Eternal Life ~ Life Style
Jesus teaches us that most people including "MANY" Christians, who believe in Jesus, are going to "ETERNAL PUNISHMENT" when their bodies die, which Jesus describes as where "THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED". Unfortunately only a "FEW" followers of Jesus will have "ETERNAL LIFE". It is very sad to think that many nice, kind, sincere, faithful Christians might not have eternal life. God does not want anyone to "BE LOST". As we remember that Jesus said, "WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE", please also remember Jesus does not want us to "JUDGE" others. Many Christians are so convinced with their beliefs about salvation or being born again or eternal life that they might consider it a lack of faith to consider anything else, including what Jesus teaches. Strong belief or faith does not change the truth of what Jesus teaches. An example strong incorrect faith was the people to whom Jesus told, "YOU DILIGENTLY STUDY THE SCRIPTURES BECAUSE YOU THINK THAT BY THEM YOU POSSESS ETERNAL LIFE ", and then went on to tell them why they were incorrect. Although Jesus was talking to Jews, many of who still today study the Torah for the same reason; many Christians also fall into the same error and put their faith in scriptures. Scriptures in the bible help us know God and Jesus better but are not the source of eternal life. When Jesus says we must be "BORN AGAIN", many teachings are made up to teach how to be born again. Jesus has given us the best understanding when He said, "UNLESS YOU CHANGE AND BECOME LIKE CHILDREN, YOU WILL NEVER ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS THE ONE WHO HUMBLES HIMSELF AND BECOMES LIKE THIS CHILD". To be born again we must deny our wants and desires and totally subordinate ourselves to God. We need be become dependent on God like a little child is dependent on his or her parent. To have eternal life we must live a life style desirable to God. 1
When the stories of Jesus were recorded from several different Hebrew oral traditions, all three Gospels writers considered it important enough to record the story of a man asking what he must do to have "eternal life". Jesus initial response is simply "OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS". Since the Jews were already encumbered with a lot of commands, Jesus clarified that He was referring to the Ten Commandments. Then Jesus' additional response was to encourage him to give up things of personal importance and "FOLLOW ME". As the conversation continued with His disciples, who had left all things of personal importance to follow Jesus, Jesus assured them they would receive back more than they gave up and best of all would receive "ETERNAL LIFE". Most Christians who believe in Jesus have left very little of personal importance except maybe a few sins. This understanding for eternal life is consistent with other teachings of Jesus for example when Jesus tells us we must "DENY" ourselves "DAILY AND FOLLOW ME". Denying ourselves is part of becoming like a dependent child and being "BORN AGAIN". To follow Jesus we need to remember when Jesus said, "IF YOU OBEY MY COMMANDS, YOU WILL REMAIN IN MY LOVE". He did not say some of My commands. It is not unusual for Christians to follow some of what Jesus said like the statement, "WHOEVER BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED WILL BE SAVED". Yes it is elementary everyone should be baptized but many get baptized and decide they are saved and do no more. We need to follow all of what Jesus teaches, only. We need to be careful that we are not also following some manmade doctrines along with following Jesus. To have eternal life we need to change our life style and give things of personal importance that God shows us we need to give up. 2
To keep it simple, Jesus tells us, "I KNOW THAT ETERNAL LIFE COMES FROM WHAT THE FATHER COMMANDS. SO WHATEVER I SAY IS WHAT THE FATHER TOLD ME TO SAY". If we want eternal life, we need to follow what God and Jesus say and command. For everyone who is uncertain how to understand their well-loved, lifelong Christian beliefs, traditions and teachings, remember the example of the Bereans who "every day they studied the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was really true". Whether it is Paul or some other person like a church leader, compare what is taught with what God and Jesus teach. Follow only what is supported by what God and Jesus' teach or to make it easier if you are a new Christian just follow what God and Jesus teach, to have eternal life. To follow only what God and Jesus teach and God tells us is definitely a life style. 3
Recently a young mother was driving her children home after dark and hit a deer that darted out of the woods. She pulled her damaged car off the road to wait for a tow truck and safely got her children out and away from the car. Then she realized she needed to turn on her hazard lights and went back to the car and as she was turning on her hazard lights, a car hit her car and killed her instantly. We never know when we need to be living an eternal life ~ life style.
1. Mt 7:13-14; 25:46;18:14; 7:1; 29:26; Mk 9:48; Jn 5:39; 3:3 (NI); Mt 18:3-4 (GN)
2. Mt 19:16-30 (Mk 10:17-31, Lk 18:18-30); Lk 9:23; Jn 15:10; Mk 16:16 (NI)
3. Jn 12:50 (IC); Ac 17:11 (GN)
note: click here for bible verse and translation abbreviations
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A Psalm for reflection "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." Ps 16:11 (NI)
Understanding the Teaching: What I share in the teaching is what I believe God wants me to share. All the direct quotes from God are highlighted in royal purple. Of course the words of Jesus are in red. Rather than follow some made up doctrine, remember that Jesus said that every thing He said (Jn 12:49) and everything He did (Jn 14:31) comes from God. All teachings and all opinions should be supported by what we learn from God or Jesus (see the scripture referred to in the footnote).
MARRIAGE WORKSHOP MOMENT
Filters: we all have them and they affect the very fabric of our marriages. Filters can be inattention, emotional states, expectations, communication styles or self-protection. All of these can effect how you hear or process things in your mind. One example of an emotional state could be if your boss yelled at you and put you down at work in front of others. When you come home, recognize your filter that you may hear things differently than intended because you are stressed and emotional. Try not to jump on your children for the least little problem. You may wish to announce your filter by sharing with your family that you had a rough day, so hopefully they will treat you considerately and it may cause your spouse be more sensitive to you. Another illustration would be a wife came home late after a long day. Her husband thinking this would be a great time to take her out to dinner said, "What would you like to eat?" Through her tired filter she heard, "What are you going to fix for dinner?" And her response was anger, which resulted in him getting angry and they never did go out to eat. Recognize that all kinds of filters become barriers to intimacy and openness. Try and be sensitive to your spouse and detect their filters. Take responsibility for understanding your filters. If you recognize you have a situation that may cause you to filter, announce it.
The Better Half "When your partner won't support your efforts to make your marriage better" Without your spouse's support to improve your marriage, you can still pray daily for God's will to be done in each of your lives and your marriage. Jesus said, "all things are possible with God", Mk 10:27 NI). Recognize that all kinds of filters become barriers to intimacy and openness. Try and be sensitive to your spouse and detect their filters. Take responsibility for understanding your filters. If you recognize you have a situation that may cause you to filter, announce it. If you feel like your spouse will not care about your filter, you may try to not allow it to influence what you hear
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