Matthew 7:14 …few there be that find it.
In December of 2004, I remember seeing on the news that one of my used-to-be favorite guitar players was murdered. I still love to max out the volume and distortion on my amp every once in a while to crank out some of those catchy guitar riffs he came up with. Soon after his death, I remember reading a Guitar World Magazine where many of the popular guitar players said their good-byes to their deceased friend. One that I don’t think I’ll ever forget said this: “Rest in peace, bro…you’re in God’s tavern now.”
The second commandment says this: “Do not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in Heaven…” I never really though about it until recently just how much this commandment is broken. Pretty much everybody believes in God, but which one? Is it the God of the Holy Bible that collects dust on our table tops and shelves? Or is it the image of someone or something in Heaven that we’ve made up because we never actually pick up those Bibles and read them? People don’t like the notion of Hell…so why not just make up an image of a God in your mind who would never allow any person to go there? People don’t like the notion of changing their behavior…so they make up a God who allows them to live any way they please, then still be allowed access to “a better place.”
There are a couple of verses that I want us to really take a look at. John 14:6 says “I am the way the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me.” As much as I’d like to believe that one day I’ll meet this famous guitar player and he’ll teach me some cool stuff on the guitar, it probably isn’t going to happen. Everything about the guy portrayed the “acts of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19…sexual immorality, hatred, fits of rage, selfish ambition, and drunkenness just to name a few. Remember, the end of the verse says “those who live like this WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God.”
Listen, I hate writing this. I feel like I am judging the guy, that is NOT my intent. I have done everything that I mentioned he did. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I USED to live like that. I am in no way, shape, or form any better than him or anybody else. The only difference is that I’ve placed my complete trust in Jesus Christ. He made the way! He changed me. He gets all the credit. I’ve done nothing but choose to follow Him. I just find that the more I hang out with Him, the more I fall in love with Him and want so badly to please Him! This is how I know that I am a new creation…I never wanted that before!
I think it is interesting that everybody knows John 3:16. Nobody knows John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” Once again, I wish that wasn’t in there, but it is. By all indications, this guitar hero never put his trust in Jesus Christ. I hope he did, but his death should be a reminder that we will all meet death one day. We will all stand before the king and give account for what we DID and the way we LIVED! His death, or anybody’s death is not a time to make a false god in our minds who will allow us to join him despite the fact that we keep living any way we want. Don’t get me wrong, not one single person is going into Heaven because he or she was a good person on Earth. The bible is clear…NOBODY is good (Mark 10:18) The only reason any person will set foot in Heaven is because of Jesus and what He did on the cross. It is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8) But, a gift can be rejected. God offers the gift, but the majority of the people aren’t accepting it, much less being transformed by it!
I realize that we want our loved ones to go to a better place. We want to rationalize their lives by looking at how they loved their friends and family. Check out Matthew 5:46, it says that EVERYBODY loves those who love them back and there is NO reward for loving those who turn around and love you right back. If you are reading this devotional, learn to love your enemies. Learn to love and pray for those who do you wrong. Learn to forgive no matter what. Become self-disciplined. Display self-control. Let your language be pure. You absolutely can NOT do these things unless you have the Holy Spirit living inside your heart! Ask Him to help you. Then, when you draw your final breath, people won’t have to wonder where you are or conjure up some false god who will excuse your denial of Him. They’ll know!
I’m sorry this is so hardcore! I promise I do not write this with a light heart, for it is broken for the lost.