As a minister, I am constantly hearing what other people believe and how the scriptures should be interpreted. On one side, we have the hard-core group that are small in number but very dogmatic. These self-announced scholars emphasize sacrifice and suffering as a sure way to earn a front row seat in heaven but are so focused on works, they seem to forget about grace. On the other side of the pendulum, we have the feel-good gospel that talks about chocolate cake, puppies and a life filled with abundant blessings. This vision of heaven on earth can draw the crowds but is not completely realistic. Actually, I have been involved with both sides over the years and have come to the conclusion there must be a happy medium. I will not call it a compromise but rather a balance of spiritual commitment and good old fashion common sense that will allow us to be a dedicated follower of Christ without becoming so weird that people are afraid of us. For those who are contemplating a brand-new start in life with Christ, I pray that you will trust Him today.
The average person does not really know that much about the Bible or at least not as much as they think they do. When the Lord mentions in the book of Hosea about how His people suffer because of a lack of knowledge, He knows this is the core of our problem. In my own life, it seems the more I learn, the more I realize that I hardly know anything. It’s like sitting in a library reading a book and realizing there are more books in just that one location than we could read in a lifetime. There is no time to delay in your decision to accept Christ as there is so much He is waiting to reveal to you. II Corinthians chapter six reminds us, “Behold now is the accepted time: behold now is the day of salvation.” The New Year is an excellent time to make serious lifestyle changes and I pray that you will. I encourage you to not be intimidated by so many different spiritual views. Everyone is trying to find their way and you will be just fine if you spend time with Him, listen to His voice and trust Him.
I believe that God understands about our physical and mental limitations which is why He emphasizes for us to have faith. It’s not about how smart we are or how much we can accomplish in our own strength but rather the divine idea is to allow Him to empower us and work through us to accomplish His plans. Understanding that we cannot earn our way to heaven allows us to trust His crucifixion and resurrection as the price He paid for our salvation. When Jesus went to the cross, it was like God signed a blank check for everyone but it is up to each individual to accept the check and cash it. You see, faith is believing that God is true and is a vital step toward allowing Him to transform us forever. This is the first step in our journey with Him and for us to continue building our faith, we must be passionately determined to develop this relationship. Though we are never going to learn everything, the key to our success is to always acknowledge Him as our highest priority. This means to cut back on serving ourselves and investing more time reading, seeking and studying about who He is. We only have so much time and managing it is our responsibility. In Matthew, chapters 5,6 and 7, you will find Jesus explaining some basic fundamentals of the Christian life. His words are filled with beauty, power and wisdom but to be honest they are very difficult to demonstrate. If you have been observing those who claim to be Christians and have been disappointed, you see what I mean. The Lord loves you and is patiently waiting, but we will never build our life from His blueprint until our determination to change becomes stronger than our desire to remain the same.
Dr. Holland lives in central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author, outreach minister and community chaplain. To learn more, visit billyhollandministries.com.