Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

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God asks us in Scripture to examine one another’s faith, both to make sure we are all really in the faith and also to help one another’s life grow in true faith. God’s people are to honor and glorify Him, and that cannot be done when they are not helping one another grow in the faith of the Scriptures.

We tend to think of examination as judging, but here it is not. Christians are to examine one another’s faith without judgment. It is more like examining an ankle to see if it is sprained, or a scrambled egg to see if it is cooked enough.

Those Christians who regularly examine one another’s faith are allowing God to develop their spirits to explore the treasures of heaven. Their growing willingness to discover the strengths and weaknesses in one another’s faith will make them more open in heaven to expanded ways for faith to develop.

Heaven will present endless opportunities to broaden our faith and appreciate God. There is little reason to believe that faith cannot expand in heaven. We will always be challenged to know more about our infinite God. Therefore, we will still be examining one another’s faith for potential spiritual growth for all eternity. It will come naturally in heaven because sin, the old selves, and the devil will not impede it.

Consider the joy of knowing more about Jesus. Now, before death, we can read over and over again about Jesus during His three years of ministry from his first meeting with John the Baptist to His death and resurrection. But, in heaven we may be able to learn about Jesus before He took on the form of a man. Think of all that time Jesus was involved in creation, how He related to the good angels, and how He was involved in banishing Satan and his fallen angels from heaven. Won’t it be fascinating to learn all about that? It will take at least a thousand years to learn all about those things – if we enter heaven with spirits prone to look closely at faith. And that will be developed in our ministry to one another of examining one another’s faith.

In heaven’s infinity there will be never-ending discoveries of faith – and that will be very exciting to those who are prepared to yearn for more faith. By examining our own faith with the help of others to discover new advantages of faith and new areas to be conformed to the spirit of Jesus, we prepare ourselves for the new wonders of heaven.

As mentioned, in heaven with purified spirits and the absence of hindering sin of any kind, we will be able to explore deeply into the nature of God. We will be fascinated by understanding the Trinity of our One God so much more than we can now. We will learn so much more about God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. It will be incredibly exciting.

We will learn so much more about God’s creation. We will get the definitive answer to how everything came to be, the variety of animals and plants, the stars and other aspects of space, and who knows what else that we don’t even know anything at all about now.

All of this will be available to be learned by every citizen of heaven. However, those who were tremendously dedicated to growing in their faith, who sought the examination of their faith by God and those in their Christian Inner Circles, and who examined the faith of others in order for them to find the joy and power of faith they did not yet possess will enter heaven ready to explore. Those who took faith lightly and did not participate in examining one another’s faith will enter heaven handicapped and less likely to explore deeply the more complete understanding of faith.

If God is The Creator and infinitely creative, how can we possibly think that His creativity is limited to earth? Why would we think that God is not still creating in heaven? How many artists stop painting? How many song writers stop writing lyrics and musical scores? How many inventors stop thinking of new ideas and new ways of doing things? It is not the nature of those who create to stop. Even if we let our imaginations go wild, we cannot scratch the surface of God’s fantastic creativity in what we will find in life after death.

If we are like God in examining the faith of others out of loving concern and in helping the spiritual growth of others, we will have more empathy and connection with God in heaven. We will “see where God is going” when a friend in heaven is wondering what some happening means, what aspect of faith is being built into their lives. We will more readily know that God is at work and be able to imagine God’s heart and intention. This will surely lead us to feel very close to God when we can see and understand His work by examination of the other’s faith and what the next step is in God’s mind.

All of the Togethers are ways to love one another. Examining one another’s faith must be done out of love. To qualify to examine the faith of those in our Christian Inner Circles, we must rid ourselves of any desire to watch and evaluate the faith of others for any reason other than to lovingly help them improve their faith.

Our faith is the best way to handle this difficult life before death. To not examine one another’s faith is to hold back love for those in our Christian Inner Circle.

Examining one another’s faith is a prerequisite for three important Togethers. Watching one another’s faith carefully allows us to learn how to help one another with teaching, counseling (which is giving biblical advice), and discipling (which is displaying and explaining the actions of our faith for another to follow our example).

Everyone’s faith is far from complete. God understands this and asks us to examine one another in order to help enlarge our faith. Our Lord knows that stronger, more complete faith is what is best for us. Faith is a gift He wants to give us in increasing measure.

