So Close; but So Far
I was home alone working on one of my lessons the other night when I heard a car pull into the driveway and the doorbell rang. Valerie had gone to one of her meetings and I was puzzled as to who it could be. When I opened the front door, the lady standing before me also had a puzzled look on her face as she said, “This isn’t the James residence is it?” I told her that she was looking for my next door neighbor – she was close, but she had missed her destination!
You know, it got me to thinking about how many people have made the same type of mistake spiritually. They've gotten all involved with something spiritual or a religion that represents the Lord, but they have missed meeting Him in person! Jesus made a strong statement about this kind of spiritual "misconnection". There was a scribe who had a lot of religious knowledge and spiritual understanding but he had no personal commitment to Jesus. Jesus told him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." (Mark 12:34)
He was almost there, but missed his destination! I believe this is true about a lot of people who come very close to doing what they must do in order to get to heaven, but like missing the airplane by only seconds, they still won't get there! The question we need to think about is, if Jesus were to appear to you today, would he say to you - "You're not far from the kingdom of God. But you're not in."
Many people have found a spiritual experience in creation - the mountains, the lake, the woods, maybe even the deer camp. That's good, but that's not God! Don’t stop at what God has made and not go on to a personal relationship with the God who made it! Some may even try to substitute the religion that’s about Jesus for a relationship with Jesus.
My friends please hear me, church membership, or religion is not what gets us to our destination. It's Jesus that gets us to heaven, not just religion! One of the greatest spiritual dangers out there is putting your trust in religion but not putting your trust in God.