Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

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Together, Christians are to stand against and fight off temptations so that they do not become sins. Temptation in itself is not sin. Yielding to temptations and walking outside of God’s path is sin.

Temptations must be faced together with our closest Christian friends and relatives. This is a “must”. Not just a “should”. Each believer’s Christian Inner Circle is critical to this process that produces purity and dedication to God for better lives in heaven.

Our Christian Inner Circles are our safety nets. Circus acrobats have a net underneath so that if they fall, they are not hurt. In much the same way, our Christian friends and Christian family members need to protect us from harm.

In heaven there will be no temptation to do evil and disappoint God. Satan will not be there. Our old selves will have been stripped away by death. There will no longer be the need to battle temptation. However, keeping from sin by battling temptation together before death will give us more faithful spirits to give God whatever He asks. This more committed spirit will be taken into account when God hands out rewards as places of service in heaven.

Since this life is, among other things, a proving ground for heaven, we are showing God how much we can live for Him. In His heaven, it only makes sense that assignments will match the level of commitment to live for Him that we have shown earlier before death. Rewards in heaven will be assignments of service that match our spirits at the level they have attained in various aspects of godliness.

Although we can be completely content sweeping the streets of heaven, would we not like to be qualified for something more responsible with more joy? For example, if we build houses before death and love doing so, wouldn’t we want to build fantastic houses in heaven? But, if we gave in to the temptation to build houses to accumulate wealth without concern for what God wanted us to do with that income, do we think that God will find us qualified to build the fancier homes in His heaven? Will there not be those with better-developed motives in their spirits to build structures in heaven that are to glorify God for time without end?

So, overcoming temptation is critical to maximizing opportunities in heaven. Perhaps too many Christians think that once they get into heaven, they will have all the opportunities of more faithful believers – those who actually lived for God and successfully battled temptation before death came.

Many enjoyments will be experienced in heaven by anyone with the ticket to get into events, namely trust in Jesus’ substitutionary death for them. This is just like today when anyone can enjoy a theater production, provided they can get in. But, there will be different levels of experience in attending that play, dependent upon how they have prepared to experience it. Have they read the book on which the play is based? Have they studied acting to know the little details of stage skills? Do they know well the owner of the theater or the director of the play? It will be similar in heaven. Eternal life will be glorious for all, without disappointment, but with different capacities for participation and joy.

Because God rewards obedience, it seems logical that heaven will be a different experience for each of us. Each of us will have been obedient in different ways at different levels of love for God. None of us know how this will play out, but an allegory might get us thinking. Remember, this is an allegory, but still based on the logic that the more we live for God, the more from Him we will enjoy, both now and later in heaven.

Consider that it is the degree of love for God shown now in how we live that will qualify us for privileges in heaven. And, now, allegorically, imagine that God only allows heaven’s citizens to come as close to Him as their love for Him deserves. Now, imagine that it is distance from God’s throne that determines what enjoyments are available to each of us in heaven. In this scenario, there are ten-acre carnivals 100 miles out from God’s throne, but amusement parks ten times as large closer to God’s throne, say 25 miles out. In this scenario, what about the Christian who did not think he or she needed help from other Christians to ward off temptations and thus committed unnecessary sins, under-valuing living for God’s glory and overemphasizing God’s forgiveness? Grace will pay for the sins, but not overlook levels of faith and commitment. Coming to heaven, he or she would not be permitted nor want to live closer than 100 miles out from God’s throne. He or she would be completely happy, yet might never be able to travel to within 25 miles and enjoy that much larger amusement park.

If this allegory presents a logical, yet purely fanciful picture, then isn’t overcoming temptation so valuable that we would want those closest to us in the faith to help us resist temptation and live for God as much as possible?

Now we need to look carefully at 1Corinthians 10:12 & 13, the Scripture that will verify that we are to help one another resist temptation.

1 Cor 10:12 & 13 reads as follows: Verse 12: “So, if you think that you are standing firm,
be careful that you don’t fall!” Verse 13: “ No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
In verse 12 which says, “So, if you think that you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”, the pronoun “you” is singular in the original Greek. Each of us as individuals is warned against having confidence in our individual walk with God.

Then in verse 13 all 5 Greek words for the pronoun “you” are in the plural, making it clear that the promise means there is no temptation that we cannot overcome if we face it together.
For years I had read it wrong and thought that I alone should be able to avoid every temptation because God would protect me. But, that is not the promise. To bring out the one singular and 5 plural meanings more clearly, let me add my own clarifying words as I read 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 to you again.

“So, if you (individual Christian) think you are standing firm (on only your own two legs), be careful that you (individual Christian) don’t fall. No temptation has seized (all of) you (together) except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you (all together, interdependent with one another) be tempted beyond what (all of) you (together) can bear. But when you (in the faith together) are tempted, he will provide a way out so that (all of) you (together through interdependence) can stand up under it.”

