(I wrote this years ago…while we were living in Guatemala)
I got a pretty good picture of this recently because have a big fence allllll around our property to keep out all the neighbor’s pigs, horses, cows, dogs, chickens etc…So now we have kids dinging our gate bell all the time wanting to come in and play on our property. And, something about “who” we let in and “why” struck me one day.
The key being that we let in people we KNOW…because the people who come to the gate and just want in to play in our yard because they think it’s neat, almost offend me. They don’t want to come play because they care about or like US but just because they want to play with our nice things.
I was imagining all the “things” people do to “get into heaven” and how truly pointless and silly they are…
For example…say I went out to the gate and there were some kids out there…doing a special dance and they said, “We’re doing the dance…now let us in!” I’d think they were crazy and definitely tell them to go away!
If there were kids chanting a certain thing, “Oh! Stoltzfus family how we dig you guys and love your yard…we honor you guys ’cause you’re so good-looking and stuff…” Chanting this over and over and maybe even doing a jig with it, wearing special clothes, and burning some incense and candles saying, “And look we’re burning 1 candle for each of you!” And, then they’d turn to us and say, “We chanted the chant and burned stuff…now let us in!” I’d definitely think they were wacked and not let them in!! I think anyone reading this would react the same way!
And, if they did all those things so their neighbor could get into my yard I’d be like, “You guys are crazy go away! I don’t even know you or your neighbor!”
And if their reaction was to do these “things” even more fervently and more frequently, it would only strengthen my opinion of them as confused, wackos who I don’t know and definitely don’t want to let in my yard!!!
What would make the difference and let them in my yard would be if one day, one of the kids we DO know and already had a relationship with would show up with that kid and say to us, “Hi, this is Bob, he is my friend and we’d like to come in and play”. And, then, we’d let Bob in and once we got to know him, then, he could come and ding the bell, and we’d just look out and see it was him and we’d motion for him to come in. He wouldn’t have to DO anything but KNOW us to come in.
AND THAT RIGHT THERE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUE CHRISTIANITY AND RELIGION…
A religion misses the point…it dances outside the gate…burns candles…chants chants…wears the right clothes…just DOES all kinds of things to impress God when He’s just looking at you going, “Um, have we met?”
All He wants to do is KNOW you…and if you KNOW Him, you don’t have to “do” anything to “get into His yard and play”.
If you are involved in a church that has you “doing things” to “get to heaven” you’re missing the point. It’s not about “what you do” it’s about “WHO you know”. God is a PERSON and He is not any more impressed by religion than we would be. He will “let you into His yard” if you KNOW Him.
And, until you know Him you don’t want into the “yard” for the right reason anyway.
Do you want into heaven because you want to be WITH GOD because you LIKE HIM or because you think heaven will be this great fun place where you can “eat all the chocolate cake you want without gaining weight!” If you just want into heaven because it is the good place…that actually is an offense to God. He will let you in if you want to BE WITH HIM…not in His nice yard with His nice toys…
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ (who rings the bell at the gate) will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (and do all kinds of goofy stuff outside the gate)
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!”