By Pat Fraher
I was given a book by a friend called ‘Be a Man: Becoming the man God created you to be’ by Father Larry Richards. I didn’t think I needed it so I put it in my backpack and forgot about it for six months. When I finally got around to reading it –out of sheer boredom- it began to smack me in the face.
Father Larry challenges the reader to think about what they believe and why. Right from the first chapter, he gets the reader to contemplate their mortality.
The first question he wants you to ponder is, “what do you want people to say about you after you’re gone?” Then he goes into deeper ones like, ‘what do you believe? ‘Does God exist?’ ‘Was Jesus God?’ ‘Is there an afterlife? Heaven and Hell?’
In my head, I quickly answered ‘yes, yes and yes’ to those questions. (Be careful how you answer those questions because you’ll have to weigh your life up against your answers later.)
Father Larry asks if you are living for eternity or are just living for today. SMACK #1- I examined my daily life and realized that we can easily lose track of our soul’s eternal perspective and replace it with our ego’s earthly perspective. He finishes the chapter with “is there a purpose to life or is it just a waste of time?”
In the next chapter, Father Larry says that there is a purpose to life, and that it is to seek and to know God. He says, “the most important thing you will ever do is seek God.”
Father Larry asks, “Do you know God? Not ‘know about God’… KNOW God personally.”
He reminds the reader that in any intimate relationship, there is a lot of time and effort spent on it. He asks how much time men spend on getting to know God. 45 minutes a week isn’t going to cut it for any intimate relationship. He asks the reader how much time they spend on making money, working out, or watching sports.
Father Larry’s point is that none of these things will keep you alive forever, and only God can provide eternal life.
SMACK #2- If I say that I believe in eternal life, and it’s secured in my relationship with God, why do I prioritize all of these other things over that in my life? What could be more important than that? Spending time with God comes down to prayer and scripture. Once you get into his Word, you will find his will. Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
SMACK #3- Father Larry put it best; “you can say you love God, and you can say Jesus is Lord. But if you don’t obey him, you’re a liar.” I was picking and choosing what to obey… my own designer religion. I wanted partial credit, but God doesn’t grade on a curve. What he does, is forgive people if they repent.
Life ultimately comes down to choice: to live according to HIS will or according to your own, and making the right decision for the right reason hinges on having a personal relationship with HIM. It is easier to trust HIM when you know HIM and love HIM for what he did for us. He becomes the source of your faith, instead of just the story of your faith.
After I surrendered my life to Christ, a sense of peace and fulfillment came over me. As they say, “no Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.”