rebelling against low expectations

Would You Like Heaven If Jesus Wasn’t There?


“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have Heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with Heaven, if Christ was not there?” – John Piper, “God Is the Gospel”

Are you stunned?

Convicted? Speechless? Deep in thought?

I was when I read this.

What was your answer? Don’t you dare lie to yourself.

I think that most of us read the above quote and would love to be able to answer, “No.” Sadly, this is not the case for nearly all of us.

Why is it not? Why, as Christians, are we unable to say, “No, a Heaven without Christ would not satisfy me”?

We’ve lost sight of what Heaven really is.

Or, maybe for some of us, we’ve lost sight of Heaven altogether. And if we’ve lost sight of Heaven, it’s possible that we’ve lost sight of Christ.

As Randy Alcorn puts it, “We cannot set our eyes on Christ without setting our eyes on Heaven, and we cannot set our eyes on Heaven without setting our eyes on Christ. … [I]t is not only Christ, but ‘things above’ we are to set our minds on.”

This idea of looking toward Heaven essentially captures the image of a runner charging toward the finish line, never taking his eyes off of the mark that he is striving to reach. If we take our eyes off of Heaven and, more importantly, our loving Savior who is waiting for us, our lives begin to careen out of control.

It is our centered focus on God and the finish line that should motivate us to get out of bed in the morning.

Focusing our thoughts and energy on God and consequently on the finish line of our life race can pull us through hard days, give us hope in the rough times of life, and provide us with a reason to go on.

Without a proper goal, our feet will wind away from the straight and narrow path that God has intended for us to traverse.

However, there are many misconceptions about Heaven, and I’m not merely talking about the harps and clouds misconceptions.

I’m talking about the thought that going to Heaven will be good because we will see our loved ones. Seeing our loved ones in Heaven will certainly be awesome, but that’s not why Heaven is going to be good.

It’s going to be AMAZING because we will get to finally be with our amazing Savior, Jesus Christ.

Before you stop reading, let me just challenge you to remember something, or rather envision something. I want you to picture what God is going to say when you meet in Heaven. Is He going to tell you a well-deserved, “I’m disappointed in you”?

Or, will you strive to live your life to the fullest for Him so that He may be glorified? If so, when you get to Heaven, it’ll all be worth it when God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

That’s what I’m living for. What are you living for?

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!

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Photo courtesy of Lauren Rushing and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Christian Hanna

is a seventeen year-old blogger, novelist, and pastor's son who struggles with every temptation common to teenagers but is seeking to glorify God in everything. He spends his time writing for and co-directing "The Heart of Teens", playing various musical instruments, and working at an elementary school after-school program.


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  • Actually, my immediate answer was no. Let me explain. First of all, I don’t think Heaven without Jesus is Heaven. Heaven is the kingdom of God, and without Jesus, it wouldn’t exist. anther reason why I wouldn’t be satisfied is because without Jesus, all the good things couldn’t exist. It wouldn’t be perfect, and it would actually be horrible and dark, because just like how darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good. Without Jesus, there is no real good, so it would be evil.
    So that’s why my answer is no.

  • My answer: Heck no. I can’t imagine doing anything for eternity except worshipping Jesus. I mean think about it, if you played every video game, watched every movie, and read every book, you’d still be done in like a hundred thousand years. Haha. So no, I’d be bored to tears after a few thousand years (or significantly sooner haha).

  • No, no and no! Jesus is the one that makes heaven complete! One wouldnt be able to enjoy Heaven to its fullest if the creator of it wasnt there! It would be boring, and incomplete. Its like if you had all the pieces of the puzzle exept the thing that holds it together. To be honest thats what I am most exited about, meeting Jesus. Im looking forward to meet that person that saved me when no one could, that wiped the tears off my eyes when no one did, that hold my life together when nothing could. Thats the person I want to ultimately meet 🙂

  • Wow! I cannot believe that some people think that Heaven would be okay and/or joyful without God! God created us so that one day we might join Him in Heaven for our pleasure and His own. Heaven wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for God’s tremendous love for us and our presence. Heaven is a paradise that God created for all people. Look at it in this way: God is our Father. We know that our parents must go to work in order to provide for us. And God does go to work in His Heavenly way. And at the end of the day, when work is over, the family gathers and shares what happened throughout their day. They all gather in one place to share their joy. You could look at Heaven as being the living room that God created as a gathering space. Without a living room, there would be no happiness to share!

