Heaven: Making The Grade?

God never called us to make it into heaven.

I think sometimes we often look at the reward of heaven as making a grade. Like in school, we can just barely scoot under the radar with D’s, barely making it into the next grade. But hey, you made it, right?

That’s not the way heaven is. God doesn’t want us to look at life with our fleshly minds that want only to do the bare minimum to make a passing grade.

God calls us to strive to be our best. To be an overachiever in our spiritual life, to be a teacher’s pet if you will. Those cool kids sitting in the back row, spitting paper wads at the teacher, won’t just make it into heaven.

It’s easy for one to wonder whether God grades us on a curve or not.
(By this I mean how he judges our actions and true intentions.)

If you are not familiar with the concept of grading on a curve, it means grading one according to one’s apparent abilities, not according to an absolute standard. In school, this means identifying the smart kids from the dumb kids and grading the smart kids according to a higher standard, whilst grading the dumb kids to a lower standard. That way, a dumb kid can make an ‘A’ just as easily as a smart kid. In essence, It evens the playing field. (And no, I’m not trying to be politically correct at this point.)

Basically, does God judge us based on what we have accomplished with the hand we’ve been dealt, so to speak… or does he judge us based on one absolute standard: The Bible?
Our carnal minds would like us to think that God, being a merciful and graceful and steadfastly loving God, would understand if we didn’t get around to doing all that we wants us to do. That, like a teacher grading on a curve, he would let us slide from not doing our homework or making a terrible score on a test simply because that is our apparent ability, to just be mediocre.
Whereas, if one does do all that they are required of, they would simply be just another saint making it into heaven.

Here’s the problem with grading on a curve. It creates no motivation to strive to be better, no reward for having gone above and beyond the call of duty. If God graded on a curve, there would be no reason to try to do all he asks us to do.

It is undeniably accurate to conclude that God does not grade us on a curve.

I’m not saying that he doesn’t offer forgiveness or extend his grace, mercy, and undying love to us when we fail. But God isn’t okay with failure. God isn’t okay with mediocrity. Yes, he placed you in the life that you have now, he set you in these surrounding circumstances. The trials before you and temptations you face are all a part of his plan. God doesn’t want you to merely go about your life, using your circumstances as an excuse to whether or not you will be great. Sure, it seems that others have it made a bit easier for them to succeed than most. But they, too, will face trials not unlike the ones you are facing. Their time will come where they are put to tests of equal importance and severity.
By not grading us according to our apparent abilities but according to our potential abilities, God is setting a high standard for all of us to follow. As I stated earlier, that standard is the bible. Unlike the ways of America, and our very own constitution, There are no amendments to the bible.
God didn’t say, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you… unless that enemy happens to molest you for most of your childhood, then it is acceptable for you to hold hate and bitterness in your heart for the rest of your life.”
Or, “You are in the world, but not of the world… unless you’ve faced brutal persecution for not dressing, acting, or talking like the world, then it is okay to be an undercover agent for me.”

If life was a class offered in your school, and the grading scale was heaven or hell… There would be no D’s, C’s, B’s, or A’s. There would only be pass or fail. When you step up on the day of judgment and look God in the face, he won’t give you a grade somewhere in between.
He will either smile with gladness and gush,
“Well done, My good and faithful servant.”
Or he will hang his head in disappointment and utter, “Depart from me, you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.”

Bottom line: Being rewarded with the ultimate prize of heaven isn’t about doing just enough to make it there.

God calls us to live a live worthy of heaven. He wants so bad for us to succeed that he offers his hand wherever and whenever you will take it. His grace, mercy, forgiveness and love is there for you to be made strong by it, for you to be able to get back up after you fall and fail time after time.
But ultimately, if you have not taken these endless chances he willingly gives you, and have not stood up to his expectations of the person you can be… In the end, you are the greatest disappointment God will ever feel. Your life is his greatest accomplishment, and your are his greatest prize. He wants only for you to succeed.

