Heaven without Jesus would be a hell
It is possible to love the gifts without loving the giver.
I wonder if you have considered what heaven without Jesus would be like? Just think about those streets of gold, the leaves of the tree for the healing of nations, the absence of death (as if those things could exist without his presence!) But no Jesus there.
Friends, it would be a hell. One of the things I pity about many of our secular stories is that they have no place for God. They might even create some utopia, as they see it, but there is an absence of a place at the table for the one who is goodness itself. Unlike those writers that leave the top table set, as it were and do not make us out to be gods. So, what story are we writing? Is it Christianity, focussed on God's gifts without God? Is it love, without the one who is love? Creation, without creator?
Heaven is beautiful because of whose heaven it is.
As followers of Jesus, the thing that we want more than anything is him. He is the one who has won our hearts, conquered our sins, granted us life from his Father, carried our prayers and sent his angels as ministering spirits. We pray to him and enjoy him each day. So the thought of not actually having him in heaven is utterly intolerable to us. It would leave us with an ugly void. A place where people have their needs met outside of Christ. And that is the pathway to hell.
Friends, let us encourage one another, that the reason we press on is not because of the stuff God gives us. He is not the best insurance policy, offering the greatest conditions for the final day. The Living God has brought us to himself. He has invited us to share in his wonderful life. We can have that today by getting to know Christ and as we abide in him, we can grow in relationship.
I encourage you today to make the Biblical Christ your great focus. Sit at his feet as Mary did. Grab ahold of him as the 'sinful woman' did in Luke 7. Walk with him as the disciples did on the road to Emmaus. And never let him go.