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Will You Be Welcomed?

In looking for something clean to watch on television, Wayne and I stumbled upon Bringing Up Bates. Raising nineteen children to love the Lord and to be productive members of society is a pretty big task, but this family does it well. We've binged the entire show and are now caught up.

We love this family and can name them all. 
We've watched the older children fall in love and get married and have children of their own.
We've been in their homes (virtually).
We've gone to parks with them (virtually).
We've laughed with them and cried with them.
We've even been in the delivery room when they are birthing. 

Along with thousands of other people.

I follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

I sometimes catch them broadcasting live.

I've browsed the Bates Sisters Boutique

It's like I know them. 

However, if I show up on their porch during a family party and expect
to be welcomed I'll likely be banished. Perhaps even escorted off the property. "But Gil," I'll cry, "My husband is a pastor just like you are." 
"Kelly Jo, let me come in and help cook. I'm an excellent cook," I'll say, knowing she can use the help.

She'll probably get a puzzled look on her face and say, "I don't know you."

And it's true. Because even though I can claim to be their friend we don't have a relationship. It's one-sided. They're living their lives and I'm simply observing. 

I heard a quote recently stating that four percent of people who claim to be Christians are actual Jesus-loving-going-to-heaven Christians. The others say they are Christians but there's nothing in their lives to back it up. When they get to heaven they're going to say, "Lord, Lord," and Jesus will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." and that will be the end of their happiness. I don't remember who said it or where they got the number, but it's disheartening.

How many of those in our churches will see this play out in their first waking moments on the other side of death? How many will expect to be welcomed into heaven only to be denied access because they never took the time to be in a relationship with the one they claimed to know? 

Being escorted off of the Bates' porch would be much easier than being denied access to what I'd thought would be my eternal home. 

We are meant to do more than observe. We are meant to interact with our Lord. We accept Him to be our Lord and Savior but too many of us neglect the Lord part. We just want to be saved. We want the security. We trust Him with our eternity but don't want to include Him in our now. 

Giving up what we want for what He wants is part of dying to ourselves. Becoming less of us and more like Him. Jesus is our standard, He is our example. He came to earth to teach and train us how to live, His ultimate goal to give His life for us. We need to adopt His character and make it our own. If our plans are to live in eternity with Him, in a holy heaven, why do we spend so much of our time here participating in unholy things?

We've all been instructed to wash our hands these past few months, but I think the focus, in the church, needs to be turned to our hearts. Get rid of the unholy. If we had any idea of how holy God is we would be embarrassed by how we act. 

The path is narrow for a reason. And while many are spreading the message that everyone is welcome at the table, not everyone will be welcomed at the gate. 

"Depart from me, I never knew you," are not words any of us want to hear. 

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