My parents have been married FORever. At least that’s what it feels like to me. In reality, it’s been 25 years – but hey I’m 23, so it is forever to me!
I love stories about my parents because it gives me ammo to use against them in the future. One of my favorites involves a hill and a fight they were having.
Back when my parents were in college and dating, they were walking along the top of a hill that was covered in snow. They were fighting about something (my mom was probably the right one lol) when my dad decided he had enough, so he was going to storm away.
He turned and started walking down the hill – then he slipped and fell/rolled all the way down the hill. Of course, my mom in loving grace was laughing the whole time!
I imagined it looked like this –
Of course, that ended the fighting because what’s the point in fighting when something so ridiculous just happened?
PS. Fast forward several years my dad returned to that school to be a professor. His office overlooked that hill and again his loving family never let him forget it. 🙂
What’s the point?
I ask myself that question a lot. Maybe I’m paranoid about rolling down the hill of life. Or working myself to death for no reason. But I always make sure I know the why behind what I’m doing.
Including following Jesus.
There has been more than one moment in my life I asked, “Why am I doing this? Why am I ‘sacrificing’ something to follow a man I never met? Why am I building my entire life on the foundation of trying to do what Jesus taught?”
What’s the point of following Jesus?
I was always taught directly or indirectly the following …
You become a Christian (follow Jesus) so that you don’t go to Hell instead you get to go to Heaven! Do you want to go to Heaven? Then you need to accept Jesus then make sure you do what he says!
Throughout most of my life, my thought process was, “Well I don’t want to go to Hell, so I guess I better follow Jesus.”
Then I got older. Life got harder. More complicated. And I started asking….
What’s the point?
I mean is Heaven all we get out of this? (Might be a selfish question I know). But seriously, did God just put this plan into place so that we have a way to escape Hell? And if that is the only reason why do I have to follow his rules? I mean he forgives me right? So I can do whatever I want. YOLO.
But I didn’t do whatever I wanted because I wanted God to be proud of me. So I became extra-Christian. That way I’d have benefits when I got to Heaven.
All this did, was create self-righteous behaviors in my heart.
Missing the Point
My confusion and self-righteousness came from me missing the point.
Sure you get into heaven, but that’s not the point of following Jesus with your life.
The point of following Jesus is that your relationship with God gets restored.
“So that you can get into heaven right!” …….. Nope, still not the point.
When you look at Genesis and the creation story, you see how God had a plan and how there was a beautiful relationship between him and everything he made.
Things were soooo good back then. There was no shame being naked, everything in nature got along; you were okay with yourself – all because we (humans) had a full relationship with God. But just like a lot of things we broke that – you probably know the story (Genesis 3).
Thousands of years later Jesus came and said things like –
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”
Each one of these points to something deeper than Heaven. They point to a relationship.
When our relationship with God is restored through Jesus, something amazing happens. We begin to change. Our lives slowly start looking more like Jesus. We grow and work hard to be like the one who restored our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Since God loved us so much he made a way to restore the relationship we broke! This is wayyy better than we just get into Heaven.
God wants you to be the best ‘you’ that you can be. The ‘you’ He created you to be. Not the broken person we all are.
Through Jesus, we get to grow and become more like that ‘you’.
This is HUGE.
This impacts our life – Now.
We have the freedom through Christ to not be a slave to the brokenness and sin that holds us down because we have a restored relationship with God.
Heaven is great, and I can’t wait to be there. But following Jesus has immediate implications. Following Jesus means, when things are hard I can be content in him. It means that I’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary heartaches. It means that while on Earth – I can have the best life possible because I’m connected to one who created me.
I don’t want to downplay Heaven, but I also hope we don’t miss the point. We have our relationship with God restored.
That is pretty awesome.