I was enjoying a brisk walk on a late February day. While admiring the spectacular beauty of Langley, British Columbia and appreciating the early spring blossoms appearing on the trees and the ducks peacefully swimming in the ditches, something flew past my head. Normally, I wouldnâ€™t wear a helmet when I am just out for a walk! But tomorrow morning I will be more careful and more watchful.
I looked across the street to see where the flying object might have originated. It was from a golf course. Golfers were teeing off and giving it their best shot. I donâ€™t know how my head would have responded had it been struck. But, given the speed with which the golf ball flew past my face, I think, at a minimum, I would have collapsed to the sidewalk.
My walk interrupted by the near hit, I thought I should at least recover the errant ball. Eventually, I found it in a bush. I took it to coffee with me wondering whether the golfer had even given it a second thought. Was it the golferâ€™s best shot? Probably not, but even if it was, the consequences were minimal.
As I drank my Americano, my mind went to another sphere â€“ a spiritual reflection. Over the years I have politely asked people if they are going to be in Heaven after they die. More than once Iâ€™ve been told: â€œWell, Iâ€™m giving it my best shot.â€ Outstanding and upright citizens of our country have told me â€“ â€œSir, I expect so. I definitely am giving it my best shot.â€ Others, living rather dark, fractured, and broken lives have told me basically the same thing: â€œDude, I donâ€™t know, but Iâ€™m gonna give it my bestÂ shot.â€ A slight difference in how they articulated their spiritual strategy but the bottom line was the same.
Giving it your best shot may be a good strategy for golfing and for other things in your life, but itâ€™s disastrous if thatâ€™s your approach to Heaven.
Jesus met a man one night who was sincerely giving Heaven his best shot. There was no mediocrity in his life. Nicodemus pursued excellence. He planned on being in Heaven. If living a good life, if being a strong believer, if being genuine and sincere about his faith and being diligent and devout about his religion â€“ if thatâ€™s what it takes to get to Heaven, Nicodemus would make Heaven for sure.
But, Nicodemus was in for the shock of his life. He discovered that giving it your best shot was not acceptable to God â€“ no matter who tried. He would never be in the Kingdom of God if all he had was his best shot at it. Jesus told him: â€œUnless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of Godâ€ (John 3:3).
The chances of making it to Heaven by giving it your best shot are not merely slim â€“ they are nil. There is a 0% chance you will be in Heaven if all you have is your lifetime of giving it your best shot.
The new birth, of which Jesus spoke, is an absolute necessity â€“ it is the only entrance requirement for acceptance into Godâ€™s family and to Heaven. â€œYou must be born againâ€ (John 3:7). Jesus wasnâ€™t merely suggesting it would be a good thing. He said it was a â€˜mustâ€™.
A sinner is â€˜born againâ€™ the moment he or she consciously repents of sin and places their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Jesus told Nicodemus that â€œwhoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal lifeâ€ (John 3:15).
The Bible is clear â€“ no one gets to Heaven based on their sincere efforts or personal merit. Our deeds and works have no value when it comes to the forgiveness of our sins and acceptance by God. You must receive, by faith, Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour or you will miss Heaven for sure.
â€œFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves (this is not your own doing); it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boastâ€ (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Giving something your best shot is okay when it comes to an exam in school, or performance at work, or even in golfing. But when it comes to eternal life and being in Heaven, it will result in disaster.
Think about it.
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