No one can make you go to heaven. You won’t be dragged into heaven against your will kicking and screaming. No matter how hard people try to get you to go, God won’t let it happen if you don’t want it to.
Many of you would rather sleep an extra hour or two on Sunday morning than worship God. You’re an adult. No one can make you acknowledge God’s existence against your will. So if you’d rather not get involved in spiritual matters—if you’d rather not worship your Creator—God won’t make you. If you’d rather ignore the sacrifice that Jesus made for you when He died for your sins, you can. No one is stopping you.
If you’re one of those who likes to drink alcohol or have sexual relations outside of marriage, God isn’t going to make you stop. He’ll let you behave the way you want to while you’re alive. Maybe you had to live by your parents’ strict rules when you were younger, but not now. No, no one can make you stop living a sinful life.
That’s the thing about serving God—it’s completely up to us. It’s a choice we’re allowed to make. We don’t have to do it. God doesn’t force anyone to serve Him. In fact, God doesn’t force anyone to do anything. He gave humans free will. He allows us to choose what to do with our lives. So if you like cussing, God will let you do it. If you like telling dirty jokes and ripping out vulgar words, God won’t stop you from doing it, even though He hates filthy speech.
Your mother may have tried to teach you the Bible when you were young, but you don’t have to listen to her anymore. Maybe a preacher has talked to you about your soul, but now that you’re grown, you can ignore him. Besides, you probably think it’s none of his business what you do with your life. Maybe your spouse has begged you to attend Bible study and worship, or to give up sinful activities. But, hey, you’re your own person now. No one can tell you what to do.
Now I know what you might be thinking. You think, “Well maybe I do some of those things, but I’ll still make it to heaven.” First of all, if you don’t want to worship God, if you don’t care much for Bible study, and if you like dabbling in sin, why would you want to go to heaven? Heaven is a spiritual place with spiritual activities. Those who go to heaven will spend their time praising God, and that sounds a lot like worship. And there certainly won’t be any drinking, womanizing, and carousing in heaven. No filthy language will be allowed. That doesn’t sound like your kind of place.
And, second, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. God lets you choose to live the way you want in this life, and He lets you choose to spend eternity in hell. How you live while you’re alive determines your soul’s destiny. God demands total devotion to Him in this life if we want to spend the next life with Him. In Luke 9:23, Jesus says that anyone who follows Him must deny himself every day. That means we have to suppress fleshly desires that keep us from doing what He says. It means we have to follow Him completely—not when it’s convenient or when we feel like it. It means we can’t pick and choose which parts of His word to obey. It means total devotion.
In Luke 9:24, Jesus sums it up. He says that if we follow our own desires, we’ll lose our soul. But if we live completely for Him in this life, we’ll gain eternal life. And the choice is up to you. It’s up to each of us. Jesus paid the price. The way of salvation has been revealed. Now we have to decide whether we’ll live for Him in this life, or whether we’ll live for ourselves. No one can make you serve God, and no one can make you go to heaven. But on Judgment Day, will those who tried to get you to live right enter into eternal rest and joy while you descend into everlasting torment and sorrow? Don’t let that happen. Choose to serve God now.