“....or else? Think about it.
Might these not be two of the most powerful words in our language?
Are there any other two words that more certainly tend to motivate us to do whatever is necessary to prevent "....or else" consequences from happening?
An “or else” letter from the IRS that unless we file our taxes by a certain date; an “....or else” notice from the Mortgagor that unless we pay an overdue mortgage payment; an "....or else" email from our boss that unless our production does not improve.
Yes, there are an endless number of “....or else" situations. And is this specific language such a powerful motivator?
Is it not that we “believe” that unless we take whatever action we need to take to avoid it, the “....or else” outcome will in fact happen?
And why is this even important? Take a moment to think of all the “....or else” situations you could possibly face. Before you leave this paragraph, make a list of them. Rank them in the order of their importance. Health, marriage, personal relationships, children, job, finances?
The first time I did this, I was appalled. I was humbled. I was forced to get on my knees and acknowledge my meagerness, my selfishness, my total unworthiness.
Why? Because my relationship with my Creator was not even on the list, let alone at the top of it.
How was that possible? Why, I viewed myself as a person of faith.
I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in my youth.
I was a charter member of the “church 3 x’s a week” club.
I was a student of the Word.
Yes, I was (and am) a sinner.
I had failures but I had asked for and felt like I had received forgiveness.
I read the Bible regularly.
I prayed (not as often as I probably should have).
I gave (also not as much as I probably should have).
And I “believed” (but clearly not as much as I thought I did).
Why? Because when it came to my faith, I was relying on ME….on ME reading enough….or else; on ME praying enough….or else; on ME attending enough….or else; on ME giving enough….or else.
Yes, I “believed”, but I believed the wrong thing. I “believed” that avoiding the consequences of the “....or else”, was up to ME.
And, I “believed” the “....or else” outcome or consequence was eternal damnation. NO! NO! And a thousand times NO!
You can learn a lot in a prison. In over 25 years of prison ministries, one of the many things I have learned is how to quickly help someone to know the difference between Islam and Christianity. It’s the difference between “DO” and “DONE”.
According to Mohammed, it is “DO”. According to Jesus Christ, it is “DONE”.
The last words Jesus spoke on the Cross, before His body could no longer sustain His spirit were:
“It is finished”.
And, it is.
During His ministry, he made it clear that whatever I could need to be one of His followers, to live the life I was created to live, HE would provide.
All I have to do is want to believe that He CAN and that He WILL, “....or else”.
OH, REALLY, Hmm….
P.S. And, please know….if you will only TRUST HIM, HE WILL.