It's true. Life is short. The following conclusion, however, should not be "Have an affair" as claimed on Ashley Madison, a now notorious website for those seeking an adulterous relationship. (See "Why Ashley Madison Subscribers Are Chasing a Lie" by Jim Daily of Focus on the Family for more information.)
Life is short. That is why we need to intentionally live with the end, eternity, in view.
In high school, I was given the English assignment of deciding what I wanted written on my tombstone one day. Some kids fluffed it off, but I actually took it seriously. Bear with me for a moment. This topic is a little depressing at the start, but there is hope at the end.
Most people don't really want to die. The younger you are, the more you think you're invincible. Unfortunately, that is not really the case. I've known high schoolers killed in car accidents and by suicide. I've know children killed in accidents. I had to quit watching the nightly news because it seems like every night there is a report of at least one child or youth killed, kidnapped, molested, or harmed in one way or another. The threat of critical accidents and the like does not have an age limit. Most are very hard to predict or avoid as well.
The truth is that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Only the Lord knows the day each life will be over. Once it is, it is too late to change.
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them."
James 4:13-17 (NIV)
How will you be remembered?
We each have a choice. The decisions we make today, the little ones as well as the big ones, will determine how people remember us. Do you have to be perfect? No, that is impossible (Romans 3:23). Those who appear to be perfect show a thin veneer over a broken spirit (Matthew 23:27-28).
How then, will you be remembered? What will be the thing that stands out to family, friends, and coworkers when you leave this life?
Hebrews 11 is sometimes called the "role call of faith." It lists many people from biblical history who lived by faith. None were perfect, but they were remembered for their faithfulness in following God. Let's look at some of these.
- Abraham and his wife decided they needed to help God out. Sarah gave her servant to be Abraham's mistress. The girl had a child and centuries of strife has been the result. Still, they are both remembered for their faithfulness (Hebrews 11:8-19).
- Moses was not an eloquent speaker and he had murdered a man (Exodus 4:10; Exodus 2:11-15). Still, he is remembered as the one who led God's people out of Egypt and taught them God's commands (Hebrews 11:22-28).
- Rahab will always have the moniker "Rahab the harlot." Still, she had faith in God Almighty, sheltered the Israelite spies, and became the ancestor of Jesus Christ Himself (Joshua 2, 6; Hebrews 11:30-31; Matthew 1:1-5).
- Gideon was a scaredy-cat (Judges 6-8; Hebrews 11:32).
- Samson was a cavalier ladies man (Judges 13:1-16:31; Hebrews 11:32).
- David had an affair and tried to cover it up through murder (2 Samuel 11). Still, he is remembered as "a man after God's own heart" (Hebrews 11:32).
- And that's just a few names on this list!
How is this possible?The Lord God Almighty is not looking for perfect people. He is looking for those who see their actions as He sees them and turns to Him for rescue. It is out of our thankfulness and love for Him that we then live the rest of our lives for Him. Look at what David said after he finally saw his affair and surrounding actions as God saw them.
For the director of music. A psalm of David when the prophet Nathan came to him. Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 God, have mercy on me according to your faithful love. Because your love is so tender and kind, wipe out my lawless acts. 2 Wash away all the evil things I’ve done. Make me pure from my sin.
3 I know the lawless acts I’ve committed. I can’t forget my sin. 4 You are the one I’ve really sinned against. I’ve done what is evil in your sight. So you are right when you sentence me. You are fair when you judge me. 5 I know I’ve been a sinner ever since I was born. I’ve been a sinner ever since my mother became pregnant with me. 6 I know that you wanted faithfulness even when I was in my mother’s body. You taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Sprinkle me with hyssop, then I will be clean. Wash me, then I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear you say, “Your sins are forgiven.” That will bring me joy and gladness. Let the body you have broken be glad. 9 Take away all my sins. Wipe away all the evil things I’ve done.
10 God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you. 11 Don’t send me away from you. Don’t take your Holy Spirit away from me. 12 Give me back the joy that comes from being saved by you. Give me a spirit that obeys you so that I will keep going.
13 Then I will teach your ways to those who commit lawless acts. And sinners will turn back to you. 14 You are the God who saves me. I have committed murder. God, take away my guilt. Then my tongue will sing about how right you are no matter what you do. 15 Lord, open my lips so that I can speak. Then my mouth will praise you. 16 You don’t take delight in sacrifice. If you did, I would bring it. You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The greatest sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. God, you will gladly accept a heart that is broken because of sadness over sin.
18 May you be pleased to give Zion success. May it please you to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of those who do what is right. Whole burnt offerings will bring delight to you. And bulls will be offered on your altar."
Only One Way
God is the only one who can forgive our sin. We can't balance the scale with enough good to wipe it out (Ephesians 2:8-10).
God is a faithful, righteous, and just judge. As with other fair judges, the consequences for actions must be paid (Revelation 20:11-15). That penalty is death, separation from God (Romans 6:23). God loves us and knows that the only way we can pay that penalty and live with Him forever is if He did something about it. We can't on our own.
This is what Jesus, the perfect Son of God, took all of our sin upon Himself on the cross. When He died and rose again, He paid our penalty.
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.All we need do now is to confess our sins (as David did in Psalm 51) and trust Jesus, believing Jesus is who He says He is and did what the Bible says He did. Our sin debt is then transferred onto Jesus shoulders and we are free to live with Him today on into eternity.
'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.'
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 'He himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed.' For 'you were like sheep going astray,' but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
1 Peter 2:21-25 (NIV)
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
John 14:6 (ESV)
If your life ends today, will you be ready? How will you be remembered?