“Accept Jesus into your heart so you can go to heaven when you die.”
First of all , if Jesus doesn’t invite you into his heart , no amount of asking him will do. You will remain lost and bound to face the dangerous holiness of God in the upcoming eschatological judgment.
“No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” John 6:44
Second. In America today asking Jesus into one’s own heart has acquired almost the status of mantra or the Protestant equivalent of placing faith in crucifixes and holy water.
Third. Ask Jesus into your heart is an expression foreign to the New Testament. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever preached that way. It is a misguided strategy since it ignores the heavy demands of Jesus to totally surrender to him, even to die. Another thing. Jesus not only wants to be in our hearts , but in our minds too. And reality is that many Christains are scarecrow believers, all emotions and no mind. Christ is absent from their brain matter. These Christains could never begin to tell others about Jesus because they do not even understand nor care to know the ABC’s of the faith.
Fourthly . And then there’s the matter of inviting Jesus into church (Revelation 3:20). Why is Jesus not invited to church? Ask and look around and you will eventually discover that Jesus isn’t a member of some churches. He was either sacked or never invited over. Christ-less churches is perhaps in keeping with the phenomenon of all the things we want lacking in our lives. Sugar-free, caffeine -free, gluten-free, preservative-free, hassle-free, religion-free, God-free. Godless. By all indications, godless is what some Chriatsians are because they invited Jesus into their hearts one time but Jesus never made it through inside. He was locked out by a rebel heart and disposition. And so it goes that these Christains have a reputation of being thieves, liars, cheaters, homophobes, and racists and are still loved and accepted by congregations. In reality these folk are simply homophobes, racists, cheaters, liars , and thieves who think they are Christains.
Fiftly and last. Going to heaven when you die is hardly the be-all, end-all of the Christ Way. This reductionism merely presents the faith in the lowest common denominator, namely to gain security, a form of buying fire insurance to forestall falling into that awful hot place . What about the other things essential for a hard, painful , and sweaty path towards discipleship ? Those directives of Jesus that ask us to follow him sacrifically are usually left out in evangelistic efforts, or rendered almost invisible by the tiny print at the bottom of a leaflet. Jesus is about everything, not just heaven and bliss. If we profess Christ we have to question our motives to discover the real reasons we are drawn to Christ. Possibilities might be that the Christ we profess is not the Christ we posses:
“Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith” 2 Corinthians 13:5
“I never knew you. Depart from me” Matthew 7:21-23
Quit telling Jesus to come into your heart. Pray to him instead that he allows you into his heart because in the end that’s the action of God which saves.