Wednesday July 14th, 2010
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Earthly wisdom tells us to follow our hearts. It’s the theme of movies and career changes and not a lot of people argue with that advise. But I remember Jr. High and High School. Following my heart then only got me into trouble. If I let my heart lead, it often wound up broken. In the book of Jeremiah that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the hear, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
If you are always going to go after what makes you feel good, you’re never going to get it, even if you get it. There’s this lie that the devil has been telling for a long time. The American proverb of it is, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” The lie is the god of pleasure. The devil tells us that if we can only get this thing, if we can only do this task, if we can only… then we will feel good. It worked with Eve in the garden, it has translated into the American dream today. If only you work hard and make money, you can move from the poorest of poor to the richest of rich. This is the land of opportunity. You need to help yourself before others will help you. You need to love yourself before you can love others. All these are the different versions of the same lie. They are the lie of an evil heart. An evil heart does not want to believe in God because Jesus says, “pick up your cross and follow me.” (Check out Matthew 16:24) An evil heart is looking for rewards in this lifetime, not the next.
There are lots of “religions” that say you can follow Jesus and still have what you want. They appeal to a large number of people and, especially in the United States, people are becoming consumers of religion instead of being consumed by the Holy Spirit. They act like customers. They expect the church to provide programs where they can meet their spouse or have someone teach their kids how to behave and mind their parents and the payment the church receives is attendance and tithe money. If this church makes them feel guilty, they go find one that’s more “seeker friendly.”
I am ashamed to call myself an American when I see this happening. I have been taught in school that the best type of society is a capitalistic one, but the only “good” government I see in the Bible is the one where people follow God as the king… and that one hasn’t quite happened yet, but it will. I’m not saying that we must make everyone a Christian, (although I would love for that to be true) but I am saying that there is too much world in Christianity today. Instead of following Christ, we decide to follow the world in the name of Christ. We just see what the world does and make our own “Christian” version. Beware of this. It’s the lie that allows you to feel good and not feel guilty about it. It’s your evil heart and that is creating an unbelief in God. God is no longer God, but a banner you wave. You hold debates and concerts that are much like worldly debates and concerts except with no swearing or sex talk. It’s like the best Christians can do is create a PG version of the world. If you believe that, they you are selling yourself short. If anyone who knows me misses the rapture, I want that person to know why I’m gone and he or she is not. I want that to be because I’ve shared with them what is coming and I’ve lived my life in a way where they know that I believe it. My work is not for this world, but for the next. I’m working to give as much opportunity as I can for people to hear the calling of God on their lives and act on it. I must do that “Today” because by tomorrow, I might be gone. And you would be here, Wanda, wishing you did more than add Christianity to your life, but that you had added your life to the body of Christ.
Heaven is real. Hell is real. They both last forever. I know that I’m going to Heaven. I’m sure of it. I know it’s not how much money I have or how nice of a car I drive or how many kids I have. It’s how much I trust God. It’s like I’m on a sinking boat and He’s a life raft. I can jump over board to be rescued by Him, or I can go down with the ship. There’s no half way. I can’t stay with the ship and expect Him to pick me up once it goes down.
So as long as you have a choice, choose Christ. Choose Him today. If you died today, would you go to Heaven? Are you sure? If you say, Yes, and I hope you can, does whatever it is you do all day (for work, after work, on weekends) have any effect in eternity? Compared to the next life (in Heaven or Hell) this life is so short, but it’s so important. In the short 70 something years most people live, they make the decision on where they will spend the rest of eternity. You can’t go looking around for the best deal. There is only one deal. It cost Jesus His life to offer it to you. He asked His father, “If there was any other way,” and the Father still sent Him to the cross. There is no other way. There are different types of churches in every town, but God didn’t tell you to join a church. (I still recommend finding one that teaches the Bible.) He wants you to believe in Him and what He already did on the cross. As long as it is still today, make that decision to follow Him. You may not have tomorrow.
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