The Destination Defines The Journey
One of the first decisions that you make about a vacation (perhaps after picking the date) is the destination. Where is it that you and your family want to vacation? Then, after you make this decision, you make the necessary reservations, plan what you will do in this place during your stay, get directions, and make any other preparations that are necessary. When it is time to leave, you follow the directions that take you to this place. You do this because the destination that you have set defines the journey. This same thing is true spiritually. The destination that you set defines your journey through life.
1) Only two possible destinations. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus wants you to look down the road you are walking on in your life and see where it leads; and He wants you to choose the path that leads to everlasting life in Heaven. If you are walking on a path in life that is focused on the physical pleasures, treasures, and relationships of life, you are headed for an eternity in Hell. But, if you are walking on a path in life that is focused on serving God according to God’s instructions in the Bible, you are headed for an eternity in Heaven! So, you must choose your destination wisely and adjust your path accordingly.
2) A contrast between two people. A good way to illustrate the truth that the destination defines the journey is to consider a contrast between two people. First, consider a man named Demas. 2 Timothy 4:10 says, “for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica.” Then, concerning himself, the apostle Paul said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Demas, apparently, changed his destination mid-journey. He went from being on the path that leads to Heaven to walking the path that leads to destruction. However, the apostle Paul was so focused on getting to his destination in Heaven that he willingly endured all that was necessary to serve Jesus Christ faithfully (see Galatians 2:20)!
3) Don’t get caught up in the journey. It’s not as if people choose to go to Hell instead of Heaven because they desire punishment more than a great reward. Instead, they just get caught up in their journey in life. It’s like someone who sets out to go on a great vacation, but never gets to that place because of all the sightseeing pit stops that are made along the way. Only, in the case of life, these sinful “pit stops” have serious consequences. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So, don’t be like Demas who got distracted by the journey in life and took his eyes off the destination. This will result in great punishment.
4) Stay focused on the destination. Instead of getting distracted by all the things that you see as you travel through life that can pull you away from God and put you on the road that leads to eternal destruction, stay focused on the crown of life that will be given to the faithful in Heaven. Like the apostle Paul, you must be willing to deny yourself of some temporary pleasures and treasures along the way. But, the reward will be far greater than any of these temporary things. Paul said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
The destination you set will define your journey through life. If you determine to make Heaven your eternal home (through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ), you will sacrifice as much as is necessary to serve God faithfully. However, if you have not firmly set your destination as Heaven, you may become easily distracted by the journey and spend eternity in Hell one Day.