AUTHOR NOTE – I wrote this before Kobe Bryant passed. It seems that his passing has impacted many people in a similar way to how my friend’s passing impacted me. This post seems particularly timely and hopefully drives some thought, prayer and action.
I received word the other day that a good friend from work had died unexpectedly in his sleep. As I have written before, I work from home, so I don’t see my coworkers very often, but I typically talk to them a few times a week. Kevin had a similar work history and worked on or around my team for years. He raised girls, owned horses, mucked stalls, and loved the Lord – we had a lot in common and enjoyed each other’s company.
I am still feeling shock at his passing. People say that when someone passes it is like they left a hole in your life where they used to exist. I feel that way as well. Really though, with no disrespect meant, Kevin was a work friend. He was not a family member, a spouse, a sibling or a parent. I am sure that significant people in his life feel much differently than I do, but the hole he left in my life is so much smaller than the gaping chasm that would be left by someone closer.
There is a very large potential of this impact occurring in each of our lives, without any notice, should someone close to us die. The other possibility is that our death is what creates this chasm for our loved ones. Regardless of which, the potential should drive us to think and act in some very important ways – and with some urgency.
First things first. Have you given your life to Christ?
I am not asking if you are a nice person or if you go to Church or Mass or if you were dedicated or baptized when you were little. I am asking if, as an adult, you have openly proclaimed that you believe Jesus is the Lord and that you trust him as your personal Savior.
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
– Romans 10:9-10
If you can say that, then you are on the right path. If you have not, what is stopping you? Have you prayed about it? Don’t wait, live with extreme urgency – especially with this issue.
If you have given your life to Christ, would others be able to know this very important fact by seeing the way you live your life?
I am wondering if you are still living substantially like you did before you accepted Jesus. Are you working hard to remove sin from your life? Are you praying for God and the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in your life that you need to work on?
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Galatians 5:13-14
While it is true that God’s Grace is a free gift and that you don’t need to do anything to earn, it is also true that blocking the Holy Spirit from permeating your life and changing the way you live is very dangerous. Many people have crossed that line of faith and never let it change them. Again – this issue is not one to sleep on. Have urgency.
Finally, are you continually looking for ways to mature in your faith?
Living a righteous life as a Christ-follower is a great start, but that is still just the beginning. Sanctification is a big word, but it simply means the process by which one becomes holy – or more like Jesus. Are you doing this in your life – are your roots growing deep down into Him?
6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
– Colossians 2:6-7
People that don’t strive to become more like Jesus every day of their lives have a very big danger of becoming bitter and calloused to life in this world – satisfied that they are saved, but uninterested in helping others get across that line. Will Jesus Christ know you when he sees you? If the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” mean little to you, I would again suggest that you run, don’t walk, to get that Bible off the shelf, dust it off and open it to Matthew. The words “I never knew you” should provide you sufficient urgency.
21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
– Matthew 25:21
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
– Matthew 7:21-23