By S. Leonard Tyler
Life’s greatest challenge today is just as it was in the days which mark the epochs of the history of God’s people. The changing of situations, circumstances and social evaluations do not and cannot set aside or his challenge. It shall stand throughout the ages. Your decision to reject or accept it will mean more to you in this fife than any other determination you shall ever make and in the life to come, it determines your salvation, eternal life or eternal separation from God. This is not a question like, “Is Santa Claus real?” “Should one have a Christmas tree or give gifts?” “Should one eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day?” “Or should one hide and hunt eggs on Easter?” It is not like, what kind of a car should we own, or house we should live in, or manner of clothes we should purchase (so long as they are decent)? It is not determined by the things which we possess or places of recognitions we hold in society! It is not who knows us or who we know? This is a matter of life and death both in the physical and spiritual worlds. The greatest concern upon earth should be your life. It is not something which one might destroy and forget. It is eternal.
What is life all about anyway? Is it just getting up, looking around in every direction and jumping at the first glimpse of something entertaining, exciting or thrilling and seeking greater and more exotic and exploiting involvements? Surely, there is more to life than just “eat, drink and be merry.” Life is real and is of the greatest importance. So great is life, as Jesus evaluated it, that if a man should gain the whole world and lose his own soul, what should it profit him? Saying, “I just do not understand,” does not solve the problem. Explaining, “I just do not know who I am, where I am going or what I am here for does not dissolve the complications or minimize its importance. In fact, such complicates, rather than simplifying or solving, the mystery. Your life is what you think and how you live.
What is the challenge? The challenge is to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Tit. 2:11-12). This challenge was given by our blessed Lord to his beloved apostles with the commission to go into an the whole wide world proclaiming this challenge. Jesus not only gave the challenge but he gave the most comforting and desirable promise that one could ever ask for, “and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 15:58; 1 Pet. 1:3-9). Would you like to accept the challenge and receive the blessings?
He said, “If any one desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24, NKJB). The choice is yours and you must respond. If you refuse to accept Jesus’ invitation “to come unto me,” you reject him and every spiritual, blessing afforded in Christ. We frankly admit, this challenge requires, and always has, and always will, every fiber and molecule of strength, faith, conviction, determination, deepest love, purpose of heart and fondest hope which lies within our being. We are free moral agents and one should never forget it. However, the challenge is to our own intellect to consider the information regarding this proposition and wisely render and exercise rational judgment. Making the proper decision and choice after considering all the ideas and results of each choice: to reject or accept Jesus’ invitation, “come and follow me. ” Your decision, choice, must be made in this present world. You make choices each day that you live. Your life tells the story. You are responsible!
What Is Your Choice?
The choice is really yours. No one can make it for you. Your fife’s story is telling the world what choice you have made. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” One cannot justify his life by saying, “when times get better or after I settle down a little, when I have finished thus and so, I will obey my Lord.” Neither can one say, “This old world is so wicked, materialistic, feministic, atheistic, and troublesome (or however you choose to describe it) that I just cannot seem to make up my mind. It is different today from times past.” Whatever the response may be – you are the one that is doing it all. You are in control. You are making the choices. You are living your own life. You are responsible for it all. You must, inspite of peer pressure, material reality, lustful immoral desires and appealing temptation of our self-gratifying society, make up your own mind, “I am going to accept Jesus’ invitation and follow him today, in this present world,” or you will never be a Christian. “Today is the day of salvation.”
Your faith, conviction, and love for the Lord must determine the course of life you live. Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-15). Paul attributes his life in Christ to his faith in Christ. He said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
This is the determination which prepares the heart to meet the challenge of the day and live for the Lord. Being a child of God is not over simplified when one expresses it thusly, “Being a Christian is predetermining with a firm conviction to seek a true understanding of God’s word, believe it contents, faithfully live by its direction and confidently trust in God’s eternal promises, that all is well with my soul.” For, “If God be for you, who can be against you.”
We should be moved to recognize the brevity of life upon this earth and eternal, never-ending life in the world to come. Surely, as those of ages past said, “we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. . . But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11: 13-14,16). Jesus told his apostles, “Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3). “Receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 18, pp. 556-557
September 17, 1987