:20 says very plainly that "our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." That's why Jesus told the thief on the Cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

The most important fact is that heaven is a real place. Listen to the words of Jesus on the night before he was crucified:

  • Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:1-3).
  • Twice in three verses Jesus calls heaven a place. He means that heaven ("my Father's house") is a real place, as real as New York, London or Chicago. The place called heaven is just as real as the place you call home. It's a real place filled with real people, which is why the Bible sometimes compares heaven to a mansion with many rooms (John 14:1-3) and sometimes to an enormous city teeming with people (Revelation 21).

[The three paragraphs above are a popular quote, and can be found here and here, for example. I'm not sure which version is the original. Here are more examples from Google search. See also here for a good description of heaven with many Bible quotes.]

What would it feel like to know, for certain, that you are absolutely, definitely, going to a place where... (Now read the next section...)

What Are the Best Things You Can Possibly Imagine?

What — for you — would be the best, most fun, most enjoyable, things you can imagine? The things that you have most enjoyed, most loved and most wanted, and appreciated, and longed for, and wished for and hoped for and fantasised about...?

Really stop to think about some of those for a minute. Enjoy the feelings of imagining yourself in those situations. Try and get into the mood of it and the idea of actually having, being, and doing those things. As much as you could ever want. And then, think of what it would feel like to know for sure that you're going to experience things as good as them, and even better than them.

That's something like what it would feel like to actually believe in a real heaven that you're actually going to go to eventually.

Now think about would that be better, or worse, than to not believe in that future for yourself (and your friends and loved ones). For example, to believe you're just going to become nothing, to not exist at all, after you die? Would that be better, or worse?

Deliberately thinking about these things in the context of what heaven would really be like can sometimes be an eye opening experience if you've never really, seriously, properly, thought about it in this way before.

If you like, continue to take some time to think about how good the future is really going to be as a believer in Jesus Christ. Assuming that you believe that these things are really true. I (along with any other Christian) can tell you that they are true, but to believe it yourself is not necessarily as easy as that. But at the very least, you can consider the idea that it's 100% definitely at least possibly true. That is, even if you don't believe it's true, it might actually be true. Which means that if you look into it further, with the motivation of wanting to believe in it, you might come to the same conclusion that I eventually did — that it is completely, absolutely, undeniably true.

If you don't believe these things are really true, but would want to, the next logical question to ask is how could you go from not believing to believing. This raises other questions, like what things are stopping you from believing?

I'll be writing a lot more about these things in the near future, both generically, and also telling stories of my own long journey from being a non believer to believing in the gospel (i.e. the good news) of Jesus Christ.

It's often said that people from non-rich-western countries have an easier time believing in Christ. And that they see more spiritual events like miracles, signs, and wonders than we do in the rich West. Personally, I suspect that a lot of the reason for that is the absolutely massive (and historically unprecedented) amount of images, ideas, scenes, thoughts fantasies,etc., we're exposed to of worldly things that do genuinely seem like they would be (and in many cases are, at least temporarily) so wonderful and amazing, that it's harder for us to feel the joy inherent in a simple concept like being at one with God in heaven.

Not that long ago in history — and for all of history before that — even kings of the world's biggest empires didn't have air travel, or video games. They couldn't own private jets or even something that's now as ordinarty as a modern smartphone. The amount of technology, material wealth, and constant bombardment with images of even greater material wealth, that everyone in Western countries (and much of the rest of the world now too) is immersed in, all the time, is an entirely new thing in human history. And I think it distractes us and makes it harder for us to imagine what heaven would be like.

I've found that a really good antidote to this exposure is to deliberately think of the things in this mortal world that seem the most appealing — and then at the same time, together with those thoughts, remind myself that I'm going to heaven, and that faith in Jesus is worth more than any of those things, and is going to bring greater pleasure in the end than any of those things.

Personally, I find images of somewhat worldly things like this much more appealing and inspiring than the fluffy white clouds that are often associated with 'heaven'. I think it's okay to remind myself that in real, actual heaven I'll experience greater things than not only  fluffy white clouds — but anything else I can imagine — including all types of worldly pleasures.

