Q: My nephew says he plans to have fun in life and not bother with God right now, because he knows God will forgive him if he asks him to, even if it's at the last minute. I told him he's being foolish, but am I right?
— Mrs. F.P.L.
A: Yes, you are right, and I sincerely hope your nephew will stop and think again about the path he's taking. The Bible warns, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 16:25).
Does this mean God won't forgive us if we've lived a life of sin, but then sincerely repent and turn to Christ just before we die? No, of course not. As Jesus was dying on the cross, a criminal who was being executed with him asked Jesus to save him, and Jesus forgave the man and promised him eternal life (see Luke 23:39-43).
But how do we know we'll even have an opportunity to repent? Our life may be taken in an instant, and then it will be too late. In addition, the longer we live a life of sin, the more calloused and insensitive our hearts become and the harder it can be for us to admit we need God. Yes, one of the criminals dying with Jesus repented, but a second one never did.
Pray for your nephew that God will give him a desire to resist the crowd and put his life instead into Christ's hands. Pray, too, that God will make you an example to him of Christ's love and joy, and also give you opportunities to share your concern with him. Jesus warned, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it" (Matthew 7:13).
Q: I'm facing an important decision, and I'd do whatever God wants me to do — if I only knew how to find out. How do you discover what God wants you to do?
— Mrs. D. McC.
A: The first step is to realize that God cares about you and wants you to make right decisions, and because of this, he wants to show you his will. If he didn't care about you, you wouldn't have any reason to seek his will, but he does care, and he wants to guide you.
How does God guide us? First, he guides us through his word, the Bible. In it, he gives us principles for living, and many of our questions about life would be answered if we only knew these and followed them. Make the Bible part of your life every day.
A good place to start would be the book of Proverbs, which gives us practical wisdom for daily living. The psalmist rightly said, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path" (Psalm 119:105).
Then God also guides us through wise and godly counselors. Have you shared your problem with someone who can help you see it more clearly — perhaps your pastor or another person in your church? The Bible says, "Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise" (Proverbs 19:20).
Finally, God guides us by his spirit, as we pray and ask him to guide us. Often we'll find that the spirit works through our circumstances, opening or closing doors to show us the way. He also works in our hearts and minds, showing us the right path.
The Bible says, "Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'" (Isaiah 30:21).
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM; or visit http://www.billygraham.org.