  • Dude well done! You hit that perfectly. Jesus should be our focus but when we lose that we careen out of control! Thanks for the reminder! That has been on my mind lately.. a lot. thanks for covering it 🙂

  • wow! That’s sth l have never had in my mind! Good point! Thank you for bringing this in front of me, and making me think about it seriously! l feel l need some guidance now… Anyway, thank you!

    • You’re welcome, and thank you so much for reading! I’m thrilled to hear that it has challenged you! There are related posts to this one on my blog, “The Heart of Teens” ( Feel free to check them out and allow the Lord to be your guidance.

  • I can honestly say that my first reaction was “no!”. I thought about is some more, and I came to the same conclusion “no!.” I am so happy that God has tenderized my heart to Him!

    P. S.: I have been busy with organizing my thoughts for a book I am going to write. Feel free to email/contact me at ([email protected]).

      • Hard to say, but I think, I have landed on the topic of repentance, and what it means in our relationship with Christ as well as with other people.

        P. S.: Sorry for the late reply. I have been buzzy with school.

    • Thanks for being honest Josiah. When I honestly think about the question, I have to answer “yes”. If I already have unlimited pleasure and joy, then what more could Jesus add to the equation? Please help me with this.

  • Wow, this was thought-provoking! But I think I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to be in a heaven-like place if Jesus was not there. Relationships, material possessions, fleeting emotions–they may tempt us, but only Jesus can fill, satisfy, complete us. 🙂 Thank you for this, Christian!

  • I appreciate what you said and the challenges to our way of thinking. Many of us have most of what we want now in this life so there isn’t a real concern to look forward to heaven. But for myself, I have learned be it friends, success, money, peaceful life, that nothing amounts to anything without Christ. Everything is meaningless in this world without Christ, as it would be meaningless in Heaven without Him.

    Keep up your good writing. Blessings!


  • honestly, the thought of heaven has always scared me out of my wits. I honestly feel like this is something I get seriously attacked on. Like I don’t even like to think about heaven or hear people talk about it. I always tune out or hold the phone two feet away from my ear when people talk about the rapture or heaven. Any helpful thoughts on this? This is wrong and I know I need help.

    • Hello Liana,

      I understand. I too have struggled with being terrified of heaven. But I would second Christian’s question. Is there anything in particular that frightens you about Heaven?

        • Hello Liana,

          I see that some others have already shared some excellent thoughts, but I still wanted to reply because I know from experience that this is a very real, very hard issue to struggle with. I feel your pain 🙂

          I agree that things we can’t comprehend (like “forever”) and unknown things are terrifying. When you said “I don’t even like to think about heaven or hear people talk about it,” I remember feeling the exact same way.

          One of the things I realized through my struggle with this issue was that when God said there would be no more sadness or pain (Revelation 21:4), He meant it whether I believed Him or not. I always thought that yes, heaven should be a nice place, but what if I was different from everyone else and didn’t particularly enjoy streets of gold? Or watching 24 elders fall down around Christ’s throne 24/7? I like the things I know. I don’t like new things or unknown things. It was almost like I was thinking, yes, God said I wouldn’t be sad in heaven, but what if He doesn’t know what makes me happy? What if He thinks I’ll be happy in heaven just because it’s so beautiful? And then I realized…He totally does know what makes me happy. And when He said that there would be no more sadness or pain, He knew I dislike new things. That does not affect His promise.

          The attitude I have now is one of almost curiosity. I’m curious how He’s going to keep this promise when I am so afraid of the unknown. But He made a promise and He is fully able of keeping it despite my fearing nature. At the end of the day, you just have to trust Him. I know that’s a tall order, but remember that He knows that it is hard for us. He is merciful to our doubting little hearts. Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” And Psalm 40:17 says, “But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me.” God knows we struggle with these things, and He doesn’t condemn us for it. He is merciful and He pities us. Ask Him to help you through this struggle.

