I recently had a guy ask me a perplexing question: “Hey are you from Louisiana?” “What!” I asked, “Why you say dat?”
I concede that my accent is hard to figure. I am an Ohioan who has lived in Texas for 40 years. When I return to Ohio, and they get all rankled when I refer to them as, “ya’ll” and they wag their heads when I say “I knowd he et my “chicken fried steak.” And they are relieved when I get in the car and say, “I’m fixin’ to go to the house.”
But when a Texan hears me speak, he says, “Where you from boy?” When I ask for a bottle of pop – he wants to pop me.
My accent may defy description – but Louisiana? Makes me madder than a crawfish without a bayou!
Oh well, ultimately, it’s not where you are from that matters, but where you are going!
Where are we going? Time moves forward whether we like it or not, and it sweeps us along with it. So, what is our destination?
Do we ever get in the car and say, “I don’t know where I’m going!” OK sometimes I say that but that’s because I am old. But, generally speaking, we don’t turn the key without having a destination in mind.
The apostle John provided a helpful map for one particular spot.
He was writing to his spiritual “children” – those people that he had mentored and loved. In his letter, he taught them about Jesus and the faith, and how to love one another, and other themes that help a Christian understand how to live.
As he wound down his letter, he added this amazing gem of truth. He wrote, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:13
Now let’s make sure we get this. He started with “I have written these things….” What things? All the spiritually affirming truths in chapters 1 through 5.
It was directed to “…you who believe in the name of the Son of God….” He was addressing those who had placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior. They were not relying on their own efforts or merit. Their confidence wasn’t based on their church membership or attendance. They relied solely on what Jesus had accomplished for them at the cross.
His purpose was revealed in the last phrase, “…that you may know that you have eternal life.” It isn’t always that you find the words “know” and “eternal life” in the same sentence. And yet John says that the one who had put their hope in Christ has eternal life, and they can know and be assured of it in this life.
Some might say, “Well, No one knows what know means.”
I get you. Someone may say, “I know Fred.” But in reality, Fred is more of an acquaintance to that person. They don’t really and truly know him. There is a word for that kind of knowing in the Greek New Testament. It is “ginosko.”
But John uses a very different word in his letter. It is “oida” which refers to a deep, full, true understanding of a person or an issue. This is a convinced kind of knowing.
So, John tells us that the person who has trusted Christ should have a deep down, in the pit of their stomach, sure as shootin’ assurance that heaven is in their future.
Ultimately, it’s not where you are from that matters, but where you are going! If you have trusted Jesus – you are going to heaven! I just knowd it.
A PRAYER: Thank you God for helping me truly and deeply know that I will be with you when this life has been exhausted.
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.