We are the raise your hands and say a prayer people, a generation of church-goers who believe their eternal destiny is secure because we once prayed a simple prayer. We bought in because it was easy. The teaching was perpetuated because it removed so much responsibility from our lives. But what does the Bible, and specifically Jesus, have to say about being saved from eternal damnation? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know there is no mention of the so-called “sinner’s prayer” in Scripture. There are, however, very clear instructions as to what we must do to inherit eternal life.
Where are you in your walk with Jesus? Are you where you want to be? Have you moved beyond believing in Him to the point where you are now living for Him? In any growth process, it is essential to be aware of where you are today. Without knowing your starting point, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to map the way to where you want to be. It’s like staring at a directory in a large mall and finding the store you need but then discovering the map has no indication of where you are currently standing. We all need the helpful “you are here” marker to know in which direction we need to move.
Being a disciple of Jesus means you are constantly seeking to obey His commands and live in the manner He did. It means demonstrating love in all your interactions and exemplifying humility as you consistently seek to serve others. It’s a tall order and one that is not easily accomplished. Jesus warned that the way to Heaven was through a narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14). Without a doubt, it’s easier to travel the wide and well worn path in life, but we have chosen to follow Christ. As a result, our lives must look different from those around us. When people see us, they should catch a glimpse of Jesus.
Everything we do for Christ, every one of His commands, comes back to a single word: love. Whether it’s seeking to bring justice to the oppressed or set victims of human trafficking free (Isaiah 58:6), we do this out of love. When we feed the hungry or provide clean water to villages that previously had no access to it (Matthew 25:35), we demonstrate God’s love. Using our time and resources to care for the single mothers or homeless people (James 1:27) demonstrates our love for them. Love is the key to every ill of our society. It is the salve for every wound and conflict. Love is the only answer, and it looks exactly like Jesus.
I believe most people are sincere in their commitment to follow Christ. We really do want to make Him the Lord of our lives and to put Him before everything else. Satan knows this as well which is why he is constantly looking for ways to discourage and distract us. It’s not the catastrophic failures that tend to doom us; it’s the small, incremental distractions that knock us off course to the point that we one day wonder how we got where we are. So often a bad day finds us looking to anything other than God to salve our frustrations. We seek comfort in mindless entertainment or destructive addictions in hopes of numbing a life that has gone off plan and seemingly has no solution in sight. We neglect our first love (1 John 4:19; Revelation 2:4), and Satan is delighted. No matter what’s going on in your life, you must never let your affliction cloud your affection.