It could not be clearer once we get beyond the limitations of the English language and go back to the original Greek to learn the true meaning, that we battle temptation together. Not alone.
Satan is very smart and it is his strategy to get us alone and offer things God does not want for us. Just remember how in the Garden of Eden the devil spoke only to Eve, dividing the first man and woman from helping one another battle the temptation Satan presented to Eve. That was to do what God said was not to be done. Satan knows a person needs help from others to resist his evil suggestions.

God designed Christians to be strong together, not so much alone.
Therefore, each of us is more likely to yield to temptation and sin if we are not woven into close Christian relationships. We can best fight off temptations and keep them from becoming sins using the more significant, honest, and frequent relationships within our Christian Inner Circles. For example, it is easier to resist coveting or buying when we go to stores with close Christian friends, family members or a husband or wife, as long as we take responsibility for one another.

We must determine to always battle temptation together! We must always be watching for the temptations Satan is presenting to us. We have to keep an eye on ourselves as well as watch one another’s backs. We cannot let ourselves think for a moment that our faith is so strong and we are so righteous that we cannot fall into temptation. Our sanctification is not yet complete. We are not even close to being carbon copies of our Savior.

Sure, we might have the big temptations beat, temptations to swear, use porn, steal and cheat, and the like. But, there are many less obvious sins encouraged by the world and our selfish natures – even by cultural aspects of contemporary Christian practice. For some examples, there is thinking that prosperity is a sign of godliness, becoming smug and proud about doctrine, looking with derision upon non-believers, withholding the tithe from the storehouse, putting on a show of worship while coming to church primarily for enjoyment or duty rather than worshiping God, and many other insidious temptations.

Instead of living autonomously, we must lead our lives dependent upon one another. Then, with the help of our brothers and sisters in Christ we can successfully resist Satan’s temptations. Christians whose main concern is for God’s glorification need to understand their responsibility for how others in their Christian Inner Circles live. Then we will help them and they will help us resist sin, anything that will lead us astray and dishonor our Lord.

Battling temptation together will require honest transparency rather than protective privacy. We will need to know what is going on in one another’s lives to the extent that we can join with one another to resist sinful temptations. This is counter to what we have been taught about “minding our own business”, a very popular non-biblical value. Help to walk with God faithfully necessitates knowledge of what tempts one another. For citizens of God’s kingdom, almost everything is one another’s business because it has to do with our joint responsibility to honor and glorify God.

“Me and God” seems right, but is not. Adam alone with God was not enough because God did not want it that way. God wanted Adam and Eve to help one another. It is still the same – God does not want us to just depend solely on Him, but also on one another.

Together in Christian friendships, Christian families and Christian marriages we can brainstorm the schemes Satan might use against each of us and how each one can be protected by the involvement of the others. In such groups there are probably those not attracted to each of the temptations, and they should be used as strong resources for resistance.

Unwise and unfortunate is that we don’t want others to point out to us where we are becoming enamored with the wrong things. We are afraid of being judged. And, we are hesitant to point out danger to one another for fear of being pushed away. As a result we watch those in our Christian Inner Circles hurt themselves and stray from God’s good path. But, would we be afraid of rejection or a bad reaction and not push a friend out of the way of a speeding car? So, what is more dangerous? A speeding car or Satan? Overly polite Christianity is perilous.

Defeating temptation requires trusting, truthful, and transparent relationships with those who care about us the most. It is so very dangerous for any Christian to be without close Christian friends who know their temptations.

The best way to resist temptation is to have the mind of God about things. Collectively we can bring the correct Scriptures to mind when another is tempted to do wrong.
Jesus resisted the frontal assault by Satan in the wilderness by knowing and reciting Scripture. Jesus knew the Bible well. Even when Satan quoted and misrepresented Scripture, our Lord knew God’s heart well enough to refute the evil one.

We must give our Christian friends, Christian family members, and Christian spouses permission to speak up with Scripture they think we should consider when we face decisions in the course of our lives.

Those Christians closest to us should help us want to live for God and not for ourselves. On the way to doing whatever God wants from us, we will surely meet temptation, not because God creates it, but because Satan opposes God. The devil does not want us to do the will of God and will offer deviant ways of thinking and doing. However, in the Bible God will have taught us how to think and act, as well as what to value and what not to value. And, it is very important: He has given us each other to teach and remind us of these things.

The question, “Do we want to help one another defeat temptation?” is the same question as, “Do we want to glorify God?” Hopefully, we want to glorify God by defeating temptation. That is why we have been created anew in Christ.

