I have written before how I believe that we are living close to the end of the world. We can see it, not only in the signs of the world around us, but in the signs of those around us. I believe that one important part of life is preparing ourselves to be citizens of Heaven. We are to overcome temptation and sin in order to be like Jesus. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21). Then, we are to be more like Christ and focus on overcoming and following Him in life.
We are told that we all come short of God's glory. Can any of us truly be like Christ? Surely, no man can equal the greatness of our savior. I will not even pretend that I could become as great as the one who died for my sins. While we may never be able to match Christ, we can emulate Him in every way.
I used to not spend much time with my Bible. I thought that other books were more interesting. However, once I became fully convinced that the Bible is accurate and realized that pretty much every fictional work has been derived from the Bible, I grew much more interested in studying it. The Bible, in short, is an amazing Book. It is truly a gift that many people cast aside or say that they like. But, do you read the Bible? Do you really read it and get to know it?
I have had some problems lately in my own family with people straying from God and going after other religious beliefs. I can not help but feel immense sadness when I think about this. Sadly, this is a result of straying from the Bible, from straying from The Lord. If you leave the Bible behind, you are going to eventually walk away from our Creator. Daily communion and prayer, a lifelong walk with God, is what makes you more like Jesus. We can not hope to become like someone we do not spend time with or do not know well.
When I was young, I grew up as a Christian. We went to church every week, talked about God, worshipped, and lived in a Christian household. Many of the beliefs I learned back then I have found to be unbiblical in nature, but my family tried, and The Lord was with us (I believe that He is with those who seek after Him). We had a close family and life was good. It was a good childhood. Then, one day, we just kind of stopped going to church. We lost sight of our Lord and went through life. Things started to fall apart. Eventually my parents got divorced. Without the Lord in our lives there was chaos. Those years were difficult for us all. The family broke up and I found myself wanting to run away. After I graduated from high school I disappeared one night and took a bus to the west coast, about 1000 miles from where I lived at the time. I decided I would live there as an adult instead. That did not last and I found myself back home. I eventually was married and began to study the Bible deeper. I realized that life had real meaning. However, it would take me over a decade longer to truly walk away from being a part of the world.
I honestly believe if we would have continued to spend time with The Lord, my family would have been better off. One can not hope to live a truly happy life without God in it. We try to replace Him with material possessions, false religions and idols, and entertainment. Those things do not measure up to the promise of a savior who loves us and eternal life. What good are the things of this world? In the end, they only bring us sadness. In the end, we only desire more. Our greed is unstoppable. We become unthankful, thinking about what we lack. Without The Lord in our lives we grasp at anything and everything that we think will bring us happiness. I have long ago learned that anything that is not of God does not bring true happiness.
Many people are turning away from our Creator and instead worshiping the world or false gods and idols. Many people have no clue what danger exists when one steps away from God's side. The world is a terrifying place without our Creator. Many of us can think back to situations in which something horrible almost happened, but some unseen force saved us. Maybe it was a near death experience or some calamity that almost took everything we had. Perhaps it was something that would have left our lives in ruin. I believe that unseen force is none other than our Lord. His hand is there to guide those who love him. That does not mean that bad things never happen to those who follow and love Him. I believe that He also helps us grow through allowing bad things to happen. But, I also believe that He does not let more happen to us than we can handle.
I truly wish that my family did not stop going to church. I know that things would have ended up differently. By leaving faith behind, we start to look for other ways in which we can "improve" our lives. We believe that our life is lacking. Our lives are lacking when we stop walking with Christ. Nothing else can take His place. If you want to truly live a happy life, there is nothing that can replace Jesus. The rewards for following Him and immense - both in this life and in the next. No other man can claim to take away the sins of the world. No other man can give the promise of eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18 NIV)
And a few verses later Jesus continues, saying “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life…” (John 3:36 NIV)
Many people choose not to believe in Jesus as their personal Savior from sin and an eternity in hell. But there is no other way to heaven except through faith in Him. Jesus said,"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)
Jesus died for the sins of every person who ever lived—yours included! That’s how much He loves you. If you believe in Him as your Savior, full forgiveness and salvation in heaven is yours. You don’t receive those gifts by anything you do or don’t do. It’s a free gift, given by grace (undeserved love). The Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)I pray that those who read this blog will grow closer to our Creator. I pray that those who read these words will understand that there is no substitute for the love of Jesus. There is no other life that brings happiness. Most of Jesus' disciples were willing to die for him. And they died in gladness for Him. They followed Him throughout their lives. Paul found it to be an honor to die a martyrs death, hung on the cross, upside down. When you follow Jesus, you will find that calamity in this life does not matter. You will find a peace that nothing else in the world can give you. You will see that the things in life that used to be important to you, or used to bother you, will slowly but surely disappear.
Have you noticed that life is better following Jesus? Have you seen the results of straying away from our Lord? Do you think that the things of this world are truly better than Heaven? Please share your thoughts. May you be blessed by what you have read today.