Do we wake up every morning as sure that God will watch over us, help us solve any problem that comes up, and provide for our needs as we are so very sure that the sun will rise? Most, if not all of us, do not. We should, however, be more sure of the One who created the sun than the sun itself.

It is extremely important to identify if a person’s faith is shrinking as well as to determine where a person’s faith can next grow. This can only adequately happen in those relationships where there is frequent contact, above average commitment, and interest in one another’s future. Christian friendships, Christian families and Christian marriages that have adopted a distinct Christian purpose can do this well.

We probably know what people need to do to advance in their careers. And, we probably feel a responsibility to encourage our close friends and family members to learn new skills for their job success and security. So, isn’t it far more important to be just as interested in their spiritual development?

Furthermore, everybody’s faith affects everyone else’s faith either positively or negatively. We are the body of Christ, meaning that we all affect one another and we are interdependent.

Because of this, everyone’s faith is everyone’s business. However, the safest way for examining one another’s faith is within our Christian friendships, our Christian families, and our Christian marriages. It is in these relationships that more carefulness will be taken because we want these relationships to continue for a long time. Such careful, sensitive and loving examination of one another’s faith will create an atmosphere of safety and reduce the fear of judgment.

Occasionally, there is a Christian who is critical and judgmental and examines the faith of others and then confronts harshly. A safe relationship of careful love is absent. When this happens, a person’s Christian Inner Circle must step in and do damage control. Actually, the examination of faith by judgmental Christians and those with ulterior motives should just not be listened to. They are not speaking for God in God’s loving way.

When expressed beliefs do not match behavior, we want to take notice for the purpose of providing help in a loving way. It is far too easy in our culture to say the right Christian things, but only those close to us will know if that is just “for show” and care that this is quite dangerous by eternal considerations.

To effectively examine one another’s faith, we need to know about the Christian faith. Essential is who God is and what He has done. This usually covers the big areas of faith where we Christians can grow.

For example, take what the Bible says about God’s sovereignty. Probably none of us lives with complete trust that God is in control. If we did, all we would experience is peace. Nothing would trouble us regarding our well-being or that of those we love. So, by caring enough to pay attention to one another’s faith, we can help one another increasingly trust God’s sovereignty and gain more peace in our lives.

When Christian friends, family members, and spouses agree that examining one another’s faith is okay, then a comfortable openness about faith and life can lead to very important prayer and accountability leading to increased faith.

With our friends, family members and spouses we must settle once and for all that it is okay and expected that we are not perfect. Not only is that true, but it is the reason Jesus died for us. If so, there is no reason to be defensive about our shortcomings and not be open to the examination of our faith. We can then seek examination that will lead to important spiritual growth.

However, there is this very, very important consideration about examining one another’s faith. It should also bring to our minds the strengths of one another’s faith. While uncovering areas of faith that need to grow usually leads to teaching, counseling, and discipling, recognizing strengths in faith leads to other Togethers. To name but a few, there is commending one another, encouraging one another, and spurring one another on to love and good deeds.
When we talk with our close Christian friends and when we talk with our Christian family members or spouse, we want to examine their faith and knowledge of the Bible by silently listening and thoughtfully examining what has happened and been said in the relationship. There is no reason to hurry this process, because after the fairly silent examining of their faith, we need to pray to find the most loving way to bring up that their faith could be strengthened.

Through this unusual self-denying love we can silently evaluate one another’s faith. At the same time as this silent examination proceeds, we can openly invite our friends and family members to evaluate our faith and show them that examination of faith is safe and helpful. After hearing requests from us like, “Where do you see my trust in God’s love lacking?”, those in our Christian Inner Circles can see the advantage of examining one another’s faith. Eventually, we can ask the others how comfortable they would be if we suggested improvements in their faith. If they are not certain, we can ask out of curiosity why they would not want helpful suggestions to build their faith. In time, comfort with examining faith will be established that can then last a lifetime because it is being done lovingly in long-lasting relationships.

Remember that examining also means affirming a person’s strong faith. To ignore and not compliment strong faith gives the impression that it is not valuable. Therefore, to point out to a person how strong their faith is in some respect strengthens them for hearing a suggestion of how they might grow in their faith.

To become increasingly more like Jesus and prepare ourselves for heaven, let us have deep, heart-felt concern about the faith of every one of our close Christian friends, family members and spouses. Let’s spend time in prayer asking the Lord to reveal their strong areas of faith that we might affirm them as well as aspects of their faith that are under-developed that we might help them to grow their faith.