I have some very sobering news to share…
I am going to die…
I’m not sure when and I’m hoping not any time soon. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is one day I am going to die and then that’s it (at least in terms of this temporary realm). The reason I share this is because we oftentimes live every day as if the next is promised and as if we aren’t wasting away with each passing moment. A wise man once said (paraphrasing) if you live with the end in mind you’ll get the accurate approach to life. As a young black male, I have one of the shortest (relatively speaking) life expectancies. According to statistics, I probably have about 50 years left of life. THATS NOT A LONG TIME! When considering the fact that within that 50 years ANYTHING could happen that could cause me to lose my life, that gets a little more troubling to think about. With such little time left and the possibility of that being cut short at any time what’s the only sensible thing for an individual like me (or anyone else) to do? Start investing NOW in what is to come AFTER.
Eternal life is promised to the followers of Christ who accept the free gift of salvation by faith in Jesus and repent of their sins and live a renewed life. Coupled with the espousal of my faith, God expects an enactment where there is clear evidence of fruit bearing. At the end of it all, I am promised a place in paradise with my Father which no one can take away from me. THATS the ultimate security blanket. That’s what’s afforded to everyone through faith in Jesus, and faith in Jesus alone (according to Christian orthodoxy and not off-shoot “Christian” sect false doctrine and theology). This is why I live with ZERO INSECURITY in this present world. Just as the Apostle Paul said, if I live I can help others grow in God or if I die I go on to be with the Lord, so whether I live or die there is gain. I don’t intend for this to be long so I’ll wrap it up here. In closing, I want you to begin to think about the end. Will the only thing you’ll be able to say is “I lived a good life now it’s time to pass with zero hope of anything after” or will you be able to say “I followed Jesus with all my heart and now that I am passing I have full assurance and hope that my life to come will be the best ever!” Let that sit and marinate.
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
It’s commonly believed that God and Christianity are anti-sex. It’s actually quite the opposite under the correct confines. Within the marriage covenant, sex is not only permitted but it is celebrated and encouraged! From the foundations of the earth, God ordained the marriage covenant between man and woman to protect us from the negative effects of sexual immorality and giving ourselves to multiple people. It is a beautiful and holy thing that has been tainted by our modern way of thinking, which has been largely fueled by society. God is a good Father that is not trying to withhold our “pleasure” and “fun” from us; He is protecting us from abusing pleasure and fun. Would you feed your child candy or ice cream every night for dinner because they really wanted it? No. Why? Because you know the negative effects and what’s good for them even if they don’t see it yet. Sex is God’s creation. It’s one way that husbands and wives grow in intimacy. Why would He be against what He created to be enjoyed under His boundaries?
“Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Proverbs 5:15-19)
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)
I respect Francis Chan a great deal. My wife and I spent countless hours watching his sermons during the first years of coming to Christ. While I respect his gift of teaching, I even more respect the fact that he truly lives out the instruction of Scripture, especially regarding finances. In a time where we see pastors arrive to church in Bentleys and wear $10,000 dollar suits meanwhile their congregation struggles with paying rent and having food on their tables, Francis stands out as a man that considers the eternal riches in heaven above anything he could earn here on earth. This quote sums up his approach to finances…
“Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income, doesn’t take a salary from his church, and has donated most of his book royalties, which have totaled about $2,000,000, to various charities.”
Talk about radical giving! Everyone is not called to this level of giving, but everyone is called to have their eyes so fixated on Jesus that the passing treasures of this world mean very little to them. I just want to encourage others based on Francis’ example. Let’s set our minds on things above and selflessly serve others with compassion as Christ did. Amen!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
A large portion of the world has a distorted view of salvation. There are those that say they believe in Jesus but live a life like they don’t. Not only do they have an incorrect view of grace, but they contribute to skeptics’ unwillingness to believe in God. Why would someone want to believe in Jesus when all they see is bitter, hypocritical Christians? To the skeptic, God loves you. I apologize for all Christians (including myself) that depict an inaccurate picture of God. But do not take it out on Him. Please look past our imperfections and see His righteousness and goodness. To the professed believer, examine your ways. Grace is not a license to sin, but should be the reason you decide not to. Understand that it is possible to profess belief in Jesus and still endure eternal punishment. If you don’t believe me, take a second from only reading John 3:16 in isolation and read the entire NT and see what I mean (see Matthew 7 and Revelation 3 for examples). In closing, God’s supreme love for humanity is intended to drive us to living a restored life with faith in Jesus by the help of His Spirit, leading to the eventual inheritance of eternal life. Please don’t let this truth be distorted any longer.
