Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.”
How many times have you heard that? I’ve heard it all my life to refer to many occasions where I have said, “Well, I was close.” I’ve also heard that saying evolve a bit to include atomic bombs.
This Memorial Day weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to go to my parents’ house in Northeast Louisiana. We had a grand time playing and swimming and laughing and reminiscing. We celebrated my son’s birthday and his graduation from kindergarten. We also played horseshoes.
Horseshoes is a great game of some skill and a whole lot of luck. I don’t generally believe in luck, but when a person with no skill accidentally gets a ringer or leaner what else should I call it?
We all played: my mom and dad, my wife and son and daughter, and even my 83 year old grandfather.
In fact, I played my grandfather, and it is with much shame and a bit of a smirk that I must admit that even with a knee that shot pain through his body with every throw and joints with no cushioning, he beat me royally. I think the score was fifteen to seven. I could get the horseshoe close, but not close enough.
We live in a culture that celebrates “close enough”. Look at our political system. The candidates we have running for the various offices do not match up with our moral or political views, so we have to find the one we think represents our ideals “closely enough”. Then we wonder why our country is going downhill so quickly.
I see girls all the time who want deep down to find the man of their dreams, but after years of finding no such man, they settle for “close enough”. That usually leads them to misery in the end.
I see Christians all the time who match their lives up to the scriptures, and they say “eh, close enough”.
Even in horseshoes there is a definition for “close”. There is a measurable boundary where you can determine if you are “close enough”. In our lives, however, we want to place those boundaries wherever we please. This doesn’t work when it comes to the righteousness that God requires. We can’t read how we are supposed to be living according to the scriptures and then dismiss our shortcomings as being close enough.
Let me get something straight: you cannot get to heaven or get saved by anything that you’ve done. It is by the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus that you are saved. However, we have changed our attitude towards that gift over the years to become apathetic concerning our response to that gift.
You don’t receive a million dollars then spit in the face of the one who gave it to you. When we disregard the desires of God for righteousness in our lives we are trampling the cross underfoot.
As I study various religions I am overjoyed to see so many going in the right direction – for a bit. Then I mourn as I see them time after time stray away. They were so close, but they had to ignore something or add something that wasn’t necessary. Eh, at least they’re close. No. I don’t want to stand before God and try to explain to Him how I was “close enough”. I don’t think that argument will set well with Him – the Almighty, wholly pure, righteous, justified Lord of the universe.
No, we must get back to seeing how the scriptures show us how to live. Love must reign in our lives coupled with peace as we seek unity. No longer should we rely on “close enough”. So many people say “I believe in God”, yet their actions prove otherwise. Besides, the bible says that “even the demons believe…”
I want to live my life for Christ in every area. I want to continue to grow in that life that honors Him as I grow to know Him. I never want to be stagnant, and I don’t want to rely on the hope that I was “close enough”. I want assurance that my salvation is secure, and I have that assurance according to the Bible.
I’m not saying that to try to sound arrogant. You can have that assurance as well, but you have to be willing to set aside the “close enough” mindset. You have to be willing to really, truly devote yourself to Christ. I do understand that it is not easy, nor is it convenient, but it is right, and it is what you are called to do and to be.
Join with me in that life of assurance in Christ. If you haven’t truly dedicated your life to Christ as commended to you by Jesus himself, then seek that connection today. If you’ve been living a life of “close enough” you can make the decision to change, and Christ stands waiting to help you in that journey.
I would love to talk with you more about this. If I can help you in any way, please call me at 245-1611 or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation at http://www.mrdobbs.org. Have a great day, play some horseshoes, and be dedicated to God. Bless God; He has already blessed you.