Saturday, January 02, 2010

Death

Death is a theme that has cropped up multiple times for me this week. First in the death of a fellow Crusader, Rajan, then in many other conversations and films I've watched.

I think it's cropped up a couple of times in my dreams this last month as well.

So far be it from me to circumvent the topic. I shall take it head on.

First, a passage of scripture:

"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable... When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain."

First I establish that with the salvation of a Christian, death has lost its sting. We have a place prepared for us after we die. I'm not going to talk so much about the gospel message and evangelism, even though yes, that is once again becoming a matter of increasing importance upon my heart.

The thing I've been thinking about is my own life and death. Ephesians 5:15 says to be very careful how I live, not as unwise, but as wise. Verse 16 in KJV says to redeem the time.

A popular question goes, "if you had two weeks left to live, what would you do?" The very Christian answer of course would be something like. I would go out into the streets and evangelise... and so on. BSF asked me the same question. My response (okay, I clarify that intellectually I know, but practically, I have yet to live this statement out in its fullness) was this. Why do we need to wait until we have two weeks left to live to decide on doing great things? Every single moment of our lives must be lived in a way that is so valuable. That at any given time, we live it with impact, as if our lives were about to end.

(Anyway, if any of us REALLY had two weeks left to live. And that's the medical diagnosis, chances are, we'd be hooked up to all kinds of tubes and lie on a hospital bed, on medication and in discomfort. So much for the "what would you do?" question. As if we'd really have a choice most of the time)

And so one thing I desire this year. I desire to be found in God and His will. To go by His strength and wisdom. To, by the strength of God and not my own, make my life count.

Which in a more practical sense translates into: Spending time only on things that will count when I stand before God.

And given the distractions that modern life affords. The television, the internet, city life. Well, how do I go and spend time only on things that matter in the Kingdom of God? I would be considered crazy. I would be considered weird. (Come to think of it, I already am. So I have got nothing to lose. You can't lose something you don't have).

All that I need to know is whether God approves. Let me be willing to give all that I am for my Saviour. I often fail in this. But I must keep moving in this one direction.

Okay, last bloggable thought for the day:

Christianity means many things for many people. To the apostles it was a cause for which they would give their lives. It was a discomfort to their physical bodies, for they endured scorn, shame, persecution and death. Yet the joy it afforded them they considered great enough to endure all the hardship.

To people in persecuted nations, it must mean quite the same thing.

What does it mean to me? What am I willing to lay down? In a nation and place with so many believers, do we encourage each other to lay down much for His sake? What does the name of Jesus mean to us? The air-conditioned worship halls and great music, coupled with wonderful camps and fantastic "fellowship"? The children's, youth and tertiary camps and retreats?

If God requires it to be so, am I willing to be considered crazy even by fellow believers? And on the other hand, is it necessary? Would that really be Spirit-led?

Questions questions. I have many questions.

On a lighter note. A more buoyant note (cuz they will float in the baptism pool you see). Many of my Primary 6s will be baptised tomorrow. Yay! As they take this decision to follow our Lord, I pray for them so hard. That they will be blessed in all they do. That they will be given wisdom and shown grace as they enter into their teenage years. I am gonna miss my ten Sec 1s so so much. Benjamin, Nathaniel, Kosand, Gaius, Ting Wei, Si En, Carissa, Lydia, Cheryl, Jing En.

My mind seems to be thinking bout many other things. But I shall stop here for now.

To act justly.
And to love mercy.
And to walk humbly with my God.

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