This is a great question and one I find myself asking a lot. I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed, but when it comes to matters of faith "anything goes" seems to be a prevailing theme in our world:
- "Who are you to tell me that something is right or wrong? That's for me to decide."
- "God would never be so cruel as to send only a few to Heaven."
- "Your body, your mind, and your 'soul' are all just energy and when you die the energy is dispersed. I believe that with enough desire you can keep that energy together as one entity and continue to 'live.'"
- "You die and your body decomposes in the ground. No afterlife, no heaven or hell, nothing."
- "I believe we reincarnate. Maybe not immediately, but eventually - to grow and learn."
- "Heaven is whatever you believe it to be when you die."
Truth be told, I expressed similar sentiments not that long ago. But as I began reading and learning more about the Bible I had trouble reconciling my thoughts and feelings with verses like these:
The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is the One and only way to God. His Word also makes it clear that simply knowing who Jesus is does not grant us heavenly privileges. We must know Him, we must know His Word. Jesus says that many will come using His name to deceive many (Matthew 24:5). The Bible also talks about Satan and his servants disguising themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). If I can't trust how something looks or feels, how do I know that I'm headed in the right direction?Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Matthew 7:21-23Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!' There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed, there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last." Luke 13:22-30Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10:25-30But there were also lying prophets among the people then, just as there will be lying religious teachers among you. They'll smuggle in destructive divisions, pitting you against each other—biting the hand of the One who gave them a chance to have their lives back! They've put themselves on a fast downhill slide to destruction, but not before they recruit a crowd of mixed-up followers who can't tell right from wrong. They give the way of truth a bad name. They're only out for themselves. They'll say anything, anything, that sounds good to exploit you. They won't, of course, get by with it. They'll come to a bad end, for God has never just stood by and let that kind of thing go on. 2 Peter 2:1-3
It seems only wise to never take for granted I am headed in the right direction (I've landed in the ditch far too many times for that lesson not to stick). Instead of relying my subjective feelings, thoughts, and ideas - I look to God's Word for His input on the matter.
Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Proverbs 4:26