Twenty Things I Want to Tell My Sons
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 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

None of the following 20 things matter if you do not have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. If there is nothing else that you do in this life, I ask you to do this – be born again (John 3:16-18).  Further on in Matthew 7 we read that even if you prophesy and cast out demons, but do not know God, then you are doomed to eternity in Hell. In verse 21 Jesus tells us that it is the “One who does the will of the Father” that will enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus clarifies in John that the will of the Father is “That you believe in the One whom He has sent”, namely Jesus (John 6:29). Jesus also makes it clear that “He is the way, the truth and the life” and that “No one comes to the Father but through Him” (John 14:6). Jesus is the gate through which we can begin a relationship with God (John 10:9). There is no other way to God, no other way to have a relationship with God. Many people today say that there are many paths that lead to God. But the truth is, there are no paths that lead to God. Only the man, Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only name given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). He is the only way to God. So I urge you, “by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your Spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)  Call Upon God in Jesus name and be saved (John 3:36, 5:24; Romans 10:9-13).

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and burst against that house; and it fell--and great was its fall."

Matthew 7:24-27

Eternity is a long time. Make sure you are going to spend it with God. The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus His Son. Accept this gift from God and I assure you your life here on earth will be better and your eternity will be beyond belief.

“ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15

Repent

The call of the gospel is simple, repent and believe. Repentance is changing our mind - it is setting our mind on God, on His work, on the work that Jesus did on the cross, on the truth of who we are in Christ. The operative words are "It is finished". It is turning from sin and/or self-righteousness (both me centered ways of living life) and turning to a God centered life and mindset. There is nothing left to be done but to work out in our daily life the freedom that Christ has attained for us already. If we find ourselves struggling with sin or self-righteousness, we must look inside ourselves and see what that behavior is really springing from.

Sin is a condition to be changed, not a behavior to be managed. If we focus on just overcoming outward sin or self-righteousness (also sin), guess what? We keep doing it, because we are focused on it (good or bad, focus is focus - you become what you focus on, what you dwell on, so set your mind on the things above, on the work of Christ). To repent is to find the root heart idol that lies beneath the outward symptom (sin or self-righteousness). Then we must pull that idol down, smash it to bits, and burn it with fire. We must place God at the center of our heart, at the center of our being. Anything can be an outworking of a heart idol, even really good things such as giving to the poor, healing the sick, even loving others, etc.

We must turn from any idol in our heart and turn to God, looking to Him for whatever life we were looking to find in the false heart idol. The key to repentance is to identify and undermine the heart idol beneath, and turn your affections to God instead.  Remember, the outward manifestion is just the symptom of the actual sin, the heart idol. We must deal with the heart idol or it never goes away, it just works its way out in other areas of our life. Ask yourself why are you doing this? What are you trying to get out of this? What lies beneath this? What is the heart idol. Quit looking to the heart idol, and look to God. This is true repentance.

Believe

The work of God is to believe in the one He has sent - Jesus (John 6:28-29). The Christian life is not about doing, but believing. Belief is what drives us. Our beliefs shape everything about us. As a man thinks, so he is. Where your mind is set, there you go. Eyes on the ball. Etc. If there are buttons that people can push in our lives, it means our beliefs are out of kilter, we are not believing in Him (Jesus). If we have outward sin or self-righteousness, we have an inner belief problem that must be dealt with. He is not yet fully Lord of our life in some way, in some area. We are still looking to some heart idol for something that we should only be looking to God for. We must set the affections of our heart on God. All of them. Anything we have set our heart on rather than on God is an idol that we must turn from. Anything. Even good things.

We must also believe what God says about us - the positional truth about us now that we are in Christ. I no longer need this or that from my false heart idols, because God has already provided it in Christ. We must look to Him for all of these things that we need, rather than the heart idols we have picked up along the way and have been looking to in order to meet these needs, fill these voids, give meaning and purpose to our life, etc.

It turns out that the main thing we need to repent of is unbelief. We are to repent of our belief in heart idols, whatever they may be, and turn to a belief in God and His Son Jesus Christ. So the two are inextricably linked together in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Repent and Believe.

So where is your heart? What do you dream about? What do you long for? What makes your heart skip a beat. What do you look at and say "If only I had that, then I would really have what I want, what I desire."? What have you set your heart on? What have you set your affections on? What makes your day? Are you looking to the woman? Are you looking to work? Are you looking to money? Sex? A car? A trip? What are you setting your hope on? What is truly your heart's desire? This is what you believe. This is what drives you. It is why you get up, live your life, do all that you do. If it is not God, then it is a heart idol.

Right now, confess that you have been looking to this false idol to fill the emptiness in your life, the void in your soul. Reject this idol. And ask God to take its place in your life, right now. Tell God that you will no longer look to this idol to fill this void, but that you will look to Him for this. Reject any and all agreements that you may have made with this idol (I always do this, it's just the way I am, etc.). Break them right now. You are not that way any more. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus created for good works. And now walk in the newness of life that Christ has freely given you. Believe and Repent. It is finished.

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"Choose you this day whom you will serve.....but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Joshua 24:15