By: G. J. Fortier
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Today, as I write this, it’s New Years Eve, 2018! We are all facing a future that’s unknown because no one, regardless of what they may claim, knows the future.
Yes, that was repetitive.
But I’m sure that you understand what I mean. The new year, and the future as a whole, is a mystery that we have no other choice but to face day by day. That’s the way God set things up for us. We are forced to see how things unfold however they do in His timing, good, bad or indifferent. And it’s a very good thing that we believers put our trust in Him that everything will work out for our benefit. If you have any doubts about that, just read the first chapter of the book of James. Here’s a sample.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you suffer trials of many kinds. James 1:2 (NIV)
So, regardless of what life throws at us, shouldn’t we be happy about it? Oh, I know it can be hard, finding the joy in bad situations, but that’s exactly what He tells us to do. And I admit that, in some scripture, the idea can get a little muddled.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Psalms 2:11 (NIV)
Here’s the definition of rejoice: to feel or show great joy and delight.
So, how do you show great joy in something that scares the stuffin’ out of you?
I’m about to make what is probably the most controversial statement that I’ve made since I started writing these articles. Ready? Here goes.
I am glad, ecstatic, thrilled, delighted, jubilant—and all the other words listed here in my thesaurus—and yes, joyous that Jesus was born, lived, preached on how we are to live our lives, and died on the cross so that I will have eternal life!
That’s right, I said that! And if you don’t believe that simple truth—that we do not have what it takes to do it on our own, or any other way for-that-matter—then you have some serious studying to do, my friend.
I’m glad that He died on the cross for me and you, and you better be too! All my life I’ve been told that I need to fear the Lord. That I’m supposed to tremble and cower and avert my eyes (whenever I finally get to see Him in all his glory). But why? And don’t be obtuse. I know that I need to fear Him when I do the wrong thing, when I sin. But Jesus already took care of that for us. And I don’t think that I need to be scared so long as I’m being righteous. And I’m not the one who calls me righteous. Oh no! That would be Him who calls me righteous. And all it took was for me to accept the truth that I wrote about above. So long as we accept the truth that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and accepted the consequences of our sins—all of our sins, even the sins of those who have not yet been born … hey we’re good. Now we just have to maintain that personal relationship with Jesus Christ and we’ll have a place in Heaven … after we live our lives giving Him thanks and helping others to understand the sacrifice that He made for us, His children.
And now I have a gripe that I’m sure will offend some of you … and I don’t care. Since I’m happy about the fact that I’m saved, I’m thoroughly unimpressed when I hear a Christian say things like, “I deserve to go to Hell” or “I deserve an eternal life of torment for my sins” or any other such nonsense. Oh, and I also don’t care for the “fire and brimstone” preachers who believe that it’s better to scare the Hell (literally) out of the people rather than show them why we need to—you guessed it—REJOICE in the fact that we have a kind, loving, benevolent Father who wants us to succeed and live eternally inside His glory—in whatever form that takes in the afterlife!
Whew! I better visit Ephesians and put on my armor before the slings and arrows start flying.
Here’s the bottom line. I’m happy that I’m a Christian! I’m happy that I have a place in Heaven whenever my passage through this mortal proving ground has ended. I, really, can’t wait to get there. This life has had its moments, but far too few of them in my estimation. And I know that it was my own decisions and actions that created the vast majority of the problems that I’ve suffered, because since I turned all of that over to Jesus … well, let’s just say that He’s done a whole lot better job with my life in the past thirteen years than I ever did with the first forty-two.
So, be happy! Tell people that you’re happy about knowing, believing and trusting in Jesus! Don’t be a “Debbie Downer” and tell the people that you witness to nothing but morbid and depressing things that would make paint curl in order to scare them into believing that Jesus is just a pincushion for our sins. Tell them that He is our Savior who loves us and wants us to share eternal paradise with Him simply because … He loves us.
Today is the day. Now is the time. The battle is on!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
G. J. Fortier is a member of IronMen Ministries and of First Baptist Church, Centerville, Georgia. Look for his Christian Military thriller, Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles, Book 1 and Reflections of the Mirrored Man: The Rob Tyler Chronicles book 2 on Amazon for Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.gerardfortier.com.