It’s unfashionable to follow the precepts of a man who lived over 2000 years ago and doesn’t embrace the spirit of our times, which tells us to ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.'
Instead He exhorts us to "turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” New Living Translation (©2007) Matt. 16:24
Where’s the appeal in that?
And does such a lifestyle guarantee admittance to heaven? Supposing we ‘take up our cross’ only to end up in the nothingness of the Universe after we die, instead of living in eternal happiness with God? We'll have missed out on so much!
Would it not be smart to have a Plan B – a back-up creed, as it were ─ just in case we’re wrong to believe in Christ and His teachings?
Napoleon’s Life Strategy
In his famous book ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ Napoleon Hill outlines principles for attaining earthly success and writes about the many men who’ve applied them.
A certain Edwin C. Barnes wanted to work with (not for) Thomas Edison. Mr. Hill writes: “Barnes' desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It was DEFINITE.”
Mr. Barnes was so determined to achieve his aim, that he was willing to “burn all bridges behind me, and stake my ENTIRE FUTURE on my ability to get what I want."
Barnes ‘did not say, "I will keep my eyes open for another opportunity, in case I fail to get what I want in the Edison organization."……“He stood by his DESIRE until it became the dominating obsession of his life ─ and ─ finally, a fact.”
In short, Barnes’ goal became an obsession, and everything he did was in order to achieve this one end. He succeeded. ‘Out of that business association (with Edison) grew the slogan, "Made by Edison and installed by Barnes."’
God demands the same ‘obsession’ from us, and warns against trying to be of this world and of God. We can choose only one.
The first commandment is unambiguous about this. “I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (My italics)
Jesus elaborates further on the level of commitment God requires of us.
'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' Matthew: 22:37
We must guard against deep attachment to the things of this world for only love of God makes us willingly obey His laws. And when we don’t obey His laws, it proves we don’t love or believe in Him.
St. James admonishes those who can’t choose one or the other 'god,' and calls them ‘double-minded.’
“Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” James 1:8. The New Living Translation (©2007)
Clarke’s Commentary on the same webpage explains it this way:
“A man of this (double-minded) character is continually distracted; he will neither let earth nor heaven go, and yet he can have but one.”
St. James also makes it clear that such “people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” unless their “faith is in God alone.” James 1:6-7
We can’t pray to God only when we want something and expect Him to give it to us, when we worship the pursuit of worldly wealth instead of Him the rest of the time.
If You Aren't For Me...
It isn't possible to love God and Mammon: love of one excludes love of the other. Either we are for God or we are against Him: there is no middle ground.
Christ is very clear about this: "Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.” Matthew 12:30 New Living Translation (©2007)
He also outlines the consequences of not being wholeheartedly Christian:
“If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when He returns in His glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:26 New Living Translation (©2007)
We can’t be successful in any undertaking if our commitment is lukewarm. The desire of true Christians is to get to heaven: their lives are lived solely in the hope of being with God when they die.
Hope Versus Hope
Christian ‘hope’ is completely different from worldly hope.
Jack Weaver defines this in his ‘Notes From a Retired Preacher.’
‘The Hope of Heaven is not a maybe — but an absolute and definite guarantee by the Word of the Truth of the Gospel.
‘“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Titus 1:2
‘Eternal life — guaranteed and promised by the God of the Universe. He cannot lie... Every true believer in Jesus Christ may look with confidence to the glorious appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ. (There is) No doubt!’
Christian hope is not wishful thinking: it is the absolute certainty of eternal life if we commit to Christ.
Do We Still Have Time?
If we’ve been a doubting, ‘double-minded’ person, will Christ still accept our belated commitment to Him?
‘“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.’ Joel 2:12-13 ESV
‘The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.’ Acts 17:30 ESV
So now would be a good time. :)
Is There a Deadline?
Christ is the Merciful One during our lifetime. If we repent of our sins and ask for His forgiveness now, He will extend His infinite mercy to us.
This changes when we die.
Consider these words of Our Lord to Saint Faustina:
“Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. (1588)”
The moment we die, He becomes our Judge and His clemency is permanently over.
“….after (the end times) will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them. (848) (My italics)
“Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the doors of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the doors of My mercy must pass through the doors of My justice... (1146)”
Now, Was That So Difficult?
Christ wants to save us, but we must humble ourselves and ask for His forgiveness. He cannot save us if we don't ask Him to.
Catholics have to ask pardon for their sins out loud to a priest, which requires even more humility than a quiet acknowledgement of guilt to God alone.
But, however we do so, once we’ve admitted our faults and asked for forgiveness, a great burden lifts from us. Invited back into our hearts, Christ in His mercy walks with us again.
And as my former parish priest used to say, ‘Don’t look down or that’s where you’re going. Look up ─ at where you want to go!”
God must be the Alpha and Omega of our lives if we are to attain that for which He made us: eternal life with Him in heaven.
There is no Plan B for Christians. We don't need one.
Napoleon Hill quotes taken from:
Hill, Napoleon (2010-05-07). The Classic Napoleon Hill Masterpiece THINK AND GROW RICH [Illustrated & Annotated] (Kindle Locations 4470-4471). Northpointe Classics. Kindle Edition.(Available for 99c)
Or click here for free download.
St Faustina quotes taken from:
THE LIFE AND MISSION OF Saint Faustina APOSTLE OF THE DIVINE MERCY