We had no difficulty whatsoever getting into the Bahamas. We had one passport check, we waited an hour for our luggage to arrive, and we were off! Leaving this beautiful country, however, was a completely different story!
First we had the usual baggage check, after which we had to carry all of our luggage to an identity check. Here we were permitted to drop our belongings on a conveyor belt, and we could only hope that the belt was not heading to an incinerator!
A Bahamian security check later, we were facing long lines at US Immigration where our passports were minutely examined. After this, we had to go through another security check, this time conducted by the US. I guess they were concerned that the Bahamians had overlooked something!
With our shoes back on, we thought we could head directly to our plane, however three more checks were expecting us: a gate check, a Bahamian pre-boarding check and a U.S. pre-boarding check. No wonder our plane tickets were so expensive! When we finally sat in our plane seats, we couldn’t help but wonder if we were on the right plane. All these check points had made our head spin!
It is true that sometimes the way to heaven also seems confusing. So many hindrances come our way, trying to prevent us from attaining our destination. But in all reality the way is easier than we may think. It’s just that we let our circumstances distract us from our destination!
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)
When we start to think that it is all about us, then we are headed in the wrong direction. That is when we are confronted by a myriad of check points that stamp the passport of our life with the words FAILURE and NOT APPROVED! We battle sinful temptations, and they seem to be overwhelming us, conquering the core of our soul, as they stick their nasty heads into every orifice of our lives. Relationships seem to sizzle out, growing icy cold, which leads to unforgiveness, divorce and alienation. “How can this be? I am trying to head in the right direction! Why is this happening to me?”
When we think it is all about us, it is completely normal to emphasize the “I” and the “me”, and follow “religious” dogma, rules and regulations to obtain heaven. It is also completely normal to look down at others who are not performing as well as – well let us be frank here – as well as “us”! But woe to us, when it is the other way around and others are criticising us!
Is it possible we are focussing on the wrong person?
“He (Jesus) told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'” (Luke 18:9-13 The Message)
Notice how the Pharisee stresses the “I” and the tax man rather stresses “God”. Who went home justified?
“Jesus commented, ‘This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.'” (Luke 18:14 The Message)
My passport permitted me to pass every check point at the airport without too much hassle. But was it because of my picture, or maybe my name? Would I have been able to pass and board the plane as easily if I had an Iranian passport or even a Cuban passport? Isn’t it the word “Canadian” that let me through every hindrance on my way to the plane?
The same is true with our passport to heaven. Our name is valueless! All of our good deeds will never obtain us salvation! However Jesus’ name, the Name of the One who covers our heavenly passport with His blood, is what permits us access to the heavenly realm!
“Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.” (Eph 2:8-10 The Message)
It is not about us, it’s about Jesus! If we do not have victory over sin, is it possible that we rely more on ourselves rather than on Jesus? If relationships break apart around us, who is our emphasis, “I” or Jesus?
Only One can guarantee us freedom: the One who is called “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 NIV)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36-37 NIV)
Only through Jesus can we be unhindered in our walk towards our heavenly destination!
“May I see your passport?”
“You have more than one? Please step aside…”
(To access the entire “Heavenly Hash” devotional series, please click here.“