What if this were it? What if time was up and your life was over? Would you be happy with the way things turned out? More importantly, would God be happy? What did you live for?
You know, one day, time really will be up. In Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, it was so aptly put this way: “You may be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later, you’ll dance with the Reaper.” The book of James tells us that our life is like a vapor – here for a moment, then vanishes away. It’s up to us how we spend that time.
I spend a good 50 hours at work every week. I have two young daughters that require a lot of attention, I like to play video games and watch TV, I try to exercise semi-regularly, I’ve got a lot of friends I enjoy spending time with as well as a large family spread over three states, and I attend church services at least 3 times a week. Most of you probably fall into the same category – almost every second of our lives is filled with something. Yesterday, I heard that some buses are starting to carry wireless high-speed in an effort to draw more commuters. Tons of people have blackberries or video iPods so we can be entertained every second. Hey, I’m no different, if I’m waiting in line or sitting in traffic, I’ve always got a book with me.
Amid all this hustle and bustle, it’s easy for us to lose track of the things that are really important. One of my favorite passages is Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
We don’t need to forget that the whole reason we’re here is to serve God. What defines you or me as individuals? Do people think of you as a good musician, a funny guy, someone who’s good with numbers? Or do people first think about your character, your integrity, your walk as a Christian? Matthew 5:14 tells us that we should be the “light of the world.” We should be shining examples to those around us!
Remember what Paul said:
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
He was no longer really concerned about himself; he was living for Christ, and Christ was living in him! Every aspect of Paul’s life centered around being a Christian. That was what defined him as a person – so every other endeavor that he involved himself in fit around that aspect. He gave us the same admonition:
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:1-2
We should be “living sacrifices,” and as the passage points out, that’s our “reasonable service.” Jesus gave his life for us, though we were completely undeserving, and he basically asks us to do the same for him. Put to death our old lives, and live for him instead. Quit trying to be like everyone else around us (conform), but become what Christ wants us to be (transform)! You know, that’s exactly what baptism does for us.
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:3-4
This thought is continued on through verse 14 of that chapter, but it’s evident from what we see here that the waters of baptism symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We put to death our old life of sin by turning away from it in repentance. Then, we’re buried in the waters of baptism, just as Christ was placed in the tomb. And just as he rose from the dead, we rise from baptism a new creature, cleansed from all impurity. Only then can we “walk in newness of life” by serving God and following Christ.
Another excellent passage is Romans 8:38-39:
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What a comforting passage! Nothing can separate us from God’s love – nothing has that power! And nothing can separate us from the salvation that he offers. Except of course, for ourselves. Nothing, not even Satan, can pull us away from God – unless we allow it. If we get too tangled up in the affairs of this life, we’ll drown. God’s thrown us the life-preserver, but we have to grab it! And once we’ve taken hold of it, we can’t let go!
Read your Bible. Teach those around you. Be the example that God wants you to be. He’s promised to protect us and guide us through, but we can’t lose sight of the goal. Push forward!
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Phil 3:12-14
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. – 1 Cor 9:26-27