Facing the death of someone important or of one’s self is daunting. Focusing on those things that are of the greatest importance is a source of necessary courage. Those things which are spiritual, of God’s Spirit, will remain when everything else turns to ashes and dust.
Old age and chronic illness can be a constant reminder of one’s mortality. Even boomers who remain healthy have friends and family who aren’t and we are at the age when old friends start to pass away. It can be a heart-rending, grueling experience but also, a time of heightened friendship with a new awareness of those things in life that are truly, important. Those things which are spiritual, of God’s Spirit, are lasting and eternal, while all things mortal will return to the dust from which they came. There is no time in life when faith in, Jesus is more important than during old age when our friends begin to die and we face our own mortality.
“My God is a consuming fire” and all things that aren’t of Him are consumed by Him, leaving only ashes behind. No matter how highly educated, successful, or wealthy a person may be, in the end, nothing we have built or collected by our own power and greatness matters. The kind of life we have lived and who we have lived it for will tell the true story of who we are when each of us faces God. A person who has no spiritual wealth will not survive that consuming fire. Though all that is required to receive eternal life in, Jesus is belief, a person who has given their heart to, Jesus but lived for themselves, will survive but still suffer great loss. Those who have lived life seeking to obey God are those who have stored spiritual treasure that will survive the consuming fire that everyone faces on that final day. There will be many religious persons who have done great works in God’s name who will also, suffer loss because God doesn’t desire great works done in His Name for the glory of human beings. God desires obedience out of love, which demonstrates His greatness toward others.
In my life, I have done many things that I will be happy to see burn, even religious works. I wasn’t always able to tell the difference between faith and religion and I often told myself that I was doing God’s work when in reality, it was my work being accomplished. The work I place my hope for eternity in is the work that God has done in me and through me by the life that, Jesus is living in me. I pray that the love I have loved others with is of the same high, spiritual quality as the love that I receive from God through, Jesus. I don’t want to be remembered for how often I attended church, how many programs I participated in or didn’t participate in. I hope that, Jesus will see me as one who learned to practice the pure religion of visiting widows and orphans in their suffering and living a holy life, by the Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of God’s spiritual Law.
I haven’t lived a perfect life and if I were to face God apart from, Jesus there would be very little in my life worth keeping. I do have fire protection by believing in, Jesus but I also, have much more. I gave my heart to, Jesus but it took ten years for me to give Him my life and my life didn’t begin to change very much until I surrendered it to Him. That was the day I was baptized and publicly, proclaimed my faith and the saving work that, Jesus was accomplishing in me. It has been a long, bumpy road since that day but no matter what I face in life that is set to destroy me, Jesus walks me through it and I find myself safe on the other side. This experience of life is my spiritual crossing of the Red Sea and because of it, I’m certain of my final crossing from life in a world ruled by death into eternal life. Because I have learned obedience and seek to live for God, more and myself, less, I have hope of spiritual treasure in Heaven. I have hope that my life on earth will serve the purposes of God. If it is His Will accomplished through me, the deeds I’ve done will be refined by the consuming fire this is God and will remain. The works I’ve done by myself, without God, will be destroyed.
Baby boomers in the United States are blessed to have lived during the height of American power and influence. There is little material wealth that we have gone wanting for. However, the blessing of riches can also, be a curse and can removed our focus from spiritual things. It is easy to live a life based on the gratification of personal pleasure. That kind of life does have its rewards and they are all, now. There is no eternal value in them and they, along with our bodies, will become ashes and dust. I’m a serious Christian but I’m also, a boomer and a great deal of my life has been spent on pleasure. I’m grateful that God allowed me the time I needed to see the error of my ways and seek faith in, Jesus. I have friends now who are sick and may not be here with me much longer. Some of them have faith and others don’t. Those who have faith, have hope and remain hopeful, in the face of death. Those who live in a world without God have nothing further to look forward to. I rejoice in those who are certain of their destiny in the hope of a future resurrection in a righteous Kingdom. I hurt for those who face only, uncertainty and I pray that they receive faith. I don’t stand in judgement of them for most have lived better lives than I have but I do pray that Jesus will reveal Himself to them, that they might also, have hope in the face of death.
In my life, I have faced death a few times, both with faith in, Jesus and without. In fact, I was once pronounced, clinically dead and without faith, I found only darkness there. Those times since when I have faced death with, Jesus were very different and because of them, I know that even if I go down to the grave, Jesus is with me. He won’t abandon me. Death outside of faith is the end but death with faith in, Jesus is a new beginning. Jesus is the only one who offers eternal life, simply by believing in Him as the Son of God and personal Savior from sin and death. It is as simple as it sounds and it is a choice that makes all the difference in the world. As long as there is breath, there is time to choose to believe. No matter how sick you may be, or how foolishly you have lived your life, Jesus loves you and wants to welcome you home. Don’t face your death or the death of a loved one without Him. He is strength in weakness and joy in the midst of sorrow. Jesus is Life. Never stop reaching for life!