It is now time for you to prove yourself worthy of the prize of heaven. But to prove yourself worthy is impossible while living a life you control with your own fleshly desires of mediocrity. For it is not your accomplishments, but the God that you have allowed to work within you, that makes you worthy.

So when you stand before God, he will not consider what you have done with your own hands, but whether or not you let him use your hands and your feet, your entire being, to the greatest degree possible.
What God is looking for on that final day of judgment is not you standing before him, but a reflection of himself.

– – –

I encourage you to read a book that is very close to my heart, a book my father wrote that has been newly published this year. It is called, The Greatest Revolution. It is about unleashing God in your life, and coming together with those around you to create the largest campaign for Christ this world has ever known. If you went to N.A.Y.C. this year, or have heard since of the message preached: We Are Giants… then this book would be a great follow up.
Click here to learn more about The Greatest Revolution and the ministry behind it.
Click here to purchase The Greatest Revolution via Amazon.

Today, I Missed You.

Today, I missed you when I blurted out an inside joke,
I had forgotten I shared it with only you.
Blank stares and nervous laughs answered me,
It brought me back to reality, left me feeling blue.

Today, I missed your teasing smile,
And the way your eyes would sparkle with delight.
Or when you found out corny jokes were my weakness,
And how we would laugh until we cried.

Today, I missed your reassuring hugs,
Like nothing would ever harm me.
So strong and gentle at the same time,
And how you were always beside me.

Today, I missed your familiar smell,
When a man walked past me in the grocery store.
He left in his wake a scent so much like yours,
I contemplated following him some more.

Today, I missed your free spirit,
When I ran past a pile of leaves on my afternoon jog.
I remembered the time we raked for hours,
Only to take a trip to the emergency room after you tripped over a log.

Today, I missed your chivalry,
Seeing an old man with a cane hold open a door.
His wife, as old as he, smiled wistfully in return,
In that moment I felt the exact way my heart tore.

Today, I missed you when I felt terribly sick.
I remembered how you would sit on the side of the tub,
How you held my hair back gently as I puked.
I recalled an odd sensation of true love.

Today, I missed you when I was doing laundry,
I checked some pockets and found a note.
It was in your hand, wrinkled and faded,
I smiled as I read another corny joke.

Today, I missed your golden-flecked eyes,
I found them staring back from a photograph.
Then I looked up and found them on our son’s face,
He grinned a toothless grin, I heard your laugh.

Today, I missed your hoarding tendencies,
I sold what clothes I couldn’t give to family in a yard sale.
I finally threw away those ugly, moth-bitten sweatpants,
Later I retrieved them, soaked from a half empty can of ginger ale.

Today, I missed your ring on my finger,
I took it off the left and put it on the right.
I met a nice man at the coffee shop,
It may not go anywhere, but then again, it might.

Today, I missed your voice,
Our son whispered, “I love you” to me at the reception.
Remember that guy at the coffee shop?
We tied the knot and now we’re talking about contraception.

Today, I missed you when I brought the baby home,
I guess you knew those contraceptives wouldn’t last.
I didn’t have the heart to paint over the color we picked out for the nursery,
My husband said he liked that his daughter could grow up in the past.

Today, I missed you when our son got his college degree.
He smiled your smile, a smile of pride.
I hugged him tight and I felt you hugging back,
I told him how proud you’d have been and we both cried.

Today, I missed you as I knelt by a hospital bed,
I quoted to my mother a poem you wrote.
She found out she was dying just a year ago,
At her funeral our son wore your coat.

Today, I missed you more than once,
I missed you all day long.
I wasn’t sad or lonely, but joyful and excited,
To our first grandchild I sang your silly song.

Today, I missed you as I recited vows to my husband of forty years,
“Til death do us part.” he recited back.
He said he loved me and to say ‘hello’ to you for him,
I smiled as my vision slowly faded to black.

Today, I didn’t miss you as I entered through pearly gates,
I stood in awe of the colors, of the view.
I took the hand of my Savior and asked why I didn’t miss you anymore,
He smiled and motioned to a figure standing a ways off…
It was you.