Personally, I find images of somewhat worldly things like this much more appealing and inspiring than the fluffy white clouds that are often associated with 'heaven'. I think it's okay to remind myself that in real, actual heaven I'll experience greater things than not only fluffy white clouds — but anything else I can imagine — including all types of worldly pleasures. Photo by Isabelle Bruce. Jezerane, Croatia.

Pleasures Even Greater Than These

In our lives on this Earth, worldly things often do not bring as great a pleasure as they seem like they would. There are many examples of this (I'll edit this page later and add some examples, and also do a photo album of examples). Not only will Heaven be even better than these things, but it will stay better. It won't turn into false hope and false, articficial, superficial pleasures like many of the worldly pleasures on this Earth can and do.

A common mistake people make is to think that these worldly things are what we are to seek. Even sometimes as Christians. Many, many people make these things their real actual main goals in life. This is understandable since these goals are so easy for us to picture and to imagine — compared to something like "feeling close to God" which is not as easy for most of us (who might not already feel that close to God, nor realise how good it can feel) to think of as the best experience imaginable.

This is something that I think happens a lot in modern Christianity. What gets called the "prosperity gospel" is an example of this. Where the goals of worldly life are presented as if they are the greatest things we can aim for, and want. And that if we do things right (like pray enough, or something), then God will give us these worldly things which are the greatest things we can want, and be, and have, and experience.

When in fact the rewards that Christ can (and eventually will) give us are in fact far greater than these worldly things. However this is not always obvious. It's especially not obvious to non-Christians, and new Christians, and even many long-term Christians. The attractive power of the world for us, as mortal humans, can be very strong.

Many of us — and this definitely includes me for much of my life — have spent a lot of our lives thinking about these worldly pleasures, desiring them, longing for them, and trying to achieve them. So much so that other less clearly imagined things like actual heaven don't seem as appealing. Because we live in this world, most of us don't have anything as concrete in our minds to visualise about actual heaven as we do of the things of this world. Which means that many people even many genuinely sincere Christians mostly forget about heaven, and instead spend the bulk of the hours of their lives focusing on the things of this world.

When a much, much more productive main focus in life is just to follow Christ. And learn to more closely imitate him. And be more like him.

So, the important point of this section is that it's not that we will get all these worldly pleasures things in heaven. Personally, I highly suspect that in heaven God may indeed give us exactly these things that some (or most) of us have so longed for. And let us experience them to our heart's content. But mainly just so that we can feel like we haven't missed out on them.

And then God will show us far greater things than these. And we will live far better lives even than that. And feel far greater pleasures. Like being truly at one with God, and with the angels, and with each other. Holy, and fully renewed, and transformed. I think that there's much more to heaven than just these things we wanted in our mortal lives on Earth. Yet as mortal humans, living in this physical world, we don't really know how to even properly imagine them... Yet.

The main point here is that the true feelings of happiness, and connection, and acceptance, and love that only God can give us are even greater than these worldly things we craved (and often still do crave) while we're still mortal humans.

Which means that real heaven will be (and feel) even better than than these worldly things.

To Recap

What if it was really true? What if you could know, definitely, for sure (or even just hope, perhaps, for maybe) that you're going to experience pleasures greater than any of the things you've seen, thought about, and imagined as the greatest and most pleasurable things on Earth?

I've been somewhat repetitive on this page, because heaven is such an easy thing to forget. And then to go right back to feeling less than perfectly blissful about all our familiar worldly concerns. Let's really try not to forget this — as Christians, we're going to heaven.


When we're aware enough of the great rewards that await us in heaven, we can live free of worldly concerns (including ordinary and essential ones like enough food, luxurious and non-essential ones like first-class five-star holiday resorts, and ones in-between such as the "perfect relationship"). As Christians we can live out our Earthly lives in confidence, happiness, and optimism.

Knowing for certain that our Father in heaven is going to give us greater things than these.

Photo Albums about Heaven

Things Heaven Will Be Better Than
More Things That Heaven Will Be Better Than
What's Your Greatest Dream?
In My Father's House are Many Mansions

Link to Photo Albums Index Page

Cover image by djgis / Shutterstock.

See Also