I am asking for 5 minutes of your time
Can I have 5 minutes of your time?
I am going to talk about God – from my perspective – and it is important enough to me to put myself out there, so to speak. It is a very personal thing, a topic that culture today sometimes puts down and/or frowns upon.
But if I am right, and there is something after this life we are living right now, what I have learned could make a world of difference to you and your eternity.
If I am wrong, well it’s only 5 minutes of your time.
So, here is my “story”.
I was raised with religion. I define religion as knowing there is a God, but not knowing God.
Religion to me is man’s feeble attempt to understand God and man-made rules to try and please Him.
Religion, rules, condemnation, shame, guilt, an impossible ladder to climb.
So, one day, years ago, I was listening to a speaker – much like you are today – and he asked for 5 minutes of MY time.
He told me his perspective of God. And it was compelling enough for me to let down my guard just a little and let go of my preconceptions for just a minute. I listened and evaluated.
At the time, I was moving through life pretty smoothly, had a good life. Great wife, we were DINKS, making good money – bright future.
But I had a nagging feeling that there was more – that there was something missing in my life. I couldn’t shake that feeling.
The speaker talked about God, and how religion has kind of turned people off about that. He talked about how all religions had something in common – they are all about defining what I must do to reach God – sins that kept me from knowing Him and rules and regulations that need to be followed or things I needed to do, service, to “earn” His love. And that is a problem – I could never be good enough to reach those marks.
It was hard to explain at the time, but inside my “gut” I felt a tugging. Something I couldn’t shake that was telling me this guy was talking truth. I have always been a fan of truth, so I kept listening and evaluating what he was saying. He was describing exactly what I thought God was all about at the time. I could never be good enough.
While I am a fan of truth, I also have a hefty portion of cynicism – always looking out for what people are trying to get from me. This guy was not looking for anything from me – he was just sharing. So I kept listening.
After talking about religion, things took a dramatic turn.
He started talking about Jesus. Funny, in today’s culture when you bring up Jesus you get an entire spectrum of reactions. From radical acceptance to radical rejection. Many even use Jesus as a cuss word.
But this time, for me, as I continued to feel that tugging on the inside, I heard some things about who Jesus is that changed my life. Things I didn’t know before, even though I had heard them spoken about in prayers and stories. But I didn’t KNOW them.
So, here it is in a nutshell.
While religion talks about what WE need to do to reach God, Jesus was sent by God to do everything that needs to be done to reach God. A Gift for us from God.
Think about it, if we can’t be perfect enough to reach God, don’t you think God knows that? I mean he IS God!
The Bible tells us that God so loved you, He so loved me, that He sent Jesus to live on earth to be perfect FOR us. So that if you believe in Jesus, you can be with God when you die.
Because the Bible also tells us that sin (things that go against God like murder, stealing, lying, etc., you fill in the blank – I believe we all have a sense of right and wrong) has a wage. Meaning if you have sinned you cannot be with God, that is the wages. Separation from God. It is that simple.
It is not that God doesn’t want us to be with him, it is that a perfect God cannot be around sin. I was trapped and I didn’t even know it.
I thought, that is a pretty high mountain to climb – live a sinless life to be with God. I don’t think I could ever do that. As a matter of fact I have already violated some of those things that God cannot stand, so I was screwed!
What I learned that day, though, is that God is love. Not that God loves, but that GOD IS LOVE! So he provided a way for us to be with him, even though we have sinned.
And it is pretty simple really. Jesus came to live among us, and He did. He lived a sinless life – something none of us could ever do – ALL of us have fallen short. History tells us that Jesus was tortured and crucified and died as an innocent man. Even those who condemned him to this horrible death said he was innocent.
But after 3 days Jesus rose from the dead and declared the wages for our sin were paid, and if we accepted that payment we could be with God. Picture yourself in traffic court, the judge says “You are guilty of speeding – $250“. And someone stands up and says “Here is the $250, right here. I’ll pay it.” Kind of like that.
This was worlds apart from what I was taught – what I was taught was religion.
At this point the tugging on my guts was pretty strong and I had a decision to make. The speaker laid it out pretty simply.
Now that I had heard this, that I could let the sacrifice of Jesus pay my wages, I could accept that payment, or not. No one forcing me to do a thing. It was between me and God. No one would even know the difference between a “yes” and a “no”. It was then that I KNEW that the tugging on my guts was God. He wanted me to be with Him because He loved ME. But love is not love if it is forced. So in order for me to love Him back I had to choose to love Him.
So I said YES. And let me tell you, that changed my life for ever.
After that, every light turned green for me from then on, no more financial struggles, no more relationship struggles, always getting what I wanted, never sick again…Not exactly. But that tugging on my gut stayed with me from that moment on (and got stronger), and when I have financial struggles, sickness, problems with people, etc. I have someone I can lean on in prayer. He gives me peace and guidance through the struggles of life that I didn’t have before
It is that “something more” I was looking for – it was what was missing in my life. A relationship with God, through the person of Jesus.
So now you have a decision to make.
If your answer is “no“, thanks for the 5 minutes. I hope you at least learned something you didn’t know before.
If your answer is “yes“, it is pretty simple to accept the gift Jesus gave us. God is listening right now and really all you need to do is from your gut, give in to the “tug”, tell Him that you know you have missed the mark, you are sorry and want to do better. Then tell Him that you believe in the gift of Jesus and you want to accept the gift of his payment for your wages.
Speak words to that affect (pray), out loud. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus paid your wages and ask Jesus to be your Lord, you will be saved.
Simple as that.
Thanks for your 5 minutes.