In “It’s Not What You Think”, Jefferson Bethke writes, “Life isn’t about going to Heaven when you die, it’s about making Heaven true on earth in every facet and level of our relationship with God, others, and self. The Christian life is asking, how can I make what’s true of Jesus and His gospel true in [every] aspect of my life?”
It’s a question that perfectly sums up what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. As you go throughout your day, how can you reflect the gospel of Jesus in everything you do and say? Most of us never take the time to ask the question or consider how the answer to it might dramatically change our lives.
I think that’s the heart of the problem. We know if we ask the question, the answer will demand changes in what we say, how we think, and what we do. To be perfectly honest, most of us aren’t ready for that kind of commitment. We’ve been sold on a casual Christianity which allows us to pursue pleasure, comfort, and the American Dream without consequence. But it’s a lie. There are consequences and they could not be more real or expensive. How you choose to follow Christ determines your sincerity in following Him at all. Put more directly, if you won’t pursue Him with all your heart in this life, you very likely won’t have the opportunity to do it in the next.
It’s not good enough to serve God in some areas of your life and not others. Jesus demands total commitment, exactly what you promised Him when you asked Him to be Lord of your life. It’s not as if Jesus is some sort of tyrant or dictator, but rather His sacrifice and love for you demands unconditional devotion in return.
We’ve let too many years of bad theology convince us how we live life on earth has little consequence in eternity as long as we have accepted Christ as Savior. So we pray the magic prayer and wait to float up to Heaven when we die. None of this is Biblical of course. It’s a poorly co-opted theology cobbled together by lazy exegesis and a desire to win converts instead of make disciples. The life we live now matters to our eternal destiny. Christianity is not about what comes next; it’s about what we do now.
Heaven is closer than you think if you will simply take the Bible for what it says. Jesus said to make disciples of all people. To make a disciple, you must first become one. You cannot model and teach what you do not know. Our mission is to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. Every time we act, think, or speak like Jesus, we lay another brick for His Kingdom. Every time we show love in His name, we fortify the walls. It’s not about going someplace when we die, it’s about seeing His Kingdom become a reality right where we are. Heaven is closer than you think, and we dare not waste a moment when we should be working. Both this life and the next are all about Jesus. Are you living as if that’s true?