Is accepting Jesus’s sacrifice for me really the only way to heaven?
Well, there’s one other way to enjoy that perfect relationship with the Father in heaven: to be born sinless and go your whole life without ever sinning! But since everyone is born of fallen parents and experiences an imperfect human life in a fallen world, we all need Jesus!
Jesus lived his life as an example to us of how to live as a human walking with God. Everything He did, we can do.
Jesus lived his life as an example to us of how to live as a human walking with God. Everything He did, we can do. Though He could have crushed the devil in the desert, He instead battled temptation with Scripture, just as we can do. He depended on the power of the Holy Spirit, just as we can. He was strengthened by angels, just as we can be. He experienced betrayal and denial, just as we do, and he was tempted in every way, as we are. He understands the trials of human life, and He lived in such a way as to model how we can live.
So what did Jesus do when facing the most difficult and important trial of His life? He asked God, as we often do, “Isn’t there any other way?” The answer was no, and yet, Jesus voluntarily accepted the Father’s will and entered into suffering, death, and wrath from sin so that we would not have to.
In our world, we want things to be easy, but God’s desire is to make us holy. You were created by God for His glory and His purposes; God has prepared good works for you to do (Eph 2:10) for His glory. If you want God to use you for something great (God-sized), you will have to follow Jesus’ example and voluntarily walk into a situation that you would otherwise pray to have taken away from you. You will need to make a decision to be courageous, voluntarily confronting the fear and pain that lies ahead. But how can you do that?
You can endure suffering with courage and strength by leaning into the Father, as Jesus does in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before His betrayal and death. He prays! He calls out to his “Daddy” – His “Abba, Father”:
Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:32-36
In Luke’s account of this event in the Garden of Gethsemane, an angel appears to strengthen Jesus as He is asking for God to spare Him from suffering—and finally submitting to the Father’s will:
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Luke 22:39-44
Did you know that in the midst of your own trial, pain, heartache, and seemingly impossible burdens that angels are available to give you strength, as they did for Jesus? If you are suffering, ask God what He wants to do in your life. Even if your suffering is a result of your own sin, God can use it to cleanse you, shape you, and purify you. By following Jesus’ example of prayer, you can be strengthened, receive courage and encouragement, and step forward. Pray to God and listen to His voice. He already knows what you have to say, but if you sit quietly and listen, His words to you are life-changing.
Sit quietly and think about your life, your relationship with God, your pain, your fears, your burdens, and your unknowns. God wants you to talk to Him, to listen to Him in silence, and to allow Him speak to you. Allow Him to affirm in your heart His love for you, and you can be strengthened to surrender to His will.