Christians should accept God and play an active role in their faith, instead of simply "hoping" they'll go to heaven, Pastor Rick Warren wrote in a recent post.
In an March 27 blog post on his "Daily Devotionals" website, Warren, who is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, wrote: "[…] hope just isn't good enough. I pray that's not your answer. Your eternal destiny is too important not to know for sure," Warren explains. "Only a fool would be unprepared for what we all know is inevitable: death."
"You're not guaranteed another minute on this planet, much less another hour. Don't put off the most important choice you'll ever make," the evangelical pastor continued.
Warren goes on to quote John 5:11-12, which reads: "this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (NIV)."
"That's about as clear as you can get," Warren writes. "If you have Jesus, you have life. If you don't have Jesus, you do not have life. You have a choice."
"You won't go to Heaven because of someone else's faith. You'll never go to Hell because of someone else's choice," the evangelical pastor adds, saying that in the end, only you determine where you'll spend eternity.
The California pastor explains that holidays like Christmas and Easter remind us of God's sacrifice and its importance to our eternal life.
"God nailed everything that separated you from himself to the cross. But God won't force you to make the most important decision of your life. It's in your hands," Warren writes, noting that it's "time" for Christians to choose.
Warren has spoken on the importance of accepting Jesus Christ into one's life before, writing in May 2014 that faithfulness is a rare and important quality to have.
"Faithfulness has always been a rare quality," Warren writes. "Most people don't know the meaning of commitment."
"They make commitments casually, then break them for the slightest reason without any hesitation, remorse, or regret. Every week, churches and other organizations must improvise because volunteers didn't prepare, didn't show up, or didn't even call to say they weren't coming," he adds.
God calls Christians to be His servants, Warren continues, pointing to the many faithful servants of God mentioned in the Bible.
"[…] God has promised to reward your faithfulness in eternity. Imagine what it will feel like one day to have God say to you, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!' (Matthew 25:23 NLT)," Warren writes.
"By the way, faithful servants never retire. They serve faithfully as long as they're alive. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God," the pastor adds.