My hubby, kiddos, and I enjoyed our July 4th weekend with my husband's family. It was a nice relaxing weekend lounging by the pool, reading some great books, and having someone make my bed for me. Praise His name!
One Saturday we decided to make our way to a nearby town and do a little sight seeing. On the way Hannah, my oldest, and her red-headed grandma (this is how Hannah always references Chris' mom when she talks about her) had a conversation that got me to thinking. It went something like this.
Hannah: "Grandma, how did you and Poppa get here?" Hannah wanted to know how they had gotten to the place where we were staying.
Grandma: "We drove a long way on the interstate. We came all the way from Alabama."
Hannah: "Well, we didn't come from Alabama. We came from North Carolina. I think we came on a different road than you and Poppa did."
Grandma: "No, you didn't come the same way we did because you live in a different place. You came a different way. There are a lot of ways to get to the hotel we are staying at this weekend. There are lots of roads that lead to the hotel."
And on and on the conversation went.
As I sat there thinking through their conversation, my thoughts couldn't help but be drawn to the many people/ religions today that are teaching there are many ways to get to heaven and live eternally in the presence of God Almighty. Some say the more good works you do the better your chances will be. Others teach that in order to get to heaven one must become gods themselves. There are those that hold to the belief that all mankind will go to heaven because a loving God would not allow anyone to go to hell. And, there are those that belief heaven, and hell for that matter, don't even exist so when one dies he goes nowhere. Still, there are others who believe that one must say a cutesie little prayer and bam, you're there.
Based on God's Word there is absolutely NOTHING you and I can do, could do, have done, or plan on doing that will allow us to enter into the presence of God Almighty (Ephesians 2:8-9). Becoming a god? Who in the world, if you really think about it, could attain such greatness, obtain such power, and be as pure and holy as the Lord Himself (Deuteronomy 32:39). Yes, God is a loving God and His desire is that no man go to hell, but He is also a just and righteous God who will not allow the sins of those who have rejected His gift of redemption to go unpunished (Colossians 3:5-6). Jesus clearly taught that there was a place of everlasting fire prepared for Satan, the fallen angels, and all those who have rejected Him (Matthew 25:31-46). Nowhere in Scripture are we told to say a prayer and heaven will be the grand prize.
So, if none of these roads lead to heaven and eternal life in the presence of God Almighty, how does one "get there"? I'm glad you asked. There is ONLY ONE WAY and that ONE WAY IS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST! Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me." Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. Well, if Jesus is the only way, what does Jesus' way look like? Read with me here out of Luke 9.
"Then He (Jesus) said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come
after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For
whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My
sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world,
and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of
him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His
Father's, and of the holy angels."Luke 9:23-26, NKJV
First is the denial of oneself. Here, is the denial of the life of sin we once lived in and the denial of our own selfish desires, and instead seeking, with a passion, the desire to please and serve God in all that we say and do.
Second, is the taking up of one's cross DAILY. In Matthew 10:38 Jesus told his disciples that anyone who does not take his cross and follow after Him is not worthy of Him. Taking up one's cross involves a total, full surrender to Christ even to the point of death if that is what we are called to. Jesus goes on to say in verse 39 and Matthew chapter 10, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." Losing our lives for the sake of Christ, whether it be fleshed out in a physical death or our daily surrender of self leads to us finding complete life in Christ.
Lastly following Christ into the kingdom of heaven means simply following Christ. Following Christ is not about us. "It's about our being sick of our sin and our desperation for forgiveness. It is about seeing Christ as the priceless Savior from sin and death and hell, so that we willingly give up as much as it takes" (John MacArthur, Hard to Believe) to follow Him. It's about us following Him through the valleys, through the mountains, through the good times and through the bad times. It's about following Him through the muddy waters that lead to the streams of crystal clear living waters that flow from the throne of God Himself. It's about following Him wherever He leads, whenever He leads, and into whatever He leads because He is Lord and Master of our lives.
My friends, Jesus is the ONLY WAY, PERIOD!!!