As we get closer to Easter weekend and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, I have been thinking a lot about those who have yet to accept our Lord as their savior. Recently, my daughter who turned 13 a few months ago, came to me and said that she was ready to accept Jesus. It was a day I had looked forward too since I became a Christian. In fact, it’s a day I look forward to for each of our 6 children.
At some point in our lives, we lived without the assurances of an eternal future…and instead had questions on what the end of our earthly lives meant for us. One of the things I look forward to, after meeting Jesus, is spending eternity with those I love. The scary thing is that there are lots of family and friends we have that haven’t yet accepted Him as savior, and therefore, may never share eternity with us. I think it’s very easy to sit back and think how some people are just too far away from God…and that there is no hope. While we may think that, we often still pray for those people, because if any force in the world can make something happen, it is prayer.
On the other side, think about those of us who know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. We can pray out loud before a meal, we can quote chapter and verse, yet when it comes to the real application of the Word, or maybe even more importantly, the real application of living a life lead by Jesus, we fall short. We’re halfway there, going through the motions…yet we’ve never really committed. You’ll never know who it is, but there are Christians…inside our church, and outside of it, who haven’t really bought in to what they live out publicly. As a result, they feel just as empty and hopeless as those who have never known Jesus.
At times, whether we’re a completely lost soul, or an almost lost soul, it can seem like we’re just too far from the Kingdom of God to ever make it there. It is now, as is always the case when something seems a bit too hopeless, time to open up God’s Word for some clarity. There will never be a feeling, or emotion, or situation that you go through that is not addressed by the Bible in some sort of general context…if not a specific one.
Jesus said, in Mark 12:34, “Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
I have been thinking a lot about those who haven’t given their life to Christ because when I was living the life of a non-believer, I acted in ways that could have clearly meant I was very far from the Kingdom of God. In fact, there were many days I no longer felt worthy of Heaven even being an option for my ending. As we know though, through God’s everlasting love and grace, there is room for us…we are all, in fact, close to the Kingdom of God.
Our world can change in an instant, and we go from someone who doesn’t at all believe in Jesus, to someone who can see things no other way. Or, to put it another way, it’s like seeing a sight that can never be unseen. Or, as my favorite hymn of all time says so eloquently, “I once was blind, but now I see”. The instant our lives go from Christ-less to Christian becomes the defining moment in our existence. We go from having no earthly or eternal hope, to being given eternal hope and salvation by the very One who made the universe. Why? Because…we believed. Praise be to God for that moment when everything changes.
If we look back a bit, in scripture…and we read Mark 12:32-33, we read,” (32)The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. (33) And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.“
This is followed, then, by verse 34, which includes Jesus saying, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.“
So, then, as I read this…I am brought back to those days when I lived a life as if no God existed, and suffered the consequences associated with sinning, and the darkness and loneliness and despair I felt, and I think about those people today who are where I was…and I want to help. I think about those whose souls are iced cold, and I want them to feel the fire in their gut that comes from the love and grace that God gives us, but as you know…when people are so against God, it can seem impossible to reach them. So then, how do we? We show them that a consistent, obedient life, through Jesus Christ, gives us hope, peace, and a calmness that they can never feel without Him. We have got to be the ones to show them, by living it out, day to day, fighting to the very end, in order to show them the change that’s happened inside of our hearts, because of Jesus.
We need to always remember that no matter where someone is in their spiritual life, no matter how far away we may think they are, that if they only knew how close they actually are…they might just make an attempt to reach out and grab onto the lifesaving raft that will never sink…having the power of Jesus Christ in their life. If they are still blind, give them a reason to see. Be the Christian you’ve always wanted to be.
I’ll tell you one thing…and this I know is true…whether or not you decide to live the life of the Christian you’ve always wanted to be, there is someone watching you, right now, wondering if the Hope we speak of is real…and you could be the living Bible they need to read in order to lunge out for Jesus and cling to Him as their savior.
Have a blessed week, friends.
In His name,
Eric J. Wasson