Life and death
I received the news last night that my cousin had passed away. It was sudden and totally unexpected, as he was a young man, only 47 years old. I realized once again how fragile life really is, we are here one moment and gone the next. We find ourselves running after things that may seem to be so important but in the end are not as important as relationships, love, kindness, caring and compassion.
On closer inspection of the things that I run after, I realize that some of them just have to get off of my “important list” like saving up money for that all important vacation in a hot tropical place. Or getting some newer clothing, when what I have is still in good condition.
So what is important in life and what should we run after for the short time that we have been given on this planet?
I believe that the first place to start of course is with God.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life
If I live my life in a way that reflects my belief that Jesus is the Son of God, then my life here on this earth will reflect that and I will live in a way that shows the world that eternity is not imaginary or star trek fiction, but it is real, and we will one day have to face the fact that on earth, I either believed God or I did not.
As a Christian I can count on God’s love and my eternal security.
Then Jesus taught us that we need to love others like we love ourselves. This is often one of the hardest things to do on this earth, to love another person, in a pure way, not a conditional or perverted way, but truly love them, forgiving them when they have hurt or sinned against us, loving them through the good and the bad, and enjoying relationships regardless of how hard they might be.
The bible teaches us what godly love really does look like.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
So what other things are important in this life that is good to run after?
I believe that we can find our answer in the bible once again,
We need to learn to walk in reverence and fear of the Lord
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
As you can see when we have a reverence and fear of the lord he will add length to our lives, he will turn us from the snares of death and sin, he will be our fountain of life, he will teach us wisdom so that we can navigate through life in a proper manner, it will teach us to walk in humility instead of pride. He promises to that we will rest content and be untouched by trouble.
These are but a few examples of the benefits of walking in a way that is pleasing to God for the short time that we are on this earth.
The added benefit of walking with the lord is that we will learn to place our reverence in the right place, often we are more afraid of man, what he will say or do to us that we value there opinion over God’s, I believe that when we give God first place in our lives that we will be able to get all of our priorities in our lives in the proper order as well. Proverbs 29:25
Another priority that God places on our lives while we are here is for us to be his hands and feet to a lost and dying world around us. He wants us to reflect him, so that when people see us, they see him, and his love for them. We do that by believing him, by obey him and by choosing to walk with him over running after worthless things in our lives. As we reflect him we would be wise to tell others about him and what he has done for us in our lives. How he saved and set us free from the sin that dragged us down into the pit, how he healed the hurts in our hearts, how he gave us a clear mind and conscience and how he can do the same for them.
It would be a shame to get to heaven and not have brought anyone with you.
Another thing on the godly priority list I believe would be for me to allow God to break my heart for what breaks his, he hates social injustice, therefore it goes without saying that I as his child should hate it to and fight it always. God hates it when people abuse others, marginalize them and treat them as objects and not as people, whom he loves and died for.
Another priority is to use my mouth, as a healing balm instead of a sword of destruction. So often the things that we say, often carelessly or thoughtlessly can bring about great destruction, both in our lives and in the lives of other people. I have tried to train myself up by asking the question, is what I am about to say going to bring life in to the situation or that person’s life or will it bring death. If life I can proceed, if death, I need to rethink what I am about to do.
Another priority for me should be building up my brothers and sisters in Christ so that their walk with the lord is strong and firm and secure. How would I go about doing that? Well we can pray for one another, we can encourage one another to seek the lord and his wisdom in the situations that we find ourselves in. We can be there as a shoulder to cry on or someone to rejoice with. We can meet together on a regular basis and enjoy fellowship, prayer and encouragement. We can work alongside each other in unity and harmony doing what God has told us to do, and that is to go out into all the world and make disciples of the nations.
As I reflect today on the life and death of my cousin, I realize that there are things in my life that are out of alignment with God’s perfect plan for my life.
I hope that through my reflections about where our priorities in life should be that you will take a few moments and think about where your priorities are.
Is it your priority to own the latest and greatest gadget, or more money? If it is, I pray that you would take a few moments and ask the lord to help you get your priorities straight with him.
If your priorities are to run after your children all of the time and get them into the best clubs, sports teams and so forth at the peril of all the other relationships in your life, maybe it is time to stop and reevaluate your choices.
I could go on all day about our bad choices, but let’s start making a difference today in the choice we make and how we spend our time and where we will spend eternity.
If you find that you fall into any of the above categories, don’t feel condemned, but instead say this little prayer with me.
I come before you today, realizing that I am living for all of the wrong things in this life that you have gifted me with. I pray lord that you would forgive me today, and I ask that from this moment forward that you will help me to live according to your priorities for my life. I thank you heavenly father.
Therefore, in memory of my cousin Stephen, I dedicate this article to him, I thank him for his contribution to this earth, to the fierce love that he had for his children and that in a lot of ways he taught me about priorities, by going out of his way to show that he cared for you, when he did not have to. Thanks Stephen,
all my love.