You’re an adult now. But once upon a time, you were the kid sitting in the pew with your parents every Sunday. You were in Sunday School or small group any time the doors opened. You knew the Bible stories and the answers to questions.
Then you grew up and life crowded in. You still know the answers, but the church thing on Sundays, well maybe it’s something you’ll get back to one of these days – when life slows down, when kids come. But you still know the answers, you still know God. There’s no problem.
Let’s look at it this way:
Your number is called, and you die today. You are immediately in the presence of the Lord and He asks you, “Why should I let you into heaven?”
What would you tell Him?
Would your answer include things like:
I’ve never known a time when I wasn’t a Christian.
I was raised in church.
I know the Bible. I’m a pretty good person.
My friend, you may have sat in the pew for years, heard all the right answers, verses, and stories and missed the gospel – that Jesus died for every bad thought, action, or secret moment and rose again because He loves you and wants a relationship with you. Not just an acknowledgement.
The person who has grasped the heart of the gospel follows Him, not when it’s convenient but when it’s not because that’s obedient. This person is part of His body, the church, not out of legalism but because scripture says that other believers are God’s gift to us, a source of accountability and encouragement. This person has a desire to read the Word and talk to the Lord, not because of a rule, but because He came for a relationship.
Does this describe you now? Does that describe your last months and years?
All of this is a lifelong growing process. John 15 describes Jesus as the vine and His people as the branches. If we are attached to the vine, we will bear fruit (John 15:8). That is a mark of the believer. Seasons will come and go where growing is challenging or may not be apparent. But seasons change, and if you are diligently seeking to grow in the Lord, the spring will come and fruit will bloom again.
Dear long ago church kid, if there isn’t a hunger for the things of God, if fruit isn’t present and hasn’t been for a long while, there are one of two possibilities.
- You are living in sin, meaning you are not walking according to God’s desire for you as a believer. And you are not living the abundant life God desires.
- Or you missed the gospel and you are walking around thinking the church band-aid will get you into heaven.
If your life is marked by a pattern of no growth and stagnant faith, it might be time for self-examination. Revelation 3:16 says that those who are lukewarm – neither hot not cold – the Lord doesn’t tolerate. But Revelation 3 goes on to say that those the Lord loves, He disciplines. We can repent and turn from our unhealthy patterns. Revelation 3:20 says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks and we only have to hear His voice and respond.
Your church attendance as a kid doesn’t get you into heaven. Knowing the Bible doesn’t get you into heaven. Being a good, moral person and following the lessons laid out in scripture doesn’t get you into heaven. In fact, Matthew 7:22 says that many will say that they know the Lord but will not make it into heaven. The truth is, in their heart they never knew Him.
Only confessing He is Lord and believing He rose from the dead will get you into heaven (Romans 10:9-10), and those steps lead to following Him with your life. It’s all about relationship. If that’s absent, please search yourself and determine if that knowledge you had as a kid is actually a relationship as an adult with the God who loves you. Don’t wait for life’s circumstances to perfectly align in order to experience the rich relationship Jesus desires with you. He’s standing at the door, waiting for you to knock or maybe waiting for you to come back.
He’s waiting, friend. Don’t let past faithfulness deceive you into missing Christ’s fullness. Seek Him with your whole heart. You’ll find Him.
Not sure where to start on your journey back to the Lord? Or do you have questions about faith? We would love to answer them and journey with you. Join us on Sunday mornings for worship or tune in on the First Dallas iCampus. We are excited to partner with you in the abundant life God desires for His people.