One night last week my son said something to me that shook me. Not just caught me off guard, but shook me to my core. I was laying him in his bed, we talked about the day, we prayed, and I was about to leave the room… Then, it happened. He said “Daddy, can I ask you something?” Since my son is a very smart 3 year old, I assumed he was about to come up with some reason why it was NOT his bedtime yet. I asked him what it was that he wanted to ask, I will quote his question for you here, “Daddy, will you tell me what I need to know so I can go to heaven?” I wasn’t expecting that question. Realizing that my 3 year old son is not mentally capable of grasping God’s plan of salvation, I knew this was not time for Bible study, I simply assured him that I would.
I stayed up a little later that night laying in bed and praying to God. Asking that He help me be a better dad. I kept repeating his question over and over. assuring myself that I could fulfill his request. However, there was something bothering me. I know of many people (some very close to me) that know what the Bible says about how to get to heaven, and yet, they choose their own path. I know people who know that the Lord’s church plays a crucial role in God’s plan, and that Christ died to establish it, yet, they convince themselves that they don’t really NEED the church. It is simply, a good idea for some. I know people who can quote more Bible verses than I can who are not living them. It hit me harder than ever that night that my job is bigger with my children than to simply teach them the plan of salvation. It is deeper. The following is part of an “Open Letter” I have written to my son for when he is older. I am sharing part of it with you for your encouragement as well.
As of this writing you are too young to read. It is my prayer that when you are old enough and the time is right, you will understand how much your mother and I love you. I can’t wait to share my passions with you buddy. I can’t wait to talk sports with you, show you how to hunt, fish, and do some handiwork. I can’t wait to take you camping, and mountain climbing. Above all of these things, I can’t wait to to watch you grow up in the Lord. You asked me once if I would teach you what you needed to know in order to go to heaven. Thank you for asking me. I would love to tell you. However, I cannot teach you all you need to know in a letter. I’m not sure I even know everything that I need to teach you yet. I do want to talk to you about one thing in this letter son. I need to talk to you about your heart.
Buddy, God has blessed you with a kind and tender heart. As you grow, the world will try to teach you that in order for you to “be a man” you have to be hardened. Please son, don’t listen. It is the tenderness of heart that will let you see the good in people. It is your kindness that allows you to show compassion. Jesus is recorded as someone that showed compassion to others, even when He was suffering from a deep personal loss (Matthew 14). Your kindness of heart will help you to realize your own sin, as well as urge you to reach out to those who are outside of Christ.
Satan will attack your heart. He will try his best to hurt you. You will be hurt by people that you thought were your friends. You will see someone within the church behaving in a way that you know they shouldn’t and it will make you question things. There will come a time or two, or even three, where you are hurt financially. It will sting you deeply. It will make you question things again. Satan will try to lure your heart away from God by showing you things in the world that look great, but ultimately lead to death (Romans 6:16).
Satan will use words of flattery to try to soften your stance on doctrinal issues. He will try to convince you that what you believe can’t be right because _____________ doesn’t believe that, and they are living a good life, therefore you really must be mistaken. He will try to get you to become firmer than you need to be and adopt a holier than thou attitude toward others. My son, if you never listen to another word I say, please listen to me now. Do not let Satan steal your heart.
The psalmist writes in psalm 119:10-11 that seeking God with all of your heart and storing His word in your heart is essential to avoiding Satan’s pit falls. Buddy, there are going to be times in life that it is simply easier to ignore this command. Maybe we are “too busy” to study, or maybe we know what the word says, but for our own comfort we “forget about that passage” for a moment. There are going to be times that you don’t feel like serving. There will be times that you don’t want to “go to church” and worship God. There will be times that you will want to do things your own way, and assume that God will just understand your heart. My son, this is Satan working on your heart. Don’t let Satan steal your heart, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
My son, follow Jesus. When Jesus was on this earth He had one consistent message, “follow me.” It is the same message you and I need to follow. Please buddy, don’t follow me. I make too many mistakes I say things I shouldn’t, I don’t always handle things well. If you follow me you will follow my mistakes. Please, follow Jesus. My son, I love you. I promise to try to be a good gatekeeper for our house. I promise I will try to teach you what you need to know. I promise I will try to guard you from the lion (1 Peter 5:8). However, there will come a time, (If it is not already here) that I can’t guard you anymore. It is a decision that you have to make. Please son, don’t let Satan steal your heart.