I don’t know you or who you are or what you’ve been through, but I am concerned for your soul. And because I am concerned I’m going to share this with you.
I once heard a staggering statistic that something like 80% of the United States population believes in life after death. But very few are doing anything to prepare for it. The reasons for this are wide and varied. Some say there’s not much of anything we can do. For others, it’s a matter of ignorance. I used to be one of them. I believed in God. But the word “believe” that so many people use today is no different than if I were to say “I believe in the planet Pluto.” The statement carries no power in it. It doesn’t transform who I am. I am merely stating a fact that is so inconsequential, that if I were to say “I don’t believe in Pluto” it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in the way I live my daily life. So there’s something wrong with our understanding of what it means to believe.
True belief is a life-transforming experience. If you truly “believe” that your eternity depends on what you do with this life, don’t you think you would be using as much time as possible to prepare for the next? Or are you so convinced as to gamble your eternal soul?
The Word of God teaches that Jesus Christ was God’s perfect revelation to humanity. Not only by his words on “how we should live” but by “the way he lived.”
But you might say: I know Christ! I was raised as a Christian. I even went to Christian school, so why preach to me!
Attending a Christian school or being reared in a moral environment doesn’t make you a Christian. You are not born a Christian, you are “born again” a Christian. It is a choice you must make, not a right.
But you might say: I’m a good person. I don’t murder. I don’t steal. I don’t lie.
That won’t do it either because you’re living under the “Law of the Old Testament.” Furthermore, Jesus makes no distinction between murder and lying—to him they are equally wrong because they both have the same penalty: Damnation.
Knowing Jesus begins with understanding who we are and what he did for us. We are all sinners. But Jesus died for our sin. So saying you’re a good person is akin to calling God a liar. He wouldn’t have needed to send his Son to die if he thought you were “good enough” to get into heaven on your own merits. And tragically, for so many people, it ends here. They hope they’ll be handed the keys to heaven. They think they can’t know for sure so they quit seeking. You hear it all the time in popular culture. When someone dies, it is automatically assumed they are in heaven. Rock stars are playing guitars in heaven. Drinkers are getting drunk in heaven. Car racers are racing in the clouds. In fact, heaven for most people is a place where you can continue to do whatever it was you loved in life, but independent of God. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus said the kingdom of God is not “meat and drink” (earthly things) but “righteous and peace” (heavenly things).
Ok, so you say you can live with that.
Sure you can, but will you live for it? See, if you don’t pursue Jesus in this life, if it isn’t your heart’s desire to follow Jesus and accept him as your Lord and Savior, what makes you think you’ll want to know Him in the next life?” You’re only fooling yourself and putting your eternity at risk.
Knowing Jesus begins here. Being saved from sin is about putting your life in his hands, and no longer pursuing selfish goals, but pursuing a life in submission to Him. It’s recognizing that his death on the cross was an event that must radically reshape the way you live, act, and think. This will ultimately end up changing your character. You’ll start taking pleasure in the things you used to avoid, and avoiding the things you once loved.
Well, you say: what will “true” Christianity cost me?
It will cost you everything. It will cost you your freedom. It will cost you relationships with friends and family who live any-old way they want. It will require you to put to death the lusts that control your life. You see, to be a Christian isn’t a birth right, it’s a choice to be obedient.
Think about this: If you claim to love someone and you never spent time with that person except when you wanted something or needed a favor, don’t you think that person would start questioning your motives? It’s the same with God. Saying we love Him and “loving” him are two separate things. Loving God means we are actively (daily) dedicating ourselves to Him for his glory, learning of Him, praying to Him, allowing our behaviors to be subject to Him.
Too many of us with Judeo-Christian upbringings have no clue what the Bible says about the afterlife and what’s required of us to get there. Many accept the Christian “Faith” as a matter of “faith” because it’s been handing down to us. Our parents “accepted” it. So we “accept” it. But with that kind of thinking, it may as well just be a political party or a social club without deep meaning.
I used to think that I’d be judged for the good and bad I did in my life. It wasn’t until I gave my life to Jesus and read his Word that I discovered the requirement for eternal life begins by accepting Jesus’ free gift of salvation. THIS IS WONDERFUL NEWS!! He is constantly here to forgive us of all sin and unrighteousness and put us on a new path. In the beginning, it might be painful. It might not agree with your desire to continue to party and fornicate and lie and cheat and hate and drink in excessive proportions. The Bible says man has two natures: the flesh which pulls us like a magnet to sin and the spirit which longs to be in service to God.
BUT WHAT IS IT IN THIS LIFE THAT YOU’RE LIVING FOR?
What fool’s gold has this life offered you that has deceived you into complacency? Doesn’t anything that’s worth obtaining come with a price? Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew 7:13,14: “the way to salvation is straight and narrow and only a few find it. But the way to damnation is broad and smooth and many go that way!” Scary words, but true.
I want to invite you to get to know Jesus. There is so much love in Him. There is so much peace and forgiveness in Him. God looked upon humanity and granted us dignity and internal worth. No matter what you think of yourself today, you are the most precious of all his creation and he wants to spend eternity with you. He didn’t come to this world to destroy you, but to give you life. You are the only thing that will destroy “you” and forever take yourself out of his presence. Stop living for this life, and begin today by living for the next. If you’ve read this far, you can rest assure, he’s knocking at the door of your heart.
Whatever your reason is for coming to Jesus, remember that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy the way he does. I’m living proof of that. Start realizing that God created you with an inherent desire to know him. You can either answer that call or deny it. You will wind up 20, 30, 40, even 60 years into this life and be missing out on the beauty of his friendship, trading it in for a mere moment of pleasure. And why? Because you see most of your friends and family members doing it? Maybe there’s that one Christian you’ve known in your life. And you’ve proclaimed “well, it’s good for him.” Newsflash: It’s good for you too. Jesus is your only means of escape from this world.
The Bible says God is not mocked. That means, he doesn’t say one thing only to go back on His Word. Furthermore, the Bible says “Whatever a man sows, he will reap.” Don’t believe the lie that you can live however you choose and God will exonerate you on Judgment Day and say “that’s ok, I’ll let you in any way.” You will surely be separated forever.
Christianity isn’t an intellectual experience, though we can argue the case for God. It isn’t an emotional experience, though we can surely feel passionate about the question of God. Christianity is a faith experience. This means, regardless of how I think or feel, the truth of God’s word doesn’t change for me. Putting our faith in Jesus means, regardless of the external circumstances or internal thought life, we run to His Word and bind ourselves to its precepts always.
The choice to turn your life around to Jesus is yours. Find yourself a Bible-believing Church. Make an effort to know God. Get to know other Christians who love the Lord and can’t stop talking about him. This is what fellowship is going to be like in heaven. There are no bowling alleys or golf courses or shopping malls or race tracks and quarter-mile strips, only the Love of a Holy God who wants your friendship.