This week’s post is written by Josh Stephens. He has a great message to share.
Josh is a writer & a youth leader.He seeks to encourage others to view themselves as God views them. He also yearns to learn more about the character of God and the plans He has for his own life. Joshua writes about all that he is learning every week on his blog nonFictionality.
A friend of mine was in town from school recently and we got together for lunch before he had to head back for classes. We took turns talking about life. After hearing about his wedding plans and job venture for after graduation, it was my turn. I didn’t really know what to say. I don’t have a fiancé, or girlfriend for that matter. I don’t have a job lined up for after graduation because I’m still not sure what exactly I want to do after I turn my tassel.
But what I do have is God. And there, in the middle of a sports bar, over chicken wings and soda, amidst screaming football fans, we talked about God.
As we began talking we voiced some of the things that we had been processing about God over the past few months. One of the things that I brought up was something that I had heard in a recent sermon from the youth pastor at my church on Heaven and Hell.
The pastor said that Heaven is a reality for those of us who believe in Christ. When we die, we will be going to Heaven because we have asked God to come into our lives. That’s awesome, right? Right. But Hell is a reality too. And when someone dies who has not begun a relationship with God, they are going to Hell.
There are no other options.
And there’s Hell.
And it is.
But, it’s reality.
The simplicity of that statement has wrecked my heart for over two months.
Because, while I am going to Heaven, my best friend isn’t.
My best friend since middle school is going to Hell because he has never accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. And I have never shared the Gospel with him. I look back on our friendship and I cannot even remember a time where I even brought the subject of God up in conversation.
As I finished sharing these thoughts, I looked across the table at my friend and could tell that this statement hit him just as hard as it had hit me. I wanted an immediate response, but all I received was a stare that was full of thought and regret. After a while he said that he never knew that our friend was a non-believer. He assumed that he was a believer and was just living life, ignoring Christ.
He assumed Heaven.
So often I assume that everyone around me shares the same reality that I do. I assume Heaven. But that’s not always the case. And, if I’m being honest, I assume that Heaven is their reality so I don’t have to bring God into the conversation. Many times I think that the way I live my life will be enough. I look at the way Christ lived, and I want to live like Him. We all do. We all want to live with the integrity that He lived. We all want love to emanate from us, just as it did Him. We all want others to see our lives and want to draw closer to God because of the Light coming from our lives. That has been my soul desire for so long. I have tried to live like Christ so that my friend will see Him in me. But I have neglected one of the most important aspects of Christ’s life: His ministry.
Christ spoke openly about His beliefs.
He did not beat around the bush when approached with questions regarding His Father. He did not avoid the topic of God because He knew that it would make others uncomfortable. He spoke out and He loved without holding back. Christ spoke openly because He knew the reality of Heaven and Hell. He spoke openly because He wanted, with everything inside of Him, to see others draw close to His Father so that their eternity would be spent in Heaven with Him.
I’ve lived too long trying only to walk the path that Christ’s feet made. It is time that I also start following the path towards Heaven that He blazed with His words.
Won’t you join me?
And, if you will allow, I would like to ask that you pray that my friend’s heart begin to soften and that he begins to see, feel, and experience the overwhelming love of Christ.
As you go about your week, I am praying Ephesians 6:19 over you.
May you fearlessly make known the message of the Gospel!