Our conversation started off in the usual manner today, but when I tried to explain to her that her birthday was about a month away...about 30 days...she just wouldn't accept it.
"But Mamma, I want to have one more sleep. One more sleep tonight, and then tomorrow is my birthday. Okay? Please?"
"Sorry, sweetie. Your birthday is not tomorrow. It's a month away. C'mon, let's go look at the calendar and I'll show you."
"NO. Tomorrow. I want my birthday to be TOMORROW. ONE MORE SLEEP, MAMA, ONE!"
"Yeah, that would be nice, wouldn't it? It would be nice, but Sammy... it wouldn't be true!"
"Oh, okay." slumped shoulders...as if I'd just announced that her birthday is never going to happen again (although for an almost 4 year old, a month might very well seem about as far away as "never".)
It struck me then how often we (read: I) have this same sort of conversation with our Father.
"I can't believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. What about all those people who are not Christians? Do they all go to Hell? I think that there's one God, but many paths to Him."
I can't stand here and claim to know who's going to Heaven and who's going to Hell. But I can say that Jesus told us how to get to Heaven. Not liking it doesn't make it any less than God's Truth.
"The idea that Jesus is the only way to Heaven is ludicrous. How can the path to God be so narrow?"
Yes, the path is narrow, but the Truth is that it is available to every person who ever lived.
"I think Jesus was just a good example of how we're supposed to live. I don't have to let Him rule my life or anything. As long as I'm doing more good than bad, I'll go to Heaven."
It might be nice if that were the case, but it's simply not True. (but I've gotta say, having the burden of living a life that's "good enough" would not be nice if you're asking me)
"Hell? For an eternity? That doesn't make sense. Why would God let anyone go to Hell if He loves us?"
It would be nice if Hell wasn't a reality, but it is. Believing that it's not, doesn't change Truth one little bit. And he does love us. That's precisely why he offers us the gift of Heaven.
"I'm a Christian. Why is my life such a mess? Why doesn't God fix this for me? Shouldn't life be easier now that I've become a child of God? Maybe I bought into a lie."
This is one I struggle with, personally. But each time I have doubts about my faith because I'm suffering, God reminds me of His Truth. He loves me. He saved me. I'll still suffer in this life, but I won't be alone.
"Jesus died for my sins? Are you calling me a sinner? Well, I'm offended by that. I'm a good person and always have been. At the very least, I've grown up a lot and am a good person now."
Yes, you're a sinner. I'm a sinner too. Remember, we don't get to decide what sin is...God does. And the Truth is that everyone has sinned.
And when I do mess up? I take care of it myself. I don't need anyone else to take the fall for me."
Especially here in this "I'll do it myself" independent country, this is a popular belief. It feels good - it lets us feel like we're in control of our own life...in control of the outcome. But it's not True. Christ died for our sins, whether we believe it or not.
"What do you mean I need Jesus? This spirituality works for me. I can feel it - I'm right with God."
Yeah, I know...we're all about doing what "feels right" or what "works for you". But it's not True, and there's no getting around it!
In fact, let's go back to the example of Samantha's birthday. Let's say that Samantha was so incredibly upset that she wasn't having a birthday party TOMORROW that we decided to just go ahead and celebrate with her tomorrow. We'd have friends over. We'd have cake. We'd have lots of fun, and we'd even have presents and singing.
Sammy would be happy. She'd get to live for a day in the belief that it's her birthday.
In short, it would "work for her". And while opening her gifts, it would certainly "feel right and good."
But it simply wouldn't change the fact one little bit: it is not her birthday tomorrow. No amount of pretending will change the date of her birth!
It would sort of be like getting on an airplane that's flying to Detroit. But you want to go to Honolulu, you say? You can sit in your chair the entire trip believing that you're going to Honolulu. You can even sing about it. You can write about it. You can proclaim it for all the passengers to hear.
But guess what...you're going to end up in Detroit, my friend.
So how about you? Are you believing any lies? My conversation with a very passionate and earnest 3 year old today sure opened my eyes! I plan to spend some time praying for God to make me aware of any lies I might have accepted as Truth.
Some commonly-believed lies for you to consider:
1. There's no God.
2. Jesus was not God.
3. Jesus did not rise from death.
4. Jesus did not die for me.
5. Satan is not real.
6. Hell is not real.
7. As long as I live a good life, I'll go to Heaven.
8. I'm doing my best, that's good enough.
9. God doesn't love me.
10. God is not real.
11. I'm a Christian, but it doesn't feel like I'm forgiven.
12. I'm a Christian, but I don't think I need to tell anyone else about Jesus.
13. I'm a Christian, but I'm suffering. God must be punishing me for something.
14. I'm a Christian, I'm protected from anything bad happening to me.
15. I'm a Christian, but other people should just do whatever works for them.
16. Christianity means being a good person.
17. Hell is not eternal.
18. If I live a life that is good enough, I can be like God someday.
19. God is unconditional love, He's not judgmental.
20. God just wants me to be happy. Anything that makes me happy is okay.