by Rex Rouis
This may sound odd, but I like God. I like everything about Him. I want to go to Heaven to be with Him, and not because I don’t want to go to Hell. I would choose Heaven even if there were no Hell. God, or anybody else, does not have to scare the Hell out of me to get me to choose Heaven. My hand goes up on its own.
I was sitting in my study couch the other day, and I say ‘in’ my couch and not ‘on’ it because that’s the kind of couch it is. I call it my nest. It is my quiet, safe place. As usual, I had all my favorite study things around me, and I suddenly had the thought, “I like God. I honestly like doing this.” It’s a funny thought really, liking God. I mean, why wouldn’t you like God? But sadly, many do not.
I like Him. I like his ways. I like what He likes. And, most of all, I like spending time with Him. It is the best part of my day. He is my God and my Best Friend. I think it’s amazing that I can personally interact with the God of the universe. Me, a normal guy, sitting in a normal house, can communicate freely with the one Eternal God. I just can’t fathom it. And what is even more amazing, is that He enjoys my company. I sure don’t know why. I have nothing to offer except my honest enjoyment of Him, but then again what else do friends need? I appreciate His attention.
If I had the choice between God’s holy Heaven and the world’s image of a bliss filled utopian Age of Aquarius Nirvana future, I would choose Heaven hands down. Why would I pretend to be a god when I can be with the real God? The world’s view of eternal goodness is similar to God’s Heaven yet without the God of Heaven. That is shallow and empty, for it is God alone that can satisfy our souls. How can one remain satisfied for all eternity with any one thing or person? I don’t understand how, but if anybody can pull it off, I’m sure God can.
I am beginning to believe that the grand purpose of the Gospel is not to bring justice to this world, but instead, to choose a just people for the next world. Life is this test. The things of this life are meant to sort out those who do not like Him and don’t gravitate toward Him from those who do. Of course, God could reveal Hell to each of us and drive us to Him, but why would He want to? God doesn’t want a people that have been forced to spend eternity with Him. He chooses a people who have freely chosen Him, both by their word and their actions.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.… I Peter 2:9, 10 Berean Study Bible
The grand purpose of the Gospel is not to bring justice to this world, but instead, to choose a just people for the next world.We all have ups and downs, and at times we may be confused about why things turn out the way they do, but through it all, Christians are being pulled in God’s direction, and the others, in the other direction. Some people simply do not want to spend any amount of time with Him, much less for eternity. That is a hard truth, but it is the truth. In this regard, my concern is for worldly Christians, who would rather do anything else than spend time with God. They accept Him into their heart but then don’t have the hunger or desire to spend time with Him. I am frightened for them. If there is no desire to spend time with Him now, why would anybody desire to spend time with Him later – and for eternity? There has to be more that drives a person to God than the allure of Heaven and the fear of Hell.
God desires faith, and the thing about faith is that it takes time to develop. Jesus said that “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine: and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31, 32). He said this to people who already believed in Him. Apparently, a superficial believing is not enough to receive from God. Hearing from God is the basis of faith (Romans 10:17), and hearing takes seeking and seeking takes time. Those that continue on with Him are the ones who hear and receive their answers. And not only do they receive answers but each time they receive something from Him they receive a little piece of Him. The process of faith is the process by which we all become more like God. It is the win-win process of God, and He calls it salvation. In the end – in the eternal end – He is the real prize of faith.
God is not a church and He is not a religion. He is not just the creator of the universe or the One who wrote the Bible. He is a Person. He is a Person who enjoys spending time with people. People just like you and me. The purpose and goal of the Gospel is to get all of us to a place where we can have a special eternal friendship with Him.
So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. Hebrews 2:11 New Living Translation
Jesus is not ashamed to call us family. What a Gift. What an honor. And what a relief! We will be a Family forever. And remember, there is nothing after forever. There is nothing better than that in all the universe.