Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Heaven and Hell

I've been really annoyed lately by how caught up in heaven and hell we seem to get. Particularly at church in our teachings to little ones. I'd so much prefer that my boys desire Christ, long to be more like him, ache for his goodness....than to make a decision for him based on where you go when you die. Or worse yet, just to avoid a bad place. That has actually (for me) so very little to do with anything about being a Christian. It's decisions, choices, an actual purposeful bent toward becoming more like Jesus, that drive me (or should). Not that I don't often long for His heavenly kingdom to come on down, show up, save the day, rescue me from all evil....that sort of thing. But if that's my motivation for serving Him (which really means serving others) then what real spiritual maturity can come out of that?

He said "Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me." Nothing mentioned there that really even sounds all that pleasant....and for me, doing that very thing has been not only unpleasant but downright painful for the past several years. And yet, it's been good spiritually. Spiritual truths have never seemed more real to me. Heaven, actually, has never seemed more real. God's kingdom is an absolute reality to me now like never before. But not in a "can't wait to get there someday" sort of way....in a here and now way. His kingdom, His truth, is all around me, here, on this earth.

More later.


Matt said...

I agree with you on the fact that too much focus is placed on heaven or hell and right and wrong. I think we should try to be like chirst. Also these teachings do not explain why Jesus saved the thief on the cross but not someone like the rich young ruler.

Any who, I do have one thing to say about your desire for God to bring his kingdom. For the same reason God will not take us all home with Him, He cannot come to us. God is not going to miraculously purify everyone and change their behaviours, that is up to us. We should be so that we can fit in to God's kingdom and be happy. I am sure criminals would not enjoy heaven very much if they are trying to steal things all the time, nor would they all of a sudden change their ways. Just some thoughts.

I will keep you in my prayers. And don't loose faith, He will come as a thief in the night, give Him some time. He knows best :).

grace said...

Thanks Matt. Your views on the kingdom, what little you shared there, remind me a bit of some Jewish teachings I've read where they believe that the Messiah will come based things coming into some sort of proper order or there being more purity of worship among their faith. Interesting. You may be right. Thanks for commenting!

krister said...

thank you for this post. I recently wrote something similar a few days ago. You can read it here. I got here via Greg Kendall-Ball's blog. Thank you for your transparency. shalom!