          Liana, I have had a lot of trouble wording this the way I want. I feel like it could come across as preachy or as a personal bio. I hope it doesn’t. I shared my personal thoughts only because I hoped that they might in some way help you. I realize that you may be struggling differently from how I did, and I realize that I don’t “have the answer.” I am praying for you that you would find peace. Keep fighting, girl!

          In Christ,

    • Is it the fact that we’ll be there forever? I’ve always wondered what is forever? We’re here to help @Liana Grace

      • I guess so. I’ve always liked knowing that there’s a beginning and end. I would probably be happy if i was told when I will die. Then I have everything figured out and no uncertainties. 🙂 The fact that there is ‘no end’ is a very frightening thought. any advice or thoughts? Thanks so much, Gabrielle!

        • Yeah, that would be nice to know. I think……not sure really. *uncertain look on face* 😉

          Has been the same for me too. I’m still not sure if I grasp the whole ‘no end’ thing. It’s weird to think about.

          Wish I had some awesome revealing advice for you, but I don’t. The only thing I’d say is that when we all get to heaven we won’t think the way we do now, so by then our worries won’t even be anymore. Too busy walking around heaven and worshiping God. Holy, holy, holy!!! It’s going to be awesome.!!! *in awe and wonder* Instead of trying to figure out the forever, no end thing, just focus on God, and our mission or purpose while we are still here. Hope that helps some!!

          Oh, just had one more thought: I think some of us dread leaving here because we don’t want to leave our loved ones, which isn’t bad. Then there are some of us who are just plain afraid of dying or what not. As Christians we want not to fear death, ’cause “…to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 8:15)

          • That was really encouraging and helpful! I guess a lot of it just comes down to trusting God. Something I’m not very good at because of past experiences. I just wish I could actually “look forward” to heaven. Thanks so much!

          • Liana, I just have one or two thoughts on your comments… I think everyone fears uncertainty, even though we are commanded in Philippians, I think, to “be anxious for nothing”. Then, I look at that verse and other similar ones and I freak out because…. I’m still scared about coming events (such as death)!! And I wonder why I don’t always have that peace that passes all understanding. All I can do is pray that God will give me the peace that can only come from Him. I don’t have everything figured out, I’m still scared, but I now remember more often than I used to that God has got it covered…. The cliche phrase is true (and you might hate me for using this overused phrase)…. “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.”

            I’ve been praying for you, Liana, since I saw your comment about a month ago… I pray that God gives you peace 🙂

    • I am scared of the pain involved in death, because it hurts.

      I am not scared of death, because Jesus defeats death and gives to all those that put faith in Him, Heaven.

      I am not scared of Heaven, because Jesus will be there.

  • Great article! Thank you so much for writing! 🙂

    People have shared a lot of awesome thoughts! I agree, nothing–no matter how perfect paradise is–can compare to Christ. Ultimately, since we were created for Him to be satisfied in Him, we can never truly be satisfied by anything else.

    Again, thanks for writing! 🙂

  • Really challenging thoughts there. I think this has a lot to do with the way we represent our faith to others as well. Too often we forget to share our passion for Jesus in the way we talk about heaven and eternal life.

    Thanks for writing. 🙂

  • Thank you for directing my eyes to Christ. You’re right Heaven is nothing without Christ. I would answer yes to John Piper’s question, but after reading this article and thinking about the Bible. I wouldn’t want Jesus/Heaven any other way than He has already perfectly planned and created. (I also love your courtesy to respond to every commenter. You’re the first one to ever do that from what I can see.)

  • WOW!! I needed to hear this!! God’s been speaking and I really need to respond to Him. This put the icing on the cake for me!! Thanks so much for writing Christian!!

    “It is our centered focus on God and the finish line that should motivate us to get out of bed in the morning. Focusing our thoughts and energy on God and consequently on the finish line of our life race can pull us through hard days, give us hope
    in the rough times of life, and provide us with a reason to go on.” – the highlight for me.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →