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I donít think Iím going to heaven. How can I stop this feeling?

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I donít think Iím going to heaven. How can I stop this feeling?


Steve Answers:

You’re asking a serious question—one that many young people (and adults) ask! In just a few words you get right to the point. My response will take a few more words.

Two key words you used are “think” and “feeling.” You don’t “think” you’re going to heaven, and you want to stop this “feeling.” I wouldn’t want that feeling either!

First of all, let’s consider your feelings. They are real. They are yours. They come from somewhere. They have lasted long enough for you to want a change.

Feelings are part of who a person is. Some people let their feelings dictate everything they do. If they feel like doing something, they just do it. If they don’t feel like doing something, they simply don’t do it. Other people are just the opposite. They deny their feelings, perhaps because they know that feelings often change, or maybe they don’t trust their feelings.

Neither extreme is a good way to relate to your feelings. There’s another way. Listen to your feelings, because they are part of who you are; but don’t let them dominate you, because they are only a part of who you are. Feelings are an important element in a much bigger picture.

Imagine that you get so angry at somebody that you actually want to kill that person! Feelings can get that intense! But that doesn’t mean you do it just because you feel that way. Or imagine that somebody you don’t know very well makes you so happy that you say you’re willing to do anything for that person. That’s not very smart, is it?

On the other hand, if you’ve done something wrong and you feel guilty about it, you should have feelings of guilt! Guilt and shame and remorse are all bad feelings that typically come to us when we do something we wish we wouldn’t have done. That’s when it’s “good” to have “bad” feelings! We may need to apologize, ask for forgiveness, repair the damage we caused, or simply ask for mercy. We might not feel like doing that because it might embarrass us or make us feel vulnerable. But it’s the right thing to do, and doing so can make things right, and the bad feelings can dissipate or actually vanish. It feels so good to be forgiven! But what about your question of going to heaven? How can a person know whether or not they will go to heaven? Jesus told Nicodemus: “Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NLT).1 Just being born on this planet doesn’t get a person to heaven. In fact, because of what happened in the Garden of Eden, we’re all messed up and have absolutely no chance of ever getting to heaven (see Psalm 51:4 and Romans 3:23). Now, that can cause a feeling of depression!
But the good news stands in contrast to that. According to Romans 3:24: “By the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free” (TEV).2 That’s God’s promise. When you believe it, your feelings can change drastically—to joy and celebration! As Jesus told Nicodemus: “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:6, 7, NLT).

Some people think this sounds “too good to be true.” But it is true! The devil is certain to remind you of your natural, selfish bent that makes you feel that you don’t deserve this. Actually, you don’t deserve it! It’s an incredible gift from God!

Instead of arguing with the devil, I suggest you turn to Scripture. For example,
2 Corinthians 5:15 reads: “Christ did die for all of us. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised to life for us” (CEV).3

So what do you do if you still have feelings that you won’t go to heaven? You’ve asked for forgiveness (probably needed throughout your life). You’ve accepted Christ’s gift of salvation in which you are “born again” by the Holy Spirit, who starts to live in you. Instead of living only for yourself, you now live for Jesus, who died for you. And you do this from the power the Holy Spirit gives you. It’s awesome!

Heaven begins right now for the person who is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Of course, things will be much more glorious when Jesus returns and takes us to heaven. But because we have Jesus within us right now, we do everything we can to claim turf for His kingdom right now! If you wonder what that looks like, read the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and start living that way!

You will continue to need God’s Holy Spirit in your life to live for God, which is what heaven is all about. Start your heavenly life now. It gets better and better, no matter what happens!

1Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
2Bible texts credited to TEV are from the Good News Bible—Old Testament: Copyright © American Bible Society 1976, 1992; New Testament: Copyright © American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.
3Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.



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