Not everyone that saith to me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21
There is this thing happening right now within Christianity . . . at least American Christianity. Maybe it is just me, but I have seen it a lot these past few weeks. The thing is this: Some sort of belief that in order to belong to God, we don’t have to do anything.
I read this story and I’ve been searching for it, but I can’t find it again. It is the story of this little boy who goes to a preacher and asks, “What can I do to be saved?” The preacher simply responds, “Nothing . . . Jesus has already done everything required on the cross.” As silly as that sounds, there are people that 100% believe this. I had a friend tell me that a friend was arguing with him who believed that every person was going to heaven regardless of how he or she lived their lives. Think about it . . . If God just let everyone into heaven, sin would destroy it just like it did a once perfect earth.
Salvation is a gift (Romans 6:23). But I’ve seen gifts get rejected. In fact, I recently tried to give a gift only to receive it right back. Jesus offers the gift of eternal life every day. So many people say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Right off the bat, we both know that you and I must do something for salvation. We know that we must admit that we are full of sin and the road that we are on is the wrong one. Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there at. But narrow is the way and strait is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) I’ve never been to a funeral where the dead person wasn’t assumed to be “in a better place.” According to this, only a few of them actually are.
Next, we must believe. Do I even need to quote John 3:16? Believe has two definitions in the English language. One is to “hold as your opinion; think or suppose.” That sounds to me like the way the overwhelming majority of American Christians treat the word believe. The other definition is “accept as true; feel sure the truth of.” Those are different enough that I think there should be two different words for those very different definitions.
Here is the part that nobody seems to like nowadays. After you receive the gift of salvation, and you believe that Jesus is who He says He is . . . you’ve got to live for Him. There is some sort of weird notion out there that a person can receive Jesus as their savior but reject Him as the Lord of their life. I’m sorry . . . you can’t. I’ve talked to adult after adult and kid after kid, most of them are not using these words, but are basically saying, “I get it, I need Jesus, but He is going to ask me to give up my favorite sins . . . and I’m not willing to do that.” Do you remember the rich young ruler? He believed everything like we think one is supposed to believe, yet he walked away sad. Why? Because he loved money more than Jesus. Assuming nothing changed after that encounter with Jesus, will he still find himself in heaven? What is your honest answer?
Here is the thing . . . the devil wants you to do something. He wants you to give your life to do evil. He wants you to lie. He wants you to live for yourself. He wants you to spend your day making things as easy, as comfortable, and as pleasurable for yourself as possible. He wants you to be sexually immoral. He wants you having kids outside of marriage. He wants you high on drugs. He wants you addicted to alcohol. He wants you to have road rage. He wants you to berate that waitress for not keeping your tea glass full. He wants you to complain about everything. He wants you to look around at others who are getting way more for doing way less and despise them. He wants you lazy. He wants you suffering. He wants you to be unforgiving, and he wants you to never, ever spend time getting to know Jesus by reading the Bible and talking to Him in prayer. And . . . if he can get you to do all of this while calling yourself a Christian, then he is more than victorious.
How is the devil doing in your life?
How is he doing in the lives of most people that you know?
Jesus came that we might have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). To have that life, we must be obedient to Him. I don’t know about you, but He has asked me to do things . . . hard things that I didn’t want to do. I have even complained to Him and told Him in prayer that I felt like He ripped me off because doing those hard things were so unpleasant. Then time went by. Then I saw what He saw when He first asked me to obey. Then I thanked Him. Then I fell in love with Him. Now all I want to do is give Him my best.
Lord, please help revive true Christianity in America again. Make Americans basically good again. I believe at one time most Americans cared for others at least as much as they cared for themselves. Today, all I see is looking out for number one. I can be that way too. Snap me out of it, Lord. Make me holy. Help me point others to You by the way I live my life. Send revival, Lord. Send true revival to a rapidly deteriorating United States of America. Let it start with me. Amen.