I grew up in the ‘60’s and 70’s… the beginning of the age of self. The era of self-indulgence and self-absorption promoted by the onslaught of self-help books in the pursuit of higher self-esteems. The “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” generation. It was only natural then that I grew up with a false sense of self-righteousness. I saw myself as a good person by my own merits… my own accomplishments. If I ever gave heaven any thought, I had convinced myself that I was good enough to go there if for no other reason than there were far worse people than me. You know the ones… child molesters, thieves and murderers?
Well, in August of 1978 my self-made pedestal of self-righteousness was yanked out from beneath my feet when I was shown through the scriptures what God thought of my “goodness.” I was shocked to learn that God would not judge me by man’s standards but by God’s standards – which are much higher! I learned that just one tiny little sin – even a little lie – would prevent me from entering into heaven. And when I did a self-assessment, I realized that I had not told just one lie, but many lies! And not only told lies, but I had stolen… many times! Okay… just little stuff but it was stealing all the same! And then worst of all… God considered hatred to be murder! How many times had I hated someone?? So I was a murderer too?!?
As I began to understand that God sees my good deeds as filthy rags, suddenly my “goodness” didn’t seem so “good” anymore. I realized there was nothing worth redeeming in me and suddenly the thought hit me… if I were to die at that moment, I wouldn’t be going to heaven, but to hell. With that understanding, in humility and with a repentant heart, I asked Jesus to save me.
That was over 30 years ago that I changed paths and began to walk the narrow road that leads to heaven. It has not necessarily been an easy road to travel and it’s been costly at times – but the eternal rewards are worth it. Also, finding the narrow road was very difficult. It required that I come to Jesus broken and repentant over my sin. I had to acknowledge that if I got what I really deserved, I’d end up in hell. It’s now no longer about myself and my goodness, but all about Christ. After all, like the hymn says: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that there are one of two roads we must travel when we leave this life… either the narrow road that leads to heaven or the wide road that leads to destruction. Which one will you choose? Not to choose is to choose! So choose today whom you will serve – God or yourself – because that decision will determine where you spend eternity. And eternity is a long time to regret making the wrong choice.
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8