As I write this I'm in the back seat of a Ford Explorer heading back to Florida from Steubenville, Ohio. Right now, it's 16 degrees, snowing, and dreary outside. It would be an understatement to say that my wife, our two friends, and I are excited to get back to the Sunshine state. We've driven more than a thousand miles as I write this, but over the course of these many miles I've been able to reflect on three things that are worth taking a brief look at in this article.
A friend of mine said recently that it was "stupid cold" right now in Ohio. I couldn't agree more! In my opinion, anything below 32 degrees is "stupid cold." And with that said, the first thing I've been chewing on is that it might be "stupid cold" in Ohio, but so many people's hearts are much, much colder than this bone-chilling weather when it comes to knowing—really knowing—Jesus!
America is slowly becoming less and less of a "Christian" nation. Less people really know and follow the biblical Jesus than a hundred years ago. How do I know this? Just look at our society and the people who claim to be a "Christian". Why does many of their lives resemble the world?
Until Jesus returns there will never be a time where we don't need to share the gospel. There're too many people with hearts colder than the North Pole. There're too many people in need of the hope found only in Christ. Chances are anywhere you go you'll see someone who needs Jesus. Even churches are full of people who are in much need of Jesus. We must put religion on the shelf, leave it there, and learn to be in genuine relationship with Jesus. What does that look like? It's loving God, loving people, making disciples who make disciples, and doing all that Jesus commands.
We live in a cold, dark world that needs the warmth of God's love. Many people we know and don't know need Jesus. Let's not be another cold shoulder. Instead, let's shine the light of the gospel on a dark, cold world.
The second thing I've been chewing on is this: Salvation is a journey much like a road trip. You begin somewhere (in your relationship with Jesus) with a destination (heaven). Your walk with God is a journey. Every day there is an opportunity to learn something new about God, grow closer to Him, hear His whisper, feel His presence, and know His will. And like any road trip, there will be moments where you grow tired, weak, and perhaps even stumble. But that's when we must get up, dust off our shoes, keep our focus on Jesus, and press on. Salvation is a journey that requires you to live a life of repentance. Those moments where you grow weary, tired, and stumble may require you to seek God's grace. Let's face it. We are human and the inclination of our hearts is to do evil. I love road trips. I love the journey. You may or may not like road trips but you can love your journey—your walk—with Jesus. The journey can be hard at times but know this—the destination is worth the journey and the destination is eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Lastly, the third thing I've been chewing on is this: Jesus can turn any heart of stone (or any heart that is "stupid cold") to a heart of flesh and many hearts have gone from bone-chilling to warm, loving, and full of hope because of Jesus!
Do you know someone with a "stupid cold" heart? Pray for them. God is able to bring warmth to any cold heart, because of his overwhelming love for humanity. Billy Graham once said, "When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, I love you." Love has the power to warm up any cold heart. That's the beauty of the gospel—that's the power of God's love even for sinners like you and I.
What are some things you've been chewing or reflecting on lately?
(Please keep in mind this is not an in-depth article, so try to refrain from assuming things that aren't said. I didn't write it to be like a seminary essay. I wrote it only to share some reflections of mine. Also, parts of this article were written once we got back to Florida. Thanks!)
Aaron Hall is the youth pastor at More 2 Life Ministries (More2Life.tv) in Okeechobee, Florida.
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