Therefore, with God’s glory in mind as our highest consideration, two things are necessary. (1) We ourselves should live as best as we can for His glory, and this means that we must let other Christians we trust help us battle temptations. (2) Conversely, we must throw ourselves into helping other Christians successfully battle their temptations so that their lives glorify God.
We are all security systems for one another when it comes to battling temptation, but especially for those believers with whom we are in closest relationship. We are to be watching out for their welfare that they not dishonor God and reap negative consequences.

Surely we can put ourselves in God’s place enough to realize that He is not going to put Christians in places of service in heaven who have not loved Him enough to care about helping those in their Christian Inner Circles battle temptation so they can live lives that glorify Him. Heaven will be all about glorifying God. God Himself and glorifying Him through worship and service will be our joy.

If we help others battle temptations so that their lives glorify God more, we will be qualifying ourselves for more responsible positions of service in heaven. If we let others help us defeat our own temptations, we will be helping them qualify for better places of service in heaven.
Battling temptations successfully improves our holiness and purity, so necessary for higher levels of service in heaven.

Therefore, think about each person in your own Christian Inner Circle. In your relationship with each of them, identify what temptations Satan is or is likely to throw at them. Then, work at strengthening them so that their love and commitment to God makes the temptation unthinkable.

Also, work with them to identify your own vulnerabilities and what temptations might attack you. Then seek their help to battle and defeat these temptations.

By battling temptation together, let’s prepare ourselves for important assignments in heaven that will require strong love for God and concern for His honor and glory.

Reflection & Group Tools

Together, stand against and fight off temptations before they become sins.

Matt 6:13; Matt 26:40-41; 1 Cor 10:12-13; Gal 6:1; 1 Thess 3:5; 1 Tim 6:8-10; Heb 4:14-16

Prayer to Embrace this Together
Dear Father God who has never had to battle temptation and Dear Jesus who totally battled temptation successfully in order to represent us in your death, I and those in my Christian Inner Circle will need Your help to grow our spirits to battle temptations together so that we can keep dedicated to You. Help us to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit for all of us to give You more glory in the way we help one another avoid those things and decisions that take us away from living for You and in Your way.
Please help us all to become more like Jesus and avoid sinning by facing temptation and defeating it. See to it that I and those in my Christian Inner Circle are wise enough to tell one another of things that tempt us so that together we can recognize temptations to go against Your will for our lives. We want to have victory over temptations as did our Lord and Savior.
May our lives worship You more because we honor You so much that we do not yield to temptations to sin and bring dishonor upon Your Name. Help us to not be so tolerant of the smaller temptations of those in our Christian Inner Circles that we do not insert ourselves to battle these seemingly less-harmful temptations.
Make us strong in Your power to defeat the devil by loving You so deeply that we can easily deny his temptations. Following the example of our Lord when facing the temptations of Satan in the wilderness, help us to remember relevant Scriptures to tell one another in battling temptation together.
Help us to see that the evil one will often begin with seemingly acceptable temptations and that we really do need one another’s help to sort out Satan’s scheme with each tempting desire he places before us. Make us so capable of automatically seeing temptations that are not in accord with Your will and Who You are that we do not need to avoid the evil places and people who need us there to represent You and Your holiness in order to attempt to deliver them from the devil.
Help us all to prepare for heaven by facing temptation together, thereby, allowing the Holy Spirit to work within all of us to produce purity and dedication to God to glorify You as well as for better lives for ourselves in heaven.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Your Spirit is most easily transformed in community. The tools below can facilitate your growth as you Submit to God together with those you are in close Christian relationship with.

These are some of the possible benefits in heaven we will be seeking today by opening our minds to the Holy Spirit regarding battling temptation together.
Heaven will for all eternity be about glorifying God. We will enter heaven with increased purity and dedication to God because we invited other Christians to help us battle our temptations. We will be able to give more glory to God.

We will improve our holiness and purity and thus qualify for higher levels of service in heaven.

In battling another Christian’s temptations, we will have proven to God that we have more faithful spirits to give God whatever He asks in heaven for all eternity. This will draw God closer to us in relationship.

Sanctification Booster #1:

List reasons Christians do not readily tell one another the temptations they face that would lead to sin and dishonoring the Lord in order to get help to defeat those temptations. Also list how it can be made safe for Christians to be so transparent with one another.

Sanctification Booster #2:

List really dangerous temptations with which Satan can attack Christians and how involving those who are trustworthy in a Christian’s Inner Circle can be effective in turning away from such temptations. Discuss how more beneficial it is to involve more than one Christian in helping another Christian battle temptation.

Sanctification Booster #3:

List not so horrific temptations for which help should be acquired and why giving in to such temptations harms the tempted Christian.