People love to go to places where it’s warm. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. I would dare say the majority of people are like this. [Maybe not–maybe this is my own experience with the people I’ve come into contact with, with a few exceptions.]
But everybody likes a little bit of sunshine. Darkness, after a while, even though it’s fun for a period of time, is overbearing and monotonous—and well, almost dreadful.
But when springtime comes, and the sun starts shining, and the new life emerges – we find ourselves happier, we seem to sense that we are freer, and we have a keen awareness of the beauty around us.
We don’t want to live day after day, after day, after day without sunshine. We need to experience the beauty, the joy, the life that comes from the spring rain giving life to and helping a seedling to grow.
I never hear anyone tell me “I can’t wait for spring to be over!” But I do hear that a lot about winter time. I bet you do, too. You may be one that says that very thing. People don’t like the cold. People don’t like the frost, the ice. I don’t usually hear too many people say “I can’t wait until my toes are frozen; this spring time is getting to be a little too much.”
I hear a lot of people say they want to go to California or Florida on vacation—somewhere where the sun shines and they can walk on the beach. A beach filled with millions and millions and millions of grains of sand. They want to play in the cool water that refreshes them. They want to hear the splashes of water lapping on the sore, soothing their soul.
But to see everything here on earth as a representation of the eternal, I have to wonder why some of the same people that would rather be on the beach don’t seek that same warmth, that same refreshment from the Source of beauty–the Father Himself. Why is it that our hearts are restless within us and yet we search for fulfillment and refreshment from nature, not looking beyond nature to the Creator of it?
Jesus created these things for our enjoyment and pleasure, but in each and every thing He created, He gave us an indication of His magnificent Glory, leading us upward, leading our minds to wonder about the source of all this beauty around us.
Did it happen because of some miracle explosion in the atmosphere? If so, where did the atmosphere come from? Who created it?
Who created that being that created everything else?
And who created them?
What if I told you that God, the One and only God, in three distinct Persons, has always been, and will forever be? No one created Him. He is the Great I Am. And He created nature for our enjoyment, because He loves us, He created us because He wanted to create a being in His own image to commune with, to love, to take care of, to enjoy our company.
He created us eternal beings. Eternal from the moment we are conceived. And He provided a multitude of ways to come to know Him. He wants us to love Him, as well. But because love is not love if it is forced—[who wants to be forced into a relationship with someone?] He gave us free will to choose whether or not to love Him. If you had the ability to create another being—wait, we do—children.
If we forced our kids to love us, that would not really be love. That would be a type of slavery. If we created them with this magical gene that forced them to love us, that would not be fair. We complain about fairness all the time. We humans like options. We like having our free will. We don’t like to be forced to do something, no matter if it is something that we were planning to do all along, or not. God is the same way. I mean, He created us in His image. So we are like Him in that regard. We could try to force our way onto someone else, (we all can look back in history and see how well that worked). But forcing someone to do something leads to a deep-rooted contempt of that person. Just look back in time and you can see that well.
We all know that when true friendships are formed, they are formed from a mutual bond. A bond that comes when both parties enjoy each other’s company. It’s no different with God. Except that God loves each and every one of us, in all of our frailties. We are human, we are frail, we are fragile, and we have sin-riddled hearts that are filled with pride. In our prideful hearts, sometimes we get to thinking that we are better than someone else.
Or, we just don’t like someone “because”. But I can’t think of a time where that “because” doesn’t really just boil down to pride—thinking that we are higher, better, or more valuable than someone else.
But in our human stubbornness—that came when temptation entered the world through Satan’s deception in the Garden, we hide from our Creator. Our Creator, Jesus, who walked in communion and enjoyed intimate fellowship with Adam and Eve before the Fall. They hadn’t yet sinned, and they enjoyed a friendship like you have never known on this earth. No matter how close you feel to someone else—they could be your best friend, your spouse, your “soul mate”. But you have never, ever experienced the type of intimate love that Adam and Eve enjoyed with God before they sinned. There was nothing to hold them back from a pure, loving relationship with their Father, with their Creator, God. Take a second and think of the best friendship, the best relationship—it could be anyone, a friend, a family member—anyone. That relationship could not come close—at all—to the relationship they experienced. And the relationship that God desires to have again with each one of us.
Yet, we live in a sin-riddled world, and have a bent toward sin ever since the Fall. Because of our father Adam, we are all born into this sin-corrupted world. But, there is a Way out. Even though we must live here until God says our time is up, we have every opportunity to know Him. Yet, as prideful humans, we make up lies in our head and we refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is the Sustainer of all Life. In our prideful state, we think “I got this! I don’t need anyone to save me.”
