Some years ago I had a friend who planned to marry. A lot of preparations were put into it and a good sum of money was spent. When the time came he informed me he was travelling to get married; I wished him well (I couldn’t go with him). For several weeks he did not come back; I was very worried but I could not contact him. One evening, I finally got to him, but he was very unhappy; he told me his story, the bride did not show up for the wedding; she backed-off at the last moment. (The family stopped her from going through with it.) They were almost there!
There was another man who nearly got there. He almost made it to heaven. The following scripture tells his story.
“Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”
And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:24-29 (NKJV)
During his trial, when the Jewish leaders accused Paul of insurrection, he was brought before Festus the governor and Agrippa the king and the above quote was an excerpt of that encounter.
Agrippa said to Paul “You almost persuaded me to become a Christian.” He never became one. It was like he got to the gate of heaven, to the throne of mercy and then turned back. He was almost there! It is unfortunate. What would Agrippa say when he finally gets to the judgement seat of Christ? What stopped him from going through with it?
If he wasn’t fit to make a sound judgement about eternal life, how was he able to govern people; making very serious decision like the one involving Paul, issues that could cost someone his life? Job 32:9 says, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” (KJV)
He could also have considered what his friends would make of such a decision. Mark 8:38 says, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (KJV)
He was ultimately responsible for his actions. It doesn’t matter what other people think or say, we are responsible for our decisions. It is important to understand this so we can stand up for what is right.
Was it that his position made aligning with the Christian life difficult for him? If that is the case where is he now? We must not cling to things that don’t last to the detriment of things that have lasting and daring consequences. King Saul of Israel lost his dynasty because he preferred being a “man of the people” to obeying God. He lost the kingdom and lost the people.
You might have had or heard of experiences of “being almost there”. They can lead to unimaginable frustration, stress and even depression. Sometimes they could be things outside our control that caused them and in that case we couldn’t do anything about it. At other times we were solely responsible for what happened. People usually have difficulties recovering from incidents.
To avoid being caught up in very ugly situations like that, we must be very prayerful and watchful.
We must develop our characters, so that we can live for the highest ideals.
We must appreciate what friends and relations are, and what they are not and cannot be.
We must give time to study, so that we can have valuable information to help us at critical times of decision making.
It is important to know that when it comes to choosing between God and any other thing, God must have the pre-eminence. You might be at a crossroad about making a decision of eternal value, I urge you to choose God. Today is a good day to choose Christ. Do it.