I saw some graffiti on a wall the other day that disgusted me at first but then made me really think the more I thought about it. The graffiti on the wall said, "Are you ready for Hell?". At first I despised the punks who would put such filth on a wall and thought that they must be some real low-lifes to write something like that. Then I started thinking about what was written on that wall and it took me back to when I was a young high-schooler going to my local youth group. The youth pastor at the time suggested that we will do one of two things in our lifetime...we will either lead people to Heaven or we will lead them to Hell. I know that that is a tough thing to stomach but it is so true when we break down our Christian lives.
My pastor's words came back to me because of the way that I have lived my life. As a little background, I was saved when I was approximately 14 years old. I grew up in a Christian household but didn't quite grasp the ultimate saving grace of Jesus Christ and what being saved truly meant. I was at our summer bible camp at a night service where there was some intense worship happening. Young men and women to the left and right of me were giving their lives to Jesus and I was just standing and watching. My youth pastor simply asked me, "Lucas, would you like to put your faith in Jesus today?" Without a moments notice I said, "Yes!" and that was where my spiritual journey with Jesus began.
I'll never forget how I felt that night. I was now God's child, forever. So I returned home and told my church of what happened to me and lived a life for Jesus for about...2 weeks. Then I returned to my pre-bible camp days living a life for myself and not for Jesus. This continued through high school and through college. I was the ultimate hypocrite. I challenged my friends who said that there wasn't a god but yet I followed the exact same sinful lives that they were leading. I would say that 90% of the time I was the leader. I wasn't leading anybody to Heaven, I was leading all of my friends directly to Hell. Ok, maybe I wasn't leading them directly to Hell, but I wasn't leading them to Heaven. I am so disappointed at all of the lives that could have been touched positively by the way that I carried myself. But, yet, I gave in to my own sinful desires to be more of a people pleaser than living a holy life.
Thankfully, God knew that I was cross ways with His plan for me. Even though I was an enormous hypocrite and mocked His Word by the way I lived my life, He still loved me. He corrected me and changed my life. He sent my wife, Dawn, back to me and that changed everything because she also corrected me and changed my life. I am re-dedicated in my faith and will push forward to please God the rest of my days.
But, yet, I still don't push forward with what God has given me. I'm still timid to talk to my oldest, closest friends about Jesus Christ. I ask myself, "Why?", all of the time. Persecution comes to mind, but are we really persecuted here in the United States? What's the worst that will happen to me? My friend may turn from me or mock what I am saying, but that's really a worst case scenario. I feel so little in my shoes when I think of this because the persecution that we face for preaching the Good News is nowhere near what people face elsewhere in this world. People are killed, mutilated, slaughtered for even thinking about following another religion than what is laid forth by the local governments or municipalities. I would be in constant fear for my life if I lived in these foreign countries that do not give you the right to choose your own religion. We are a blessed nation that has the opportunity, but am I using that opportunity to it's full potential....absolutely not.
So I have to ask myself, "Am I leading people to Heaven or am I leading them to Hell?". If I can't look in the mirror and look at myself and answer Heaven without batting an eye, then something needs to change in my life. I long to live a life in service to my Savior, but my own personal barriers keep me from attaining what He has in store for me. I constantly hear the word surrender being whispered into my ear. I believe that the truth and strength I am looking for starts with that word.
Today, I will push forward, I will commit my life to Jesus. I will follow His Word and will seek out the lost among us so that they may be saved. I will not follow in my former footsteps but will walk along the path of the righteous. I will not fear the ways of this world but will live in the power of the Word of God. I will surround myself with friends of the Lord so that my path is straight before me. I will love my God, I will praise my God and I will live for my God.
“Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life” (Matthew 20:28).
"If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)