Isaiah 65:1-7 (from The Message) “I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask. I’m here, ready to be found by those who haven’t bothered to look. I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’ to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way. They get on my nerves, are rude to my face day after day, make up their own kitchen religion, a potluck religious stew.
I love the book “The Message.” It just puts the bible in such easy terms. I especially loved these verses that I came across this morning. I had planned on blogging today on the subject of Christian living versus Selfish living (basically whatever pleases the person). As I was going through the book of Isaiah, I came across this verse (thanks be to God)!
The reason that this verse struck me was the word usage was fun and to the point. I realize that the Message is a translated version of the bible, but I love that it uses the term “they get on my nerves” to describe the people who choose their own selfish desires over God. I am sure that I get on God’s nerves all the time. I think about my own kiddos and how much I love them. But guess what? They get on my nerves. I know that God loves me but I just think these verses from Isaiah spill out His frustration with those that turn their backs on Him (like me).
I cannot tell you how many bible studies I have been in where the topic of heaven comes up. It never ceases to amaze me that people still cannot fathom that they will be in heaven with sinners. I hear comments like, “Those people have lived horrible, selfish lives why do they get a chance at heaven?” Or “It’s not fair that ‘those people’ can just live however they want and still get an option to have eternal life.” My first thought to this is, maybe we should look at ourselves before we start pointing fingers at others, but another part of me realizes that I feel that same way.
Why do other people who blatantly deny God get to go to heaven? Supposedly we will all get a chance for eternal life. Yes, I give my best effort to live a life like Christ here on earth. Sometimes I fail, but other times I actually accomplish it. I know there are other people that never attend church, do not acknowledge that Christ is present in their life, and maybe make some pretty selfish decisions – but who am I to deny them eternal life with Christ? I like to think all my work here on earth fulfills me. I find joy way more often than sadness in my day to day life. I also find that doing God’s work is a gift. Why would anyone want to miss out on that gift?
I have lived my life very selfishly. Many times I have blogged about my selfish desires and ambitions in my teens and twenties. I was pretty miserable. Even though life could seem fun and joyous, it was a very short-lived fun. I constantly had to find ways to pull myself out of depression and push myself out of bed in the morning because life was monotonous. Deliberately turning my back on God was exhausting. If (and thank goodness this didn’t happen) I would have lost my life back in my twenties, I would hope that God would have given me one last chance to change my ways. I am thankful I never had to make that decision because I was so far away from God, I am not sure I would have recognized His Glory and beauty in heaven.
Now, as I strive to live my life according to the Truth, I find that even through struggles I can find joy. I also find that I see God in people and things. God is revealed to me daily through scripture and encounters with people. I recognize God here on earth, so I am pretty sure (actually quite confidant) that I will recognize Him in heaven. The difference between my life back in my twenties and my life now is that I call God my friend. Let me tell you, I recognize my friends by voice, by name and by face. So, I know I will see God and wave to Him when I find myself at Heaven’s gate.
You see, our life here is short – our life in heaven is forever. So you can continue to live your life selfishly, only pleasing yourself (and maybe a few friends and family members) or you can choose to see God daily here on earth. Living life on earth communicating, worshipping and loving God is what I like to consider my Prep School for Heaven.