Do You Love Me Enough to Spend Eternity with Me?
By Michelle C. Danko
This was the question that I was faced with over the weekend: Did I love my family members enough to share the gospel with them to ensure their salvation. Worse yet, was the answer that I honestly gave myself which was no, I didn’t love them enough to plant seeds to get them saved. In fact, I may have shared the gospel in passing, but was quickly rebuked as being that “religious” person. I was quickly shut down and dismissed.
My wake up call, so to speak, began this weekend when I was informed that my cousin had passed away. It was a shock to me as he wasn’t that old, and as far as I knew didn’t have any health issues. He may have put on a bit of weight, but was involved in sports as he was a coach. However, in my conversation with my dad, I was reminded that he drank heavily and partied even harder. He was not kind to his body, and eventually the repercussions caught up to him.
I was saddened not because I was particularly close to him- although I do feel for my uncle who is a believer- but for the fact that I don’t believe he was saved. It is an unsettling thing to believe that there may be a possibility that I might not see him in Heaven.
Now, my family might say that because he was probably baptized as a child, he will be in Heaven, and they really do believe that with all their hearts because that is what they have been taught. However, scripture tells us in order to be born again we are to confess our belief with our mouths and mean it with our hearts in order to receive salvation.
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
It is very clear that infant baptism alone does not guarantee your place in Heaven. An exception is made for small babies as they have not reached an age of accountability wherein they can make this confession. As we mature, however, it’s a different story as we are able to understand and articulate our faith.
Baptism as an infant isn’t enough to ensure salvation. In fact, the purpose of baptism is an outward declaration of what you already believe. Many also receive the gifts of the Spirit when they are baptized. However baptism is not meant to circumvent the importance of confessing and accepting Jesus Christ as the Lord over our lives.
Coming back to my cousin…
There was no fruit to prove that he was a Christian, and if he was, then he wasn’t living the lifestyle. He was happy where he was because he had misconceptions of what Christianity was all about. He had a very legalistic approach to Christianity. He believed that it was rules, regulations, and that living a righteous life was boring. No one had shown him that it could be exciting beyond what he could have ever imagined! All he saw was that he would have to give up drinking, having a good time, and he would have to make some lifestyle changes that he wasn’t ready to give up. He saw walking with God not as the joy that he could gain, but saw what he had to give up. In his heart, he just didn’t want to give up what he perceived was fun for a life that he deemed as boring.
Like many believers, he didn’t understand how exciting life is in Christ. That being in the Spirit is much more enjoyable that getting drunk and acting silly. He wasn’t false in knowing that there would be sacrifices, but he didn’t understand that it was for something better. He didn’t know that when you walk in Christ your life in transformed. Many people habitually get drunk to avoid dealing with issues in their life. With God, He helps you deal with the issues with peace, confidence and forgiveness. He heals our wounds and gives us hope and joy unspeakable. He reveals to us our plan and purpose for existing, provides direction at all times, protects his children from harm, loves us unconditionally, prospers us in all areas, blesses us beyond what we could even imagine… and the list goes on.
Many people who are unsaved don’t even know about this part of our walk with God. They avoid taking that step because partying, drinking, or drugs is seen as more fun. However they forget the effects it has on their bodies both long and short term. With drinking, you wake up hung over. With drugs you experience withdrawal, and often with all of these things you often do things you either regret or don’t remember.
However, the world tells us that these things are fun and enjoyable. Everywhere you look it exists. People don’t know about anything else so when they encounter someone who speaks about Jesus, their radar goes up as it did in the case of my cousin. They know that they will have to give up this lifestyle, but because of how society mocks believers, they often dismiss you. It isn’t because of you, it’s because they don’t understand that a life in Christ is truly more satisfying than in the world. They have not experienced it yet.
Most of them know deep down that they are unsatisfied. The world cannot bring us satisfaction because it wasn’t designed to meet our needs. Only God can do that. However, Satan deceives people into believing that the way of the world is fun and that fulfillment is the next good party, promotion, or pay check away. In reality, it isn’t, so many people go chasing something that they can never aquire. Even if they do get it, they are never happy. Only God can do that.
My remorse wasn’t that I didn’t try to share my faith as I did only to be shut down. It was that I didn’t pray for him to come to know the Lord. I can’t say that I did enough, nor do I do enough for my family. The reality is that we lead different lifestyles, and mine doesn’t fit in with theirs. There is little to talk about, and things seem to be awkward. However, it shouldn’t have stopped me from sharing the gospel whenever I was able to, praying for opportunities, or praying for them specifically. God could have performed the miraculous since it isn’t His desire that any should perish but have everlasting life.
How many of us don’t take the time to pray over our family members? Sometimes it’s out of hurt, and sometimes it is just that we don’t think about it. However, the result, as we know, is the same. If you are not saved in Jesus name, you cannot enter into Heaven. The end result is an eternity of torture. Life is only a snapshot in time. Eternity is forever, and I would rather experience the joy in Heaven with those I love than lose them forever. No one deserves that.
My question to you is this: Do you love your own family enough to ensure that you see them in Heaven? Are they important enough to you to want to ensure that you spend eternity with them, or are you fine with being separated? Most of us want to see our loved ones again when we die. We take comfort in knowing that one day we will be reunited in Heaven. So make sure that they get there! Tell them about how good God is. Share the miraculous things He has done in your life. Give someone encouragement by praying over them or sharing. Ask to pray over people. Ask to share the gospel, and pray for opportunities.
Pray over family members that do not know Christ. Pray that their eyes would be opened to the truth, and that they would be receptive to the Word. Pray that God puts people in their path that they will receive from. Then watch as God goes to work.
Results may not be immediate, but with God nothing is impossible. Your prayers are not going unanswered. God is at work in their lives. However, often it starts with prayer.
As for myself, this operated as a true wake up call to pray fervently over unsaved family members. It is not my desire that they perish in Hell, but live forever in the goodness and mercy of Christ. When I go into Heaven and hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, I want to know that they are there waiting for me. We will party in Heaven together for all eternity. I WANT to see them there. There is no joy in knowing that someone you love is being tortured for all of eternity.
Make sure you know where those you love are going. It should be your top priority, and don’t let even one slip by. Be an example of why they should be in Christ so that when they come to you (they will), you can share with them openly. Make them want what you have without being preachy. Leave no relative up to Satan to take. Claim them back to Christ.
If you are reading this and you have not given your life to Christ but would like to, then please pray this simple prayer. Scripture says if you confess it with your mind, and mean it with your heart, you will be saved. Then please tell us! We love to rejoice with new believers!
Dear God in Heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
Please share this with those whom you know need to hear this message. Transform their lives to for the glory of God!