“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
There is TRANSFORMATIVE power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When the Bible discusses dying to your old self and walking in newness of life, it is not figurative, it is an absolutely one hundred percent perfectly true reality!
I have told thousands of lies, I have been high off drugs numerous times, I have been belligerently drunk numerous times, I have been arrested, I have had premarital sex, I have cheated in relationships, I have had depression, I have had anxiety attacks, I have contemplated suicide, I have driven recklessly, I have cheated on exams, I have been immersed in pointless popular culture, I have wasted countless dollars on the latest fashionable items, I have stolen money, I have offended God in every conceivable way…..
…But He still loved me and gave His life for me…
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)
God loved me even though every single day I spit in His face, “proclaiming” that I was Christian but living a life that looked absolutely nothing like Christ’s. But when I finally understood the Gospel it wrecked me; it changed everything in my life…It was a complete paradigm shift nothing was the same anymore. I can openly admit everything I have done because Christ has freed me from myself and what others think about me. I could care less! My approval is from God, not man. And God is offering that same FREEDOM to you! I am no longer the man I was years ago because God has made me new, He has changed my desires to be in accord with His. And He has granted me the FREE GIFT of salvation which I humbly receive. I implore you, be reconciled to God. Let Him scour you from the inside out and let Jesus live inside you that He may transform you into who you were always created to be: a vessel to bring God glory.
If this encourages you in any way and you don’t know what to do… reach out to me. I know good and well that people need someone to talk to, pray with, and help them in this journey. I’m here for you!
If you profess Christianity and have access to a Bible but do not think that consistently reading it is important (as evidenced by you not reading it) then I might question the sincerity behind your Christian profession….
I know that might sound a bit harsh and before you flood this post saying, “God knows my heart…God knows my heart” (side note: He does know it but you might be surprised by how He sees its compared to what you think – see Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21-23, and read this blog post), please hear me out…You would not dare miss an opportunity to feed yourself (physically) once hungry, right? Then why do you starve yourself (spiritually) everyday? The Bible tells us that “man does not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds out the mouth of God” and that God’s Word is “our life.” If a “Christian” is not putting in the appropriate time in with God’s Word then, in essence, they are starving themselves of their spiritual nourishment. This is why I would question someone’s Christian profession if they do not read their Word….The Bible makes it clear….you can’t (spiritually) survive without God’s life sustaining Word.
The reason people are getting swept away by all this modern heresy is because they do not have a strong root based on understanding of God’s Word. Many are willfully spiritually malnourished. Brothers and sisters, I implore you….please read your Bibles.
“………that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
“For it is no empty word for you, but your very life…..”
So many of us wake up every morning and live our empty, vain, temporary lives without a true care in the world, preparing and working toward a “future” (that is not promised), not realizing that the only sure thing is that one day we will not wake up again. I know that sounds dark, but if you stop and take a moment to think about it, that is the perfect depiction of the entirety of our existence here on earth. So what is one to do? “Seek the Creator while He still may be found…”
God is our only hope. He has literally fashioned our existence to be in such a way that those who humble themselves and understand how transient life is would come to Him looking for eternal fulfillment. I promise you, this life will not fulfill you. You can work hard and get that 6 or 7 figure salary you want so bad and still end up as depressed as any other person. Things from this temporary life do not bring joy, only Jesus Christ can do that. I encourage all of us to seriously consider trying to grow with God.
Pulling pieces from Pascal’s wager (a seventeenth century philosopher, mathematician, and physicist), we all bet with our lives that God either exists or He doesn’t. Given the eternal implications and the probability that God may exist a rational person would seek to believe and know God. If God does not exist, this person would only incur finite loses like pleasure and luxury, but if He does they stand to receive infinite gains (eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell). The alternative is receiving finite gains, giving up infinite gains, and incurring infinite losses. Let me ask two related questions, would you gamble with your (temporary) life by playing with fire? ….then why do you gamble with (eternal) Life by playing with fire?