"What Is Your Life?"
Time is a blessing given by God to mankind. "Time is the highway we ride to eternity. The way we travel the highway of time chooses our eternity." Christians must make the most of the time God gives. "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:16-17)
The question, "What is your life?" was used in James four in a section of scripture where both the brevity and value of life is discussed. "Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15) The question, "What is your life?" is a probing and penetrating question.
What is your life from the standpoint of its past? There was a time when you were safe spiritually. This was during that time of innocence in your life when you possessed the qualities needed by those that enter God's kingdom. (Matthew 18:3) This is that time before one reaches the age of being accountable, at which point the person goes astray. In Isaiah 53:6 it is observed that one is not born astray but, at some point goes astray. At the point one turns from God's way to his own way he becomes a sinner. Sin causes many regrets. Past life, for the sinner, is that time when neither God nor hope was possessed. (Ephesians 2:12) In 1 Peter 2:25 Peter looked at the sadness of past life and also pointed us to the joy of present life. "For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1 Peter 2:25)
What is your life from the standpoint of its present? In the past life sin had separated you from your God. (Isaiah 59:2) In present life the key word is no longer lost but saved. "Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:5) "Urgency" is the watchword for those that are unsaved. "...Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2) The plan is simple. To become a Christian, you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (Mark 16:16), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized into Christ to be saved. (Acts 2:38; I Peter 3:21) God's desire is the salvation of all. "Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) The blood of Jesus was shed for every man. (Hebrews 2:9) True happiness in present life comes by being a Christian. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
What is your life from the standpoint of its future? Those who die lost suffer eternal loss. "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:46) Those that die saved enjoy great gain. "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) Those that die in the Lord will be blessed with entrance into the heavenly city. "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14.) Christians have great hope for the reward that they will receive from the Lord. "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:24)
Jesus Christ is the answer to the needs of the human soul. You cannot change the past but you can be sure Jesus controls your present and future. He will also forgive your past as you surrender to His will. One may choose to live and die without Christ but it is certainly not because Christ is not needed. Jesus Christ is needed for our past, present, and future.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P. O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA