When you're about 18, and you've grown up in church, God either becomes the absolute real deal, or He becomes background noise.
You've just graduated high school, maybe looking to start college, maybe just starting life straight out of the gate and God becomes this thing that grounds you or gets in your way. You're coming into your own. All the things you've been raised to believe can start to make a whole lot more sense or none at all. It's humbling. It's exhilarating. It's terrifying.
I know people who have walked away from God and will tell you that they are happy, but their lives are not lives I would want to live. Most of us won't turn our backs on God completely, we kind of just find what we believe is a happy medium between all the stuff they talked about in church and what makes us comfortable . We live this compromised Christianity that neither convicts or offends. We live by the golden rule and choose to ignore what we know to be true.
Because the truth is, as much as we are loathe to admit it aloud (or not), we're probably going to Hell.
I mean we joke about it, but the truth is if we lie, it's a small lie and everyone lies - right? Nobody is holding you accountable to a higher standard because you're not. So a little lie won't hurt nobody. So if I really love someone, sex is ok. I mean we love each other. Even if we don't work out, we've had that special experience together. And you know what? You need to have sex with as many people as you want to know what you like anyway. So even if you don't love them, it's ok. We're all in this together. If you're sinning the way I'm sinning you can't correct me. If I'm sinning the way you're sinning I don't want to correct you. Every compromise slowly dissolving into sin we're comfortable committing. We ride together. We die together. We burn together. Forever.
At least we're in good company.
Heaven is abstract. Hell is relative. Live today like you'll die tomorrow. Eternity is undefined. In this life there are no guarantees but death. And then that's it. Right?
Except for when you grow up in church.
When you grow up in church we know that Heaven is real. We know that God is real, because we've seen Him. Maybe not in the Moses and the burning bush way (unless you have), but we've seen Him in the people in our church. We've seen Him through the miracles that happen in front of us, big and small. He's healed our fathers from cancer. He's stopped the car from hitting us. He's pushed us out of the way of a bullet. He's provided for us and our family in ways that confound us even to this day. We have no idea how we survived life this far, even though we know it was only because of Him.
We know Hell is real because we've seen its demons. We've seen people lose their actual minds. We've seen the things that go bump in the night because they were after us, or someone we knew. We've seen people hurt and be tormented by things that made no sense. We've seen a generational curse in action, maybe even broken a few. We've seen people stuck in their own personal Hell orchestrated by powers beyond their control. We've seen it and dismissed it because it made us uncomfortable.
Because if we admit that we know, even to ourselves, then we're accountable.
And we don't want to be accountable.
So, pseudo-contemporary Christianity it is until the next existential crisis.
Or until we're forced to your knees. Not to worry though, because God is a God of free will, how else would we have made it this far? He will make sure that we see Him but He won't make us follow Him. So, when we're on our knees, we will have these options:
Surrender or Resist.
Surrender completely to God, His will and His plan for our lives. Or continue to resist what we know to be true, pull ourselves up by your own bootstraps and win.
There's only one way we're sure to get up, the other could leave us worse than where we started. Either way it's our choice. Our eternity.
I know better. So I try to do better. Do I get it right all the time?
Have you been following this blog?!??
I absolutely get it 100% wrong most of the time. But I don't have the liberty of living this life halfway until I feel like it. Neither do you. You know who you are.
Here's where I've been humbled, and I'll leave you. Let's say I give myself some "wiggle room years". You know, grant myself sometime to figure out for myself the limits to salvation. How far can I go without falling completely out into the deep end. I survive this period and along the way resolve to follow Christ whole heartedly. Like that person who has to be with other people before realizing that they really loved only you all along and by some miracle, you're still there to receive them.
What about all the hearts they broke on their way back to you? What about those friends that saw what you were doing and decided they could do it too, only to learn that what you survived would destroy them?
Nobody. NOBODY. Nobody lives in a vacuum. 7.4 billion people on this planet and a butterfly flaps its wings in Florida causing a tsunami in Japan, or so the saying goes. What you do affects everyone around you whether you can see it or not, whether you care or not.
So you've got a choice to make darling.
What say you?
Comment below how you choose.