By Austin Mobley
This is one of the most searching and sobering questions in all the Bible. James is asking, “Of what character is our life?” The question pleads with man to stop and take an inventory. Before making plans for the future, determine what sort of life you are living, make the necessary corrections, then let the will of God guide all future activities.
Paul viewed his life in three perspectives (2 Tim. 4:68). RETROSPECTIVELY: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” INTROSPECTIVELY: “I am now ready to be offered.” PROSPECTIVELY: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness . . .”
God’s Word teaches what our life ought to be as we travel through this pilgrim land and warns that we will give an account at the judgment (2 Cor. 5:10-11). What is Your Life?
What has your past life been? With many, youth is a mistake, middle age a losing struggle, and old age spent in regret. Quite frankly, if most of us could live our lives over we would make some drastic changes. However, our past is compared to “water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again . . .” (2 Sam. 14:14). Since it is impossible to recall the past and live it over, let us be “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before . . .” (Phil. 3:13).
What is your life now? This we can and must do something about. Your life is:
A Schoolroom. “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Two young children observed that their grandmother studied her Bible frequently and one asked the other, “Why does grandmother study her Bible so much?” The other replied, “I guess she is studying for her final exams.” How true this is. We will be judged by the Word (John 12:48), and in essence, the more we study, the better prepared we are to “pass our final examination.”
Parents must teach their children to love God and their fellow man. Do not send them to a place of worship; take them. Children learn best by example. Merely telling them a thing is not fully teaching them. A deep, abiding faith in God which your child has seen in you may well be his strength and light when all else fails.
A seedtime. There are two ways in which man sows in this life; by words (Matt. 12:36-37), and, by deeds (Rev. 20:12). God has established an unfailing law in both the physical and spiritual fields. His law says we will reap exactly what we sow (Gal. 6:7-8). To think that one can sow to the flesh and reap of the Spirit is to attempt to mock God but “God is not mocked,” said Paul. Many sow wild oats during the week and go to church on Sunday to pray for a crop failure!
A dressing room. Actors dress to complement the part they play. This is true of life in general. Paul demonstrates the uniform of the Christian by listing the armor of God (Eph. 6:11-18). He, admonished, “Put on the whole armor of God.” God does not want His children to be half-clothed. If in this life the garments are kept unspotted by sin, we are assured that, in the life to come, we will “walk with him in white.”
Life is a book. Each day a page is written. The deeds of the day are sentences forming the paragraphs. The attitudes of the individual are the punctuation marks. Each year marks a new chapter. When death comes, the final chapter is finished. How will your book read when it is all put together? Will it be a story of faith, courage, hope, consecration, or will it be a cheap “paperback” on the “not recommended” list? Review what you have written to date. How does it read? What do you expect the remaining chapters to contain? It is your book! If we could write another edition of our life, we would spend a lot more time proof-reading!
What shall your life be? A blessing or a curse? Will the world be made better by your pilgrimage or would it have been better had you never lived? The future is uncertain but we are sure of one thing; it will be a gateway into eternity (Heb. 9:27). Man holds no option on life. The divine verdict is, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:19). Death is no respecter of persons. It strikes both rich and poor, proud and humble, young and old, prepared and unprepared. Today man is in the prime of life; tomorrow he is in the city of the dead.
Take a good look at your life today. Be reminded that life is like a vapor and while traveling through it we are determining our destiny in the future life. We do not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future — God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Truth Magazine, XX:1, p. 11-12
January 1, 1976