A: If someone adamantly refuses to listen to advice from people who are older and wiser, then there may not be much you can do about it — except to pray.
I’m reminded of the people of Jeremiah’s day, who refused to listen to his repeated attempts to get them to turn back to God. They told him, “It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:12). But Jeremiah kept on preaching — and as you and others in your family have opportunity, you should keep on expressing your concern.
At the same time, let your cousin know that even if you don’t agree with his decision, you still love him, and you want what’s best for him. After all, his marriage may turn out better than anyone expects, and if so, he needs to know he’s still part of your family. And if it doesn’t last, he’ll need your love and encouragement. The prodigal son left home against his father’s will, but the father still loved him, and welcomed him back when his life fell apart (see Luke 15:11-32).
The most important thing you can do, however, is to pray for your cousin, and encourage him to seek God’s will for his life. Right now, he isn’t thinking about God, but God hasn’t abandoned him, and his greatest need is to put Christ first in his life. This is true for you, as well.
Q: I supposedly gave my life to God when I was a teenager, and at the time I was very sincere about it. But eventually I drifted away and I know I haven’t been living the way I should. If I died right now, do you think I’d still go to heaven? — D. McG.
A: Only God knows how sincere your commitment was as a teenager, and whether or not you truly gave your life to Christ. Jesus warned us about the dangers of apparently welcoming the Word of God into our lives, then allowing “the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
But in reality, this isn’t the issue, because the question you need to face is this: What does God want me to do with my life right now? The answer is plain: He wants you to turn from your sins and your old ways of living, and commit your life without reserve to Jesus Christ. He doesn’t just want you to clean up your life (although that’s important); He wants you to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and completely turn your life over to Him.
What keeps you from doing this? Only you can answer that question, but I hope you’ll face it honestly. Is it a particular sin? Is it a wrong relationship you know you’ll have to give up? Or is it simply a desire to run your own life?
Whatever the reason, don’t gamble with your eternal destiny, and don’t let another day go by without Christ. The Bible’s warning is clear: “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.