It Takes Conscious Effort to Enter Heaven

The simplest life and the one often lived with the least conflict is one where you just drift along, make few decisions and just take life as it comes. The old fashioned hobo and the modern man living under the bridge have taken this course in their lives.

There is a striking parallel to this attitude today. It is found in our society among those who are more “successful” in the financial and physical side of their lives. They have simply adopted the “drifter’s attitude” in the spiritual side of life. An underlying reason for this is that it takes a conscious decision and much effort to live on a higher spiritual plateau than those around you.

There are so many illustrations of this truth. Is it easier to gossip or to refrain from it? Is it easier to respond harshly to others’ words or to let your lips be ruled by the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26)? Is it easier to use His holy name in a profane way or to let His name be hallowed, not just in prayer, but daily speech (Matt. 6:9)? Is it easier to use the “f-word” or the “s-word,” especially when angry, than to let your speech always be with “grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6)? Is it easier to curse those who curse you than it is to bless them (Matt. 5:44)?

Look at the contrast of the words and phrases found in these two lists: (1) “bitterness, wrath, anger, loud quarreling, evil speaking . . . malice. . .” and (2) “…kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Eph. 4:31-32). The first list characterizes those who just follow the crowd and drift along. The second list manifests a life where one has consciously decided to live differently.

The two attitudes are found in the rearing of children—it is far easier to ignore wrong behavior than to have family rules. It is found in worshiping God—it takes conscious effort to stay focused in Bible study, singing, praying and having an experience that changes one’s heart than it does just to “go to church every Sunday.” It is found in talking to others with sins in their lives about the importance of putting Christ first. It is far easier to be liked by others and to be their “friend” than to “become their enemy by telling them the truth” (Gal. 4:16).

This transformation of attitude is called repentance. One does not just repent once and then is baptized. True repentance is to promise to give one’s life to the Lord.  Repentance is commanded, not just of sinners, but of Christians also. Have you forgotten the promises you made when you became His son? Do you need to repent today?

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