C.S. Lewis made this observation in his book, The Weight of Glory:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest, most uninteresting person you can talk to, may one day be a creature which, if you saw [them] now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or [who would cause your greatest] nightmare. All day long we are…helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities…that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.
Indeed, each human is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27) and we each have the extraordinary opportunity to guide and influence each other to become either “immortal horrors” or “everlasting splendors.”
I met Chris for the first time in 2013 in my law office. He was a beautiful man. He was tall, blonde, with big blue eyes, a genuine smile, and he had the warmest hug. Chris was humble, too. He was not afraid to tell me that he knew he had made a mess of his life.
I didn’t see Chris again until August 8, 2022. He stopped by my office. He was a desperate man. Chris was in trouble with the law. We talked for over an hour. He cried as he told me how his choices had robbed him of his best life. His soul was deeply troubled. He said that during his last drug overdose, he thought he had died. Chris could sense the presence of hell and it was the most awful, rotten, putrid smell he had ever experienced.
He was very afraid, and…He wanted me to represent him.
But God’s Spirit didn’t give me liberty to say “yes.’ Instead, I asked him:
“Chris, when you told me back in 2013 that you had received Christ as your Savior and Lord, what is the proof in your life that this transaction between you and God occurred? [He didn’t have an answer, so I continued.] A person who has been born again bears the fruit of His Spirit; that is, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, AND, last but not least, self-control. [I looked him right in the eyes, and said,] I don’t see that fruit, do you?”
He hung his head, and he said,
“No, I don’t either.”
Our discussion turned to trying to pinpoint the time he came to know Christ. I told him my testimony that moment when I surrendered to Christ. Then, I asked him to share his story. It was vague in his mind. We agreed that—he needed to know—that he knew. After all, he knew when he said “I do” on the day he was married; but he couldn’t remember when he said “I do” to Christ.
Chris agreed…he needed to KNOW that he KNEW Christ—100%.
At the conclusion of our meeting, I declined to represent Chris. He didn’t need me as much as he needed to know God. Chris needed to surrender to God because he desired God more than anything else. He needed to repent—not because he was in trouble and afraid of the consequences (what the Bible calls “worldly sorrow;”) but rather, because he truly desired to live in submission to God (what the Bible calls “Godly repentance.”) I knew from my own life, that only a relationship with God would free him from the slavery of addiction. Without God, legal representation would not give him true liberty; rather, it would only make him free to destroy himself.
I told him God would not allow me to be part of that for any amount of money.
Before he left, I prayed over Chris. After he left, I called my mother, who is an amazing prayer warrior. I asked her to join me in praying for him every day, and she put him on her prayer list.
A couple weeks later, my office received a call from Chris—He wanted another appointment.
On August 29, 2022, Chris arrived at my office with his mother, Debi. My spirit sensed a difference in him. I asked him if he wanted his mother to be present for the appointment and he said, “I most certainly do!” Then, there in my office, God did something I will never forget. The Spirit led me to have a very direct conversation with Chris. The first question I asked him was:
“Chris, if you died tonight, do you know where you would go?”
He looked me in the eye and said “Yes.”
I asked, “Where?”
He said, “I would be with Jesus.”
I asked, “How do you know?”
He said, “Because I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior, and I completely trust Him because—He does not lie.”
I said, “Wow, Chris, I can sense your confidence in Christ. Now, we need to make a plan for you to grow so you can stay close to God and He can mold you.”
That day, Chris was clear eyed, confident, and I could see the peace in his soul. He was a different person. I could sense God’s presence. We discussed a plan for his spiritual growth. He was ready to live in the freedom of Christ! He was young, just 46 years old and was excited to start over. Chris wanted to be a better son, brother, father, grandfather, and friend. I knew, without a doubt, he wanted to live for something bigger and better than his own enslaving physical desires. He had found the “everlasting splendor” C.S. Lewis wrote of, and He was ready to put the transforming power of God to work in his own life!
In that beautiful hour, on August 29, 2022, neither Chris, his mother, nor I, would have ever guessed that six days later, on Sunday, September 4, 2022, his lifeless body would be discovered kneeling beside his bed, as if in prayer. His body was found in a pool of water, and the EMT personnel believe he died of a pulmonary embolism; but the “real,” part of Chris wasn’t there. His soul and spirit were with Christ.
How amazing to have complete confidence that the REAL Chris is NOT dead!
In the week following Chris’s death, I was talking with Debi, and we marveled at how good God had been to have orchestrated his last few days. She was so grateful to have heard Chris, in my office, express his unequivocal faith in Jesus. She asked me to share this testimony at his funeral and she also asked me to share his story with the world. So, my dear friend…
What would Chris want you to know from where he now resides with Jesus?
He would want you to know that the greatest, most important relationship you can have is with Jesus Christ. When you accept him as your Savior and Lord, He satisfies the great hunger of your soul. He will fill you with more love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, and peace—than you have ever known. You will have confidence in your eternal destiny. God does not lie. Once you belong to Him, through receiving the GIFT OF SALVATION, you will always belong to Him. Just as you will always have the genetics of your parents, your “in Christ” genetics will never change either!
When you belong to God, the fruit of His Spirit will dominate your life. God’s love and presence cannot be faked. His Spirit cannot be appropriated for our earthly purposes. Chris’s walk with Christ may have been short, but if his story brings you into a relationship with Christ, it will be more meaningful and eternally significant than if he had lived for 100 years.
Eternity is a long time: You only get THIS lifetime to decide where you’ll spend it.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”Hebrews 9:27
Christ, the Lamb of God, died so you could have eternal life; and there is nothing greater you could ever do, than surrender your heart 100% to Him and have your name written in His book.
“The [New Jerusalem] had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”Revelation 21
Ah, my friend, is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
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