But, we know that we are imperfect beings. And we know that when someone in society does wrong to someone else, we expect that person to be caught, to be punished, so that we can restore a sense of morality and order.
And yet, when it comes to a Holy, Pure, and Righteous God who is also Just, we seem to throw that concept away altogether. That is because, in our prideful hearts, we still think “I am good enough.” We don’t want to be punished. What kid likes to get punished by their father on earth?
However, because we have sinned—none of us is righteous, we all fall short of the Glory of God—we cannot be around God. Because God, in His Holy, Pure, Righteous nature, cannot look upon sin. He is love. He is pure. He is everything Good. And because He is a Just God, he has to punish sin. He doesn’t want to. He has to. Remember when you heard your father say, “this is going to hurt me more than it does you.”
But what if you had a big brother who stood in your place, and took that spanking for you? What if you had a big brother who said “Dad, let me take that for my sibling. I can handle this, they can’t.”
So, God sent His Son Jesus to be beaten, crucified, and die at the hands of us, with our sin-riddled hearts, and have the Father’s wrath poured out on Him, all for our sake. Jesus died the death so that none of us has to. He was punished with the wrath of His Father God, in order to make it right, to restore the sense of morality and order to our lives.
Our Father wishes no one to perish. He wants every single person to repent of their sins, and ask for His forgiveness. A forgiveness that we don’t have to earn. We don’t have to measure up to His standards in order to be forgiven. We only have to accept it.
But in order to accept it, we have to know that we need it. We have to realize that without God, we are imperfect creatures. We have sinned. We have all done things we aren’t proud of. We have done some things that we were very proud of—and yet we knew somehow that they were still wrong.
But if you die in your sin, you have no chance to repent. There is a place of eternal torment for those that refuse to accept this free gift of forgiveness. There are not second options once you leave this earth. There is no “state of torment for a temporary time”. Like a hold-tank, where you work off your sin after you find out that you were wrong all along—even though you were warned repeatedly, and chose to ignore the warnings.
We all get one chance, and that chance is this day, this hour, this minute.
If we acknowledge that Jesus came in order so that He could take the wrath of His own Father on our behalf—so that we could be spared from eternal torment, separated from God in a place of utter darkness—if we choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for ourselves, we are free to live in that eternal Springtime with God, walking in sweet, sweet, fellowship with our Greatest Friend—Jesus Christ Himself.
We can’t earn it. We can’t ever be good enough.
But we only have to realize that we are not good, we are not inherently bent toward purity, but rather, evil resides in our hearts at every turn.
And if we refuse to accept the gift that Jesus did not have to give us?
If we refuse to acknowledge that we are sinful creatures and that we deserve the wrath that God will pour out on those that refuse His greatest act of Love and compassion ever—sending His Son to die on our account—well, there is only utter torment, fire and flames—for eternity—for those that refuse their need for a Savior, their need for Jesus Christ Himself to take their place.
And yet, it is heartbreaking to me that so many will choose to walk away from that free gift, refusing to accept that big brother standing in for them, so that they don’t have to take the punishment for themselves.
If you refuse the big Brother, you refuse the Father. And there are no do-overs. Ask Jesus to give you eternal life today. Acknowledge your need for a savior. Acknowledge that you are sinful and that your heart is bent toward evil, and that you understand that Jesus died for anyone who would come to Him to receive Life eternal. And accept His free gift of salvation today, and ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to seal your eternity with Him, to change you, to purify you from the sinfulness that has riddled your heart for all your life.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy prayer, but it does have to be sincere. It does have to be honest. Ask Him to help you pray. He will. Ask Him to give you the words, He will. Ask Him to show you how to love Him sincerely. He will. He did for me, and His desire is that everyone repent and come to Him for salvation, to restore that sweet, sweet fellowship that He longs for with you.
He is the greatest Friend that you could ever have. People will always fail you, no matter who they are. But God never fails. We just have to trust Him.
Don’t let your heart get frostbite. Don’t let your heart grow cold toward God. Don’t choose to live in absolute darkness and torment for the rest of your eternity. Rather, choose the springtime—choose the warmth that can only come from the love of Jesus. Choose the new life that will emerge from your soul as you place your faith in Jesus. Choose the streams of living water that will flow from your heart when you acknowledge that Jesus Christ as Lord. Choose the joy that comes from seeing yourself and others, newly rooted in Christ, grow and mature in Him. Choose the Father that will cultivate you and help you to grow in the garden of eternal Life with Him.