One day, when our time on this Earth is done, someone will reach back into our histories and dig up the best evidence they can to summarize the life we lived. That’s a sobering thought that most of us might not think about every day. Maybe we’re reminded to think about it when we go to a funeral, or read an inspiring story about someone, but for the most part, we’re often too busy living to think about how we should be living.
An even more sobering thought is that, when our time on Earth is done, someone with infinite knowledge and the ability to see everything – someone who has witnessed every moment of our entire lives – will give His commentary of the sum of our days.
I read this question a few days ago, and it struck me hard in the heart: If the Holy Spirit were to write an entry for your life in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews Chapter 11), what would He say?
Hopefully most – no, hopefully all Christians clearly understand that when we stand before God at the gates of Heaven, there is only one thing that will give us permission to enter. That thing is not God’s yes or no, but our own. Did we believe in His Son? Did we commit our lives to Him, in simple faith? Did we follow Him with all of our hearts?
If yes, we can and should have confidence today that, when that day comes, we will have nothing to fear. The simple and powerful truth is that there is nothing we can “do” to get ourselves into Heaven. We can’t possibly earn it with any amount of hard work, obedience, or good deeds. We either believe in what Christ has done on our behalf and live out that faith, which ends in eternal life with Him. Or we don’t, which ends in eternal life without Him.
What is a less settled issue in the hearts of many Christians, I fear, is what happens in the meantime. How we live out the days between our yes to God and our goodbye to this world may not be an issue that decides where we spend eternity, but it should be an issue we are mindful of as we seek to live lives that are committed to the God Who has saved us…for a reason.
Just because we have settled that we believe in Jesus and can therefore go to Heaven doesn’t mean the rest of our time here is inconsequential, or free to spend however we choose.
Yes, God wants to spend forever with us. But He also has plans that He has invested in for the days we’re appointed to spend here. He has saved us from the sin and consequential death that separated us from Him, but He has saved us for a life that glorifies Him, both here and for eternity.
I have often grieved over lives that seem to be “lost too soon,” before anyone really got to see their potential fulfilled. And I’ve wondered many times if those lives were spent in pursuit of what they were created for, or if too much time was wasted.
Those lives have prompted me to take another good look at my own life, and to pray that God would help me to live out the measure of my days – because they are indeed measured – with intention and in passionate pursuit of Him and His will for me. I don’t want to reach my dying day and be calculating the hours or days or weeks or months I wasted, and the dreams He planted in my heart that I never attempted to fulfill.
The hard part about our days being measured is that no one knows the measurement but God. So any time we waste is literally a gamble. If other lives are connected to the fulfillment of God’s will in our lives, then that gamble becomes a very costly one.
If I know that God has called me to write a book, and I fail to order my time in such a way that I’m able to fulfill that assignment, then all the people God wanted to speak that message to won’t get it. Could He speak through someone else, or in some other way? Of course! But that doesn’t excuse me from being responsible for the time I’ve been given. Nor does it give the Holy Spirit the complete material to work with in putting my record together.
Similarly, if I know I’m supposed to contribute financial support to an organization that is doing God’s will, or volunteer my services at my local church, but I don’t reprioritize my financial or time commitments to be able to do it, then there are people who won’t benefit from what I was supposed to give. Again, God could send someone else to do it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have to give an account of the time and money I was given, and what I chose to spend it on instead.
When, at the end of my days, the evidence is being collected to give a summary of how my faith was demonstrated, that will be missing. This may not seem like a big deal to us here and now – especially with so many other “justifiable” ways to spend our time and money. It’s easy to reason that we can find and seize another opportunity later. But someday, there will be someone who needed that part of our testimony that won’t have it. So we will have not only robbed the immediate recipients of the blessing we were appointed to give, but also the future recipients who are appointed to read about it or hear about it, and be strengthened and encouraged in their faith.
Please don’t misunderstand me – I am absolutely not promoting a performance-based life with God. Nor am I suggesting that the failure to complete an assignment means God won’t have anything good to say about us. He loves us and has saved us because He is love. Period. No strings attached.
That’s a hard concept to embrace at its most fundamental level because there is no Earthly love like this. It is pure and incorruptible, and unable to be swayed. And because it produces in the heart that has been perfected by it a grace-empowered desire to do something because of it.
Some people wrongly assume God expects and requires us to do things for Him, as if He is a lender who expects a return on His investment. I think a more accurate and truthful way to put it is that God expects what He deposits in our hearts to give birth to a lifestyle that is motivated by and imitates love. What He pours into us is powerful and full of life! The burden of expectation is one that rests on Him and what He gives. If rightly understood and wholeheartedly embraced, it cannot fail to produce a life that lives to please Him, from the pure motivation of sheer love!
When a heart has been reborn and remade in the love of God, it looks more and more like God’s heart. And it lives more and more to see God’s plans accomplished. The life that has become fully God’s is still looking for mountains to take in its golden years. And those mountains won’t be self-imagined ones. They will be the inheritance which God has purposed for that life.
When my days on Earth are through, I know the Holy Spirit will be more generous with His Words and His summary than I would be toward myself. Still, I don’t want to live out my days hoping He will focus on the things I’ve done in the past that I can be proud of, or that I know He was pleased with. I want to be engaged every day with the plans He has for me right now, moving toward the plans He has for me tomorrow – for however many more tomorrows I have left.
This means, of course, that I must live with the constant awareness that I am not promised tomorrow, so every step I take today matters greatly. I can’t afford to put off until an unsecured tomorrow what I know I can and should do in the today I’ve been given.
I guess what I’m advocating for here, Dear Woman of Breathrough, is a return to the realization that our days are not only numbered, but ordered. God has declared in Scripture that our days were pre-written. He has plans laid out that we get to walk out! If that’s not exciting news for you, then it may be time for a heart check. Sometimes when we’re off track and caught up in another agenda, aligning with God’s plans seems like more work or an increased burden. We don’t know where to fit it in, or where to begin.
The Good News is that God is not only the architect, but the Project Manager for our lives. Through His Holy Spirit, we have the daily, even hourly opportunity to check in and redirect our plans and intentions to make sure we are moving in the right direction. And one thing I know for certain is that a life directed by God ends with an amazing record for the Hall of Faith! Another thing I know for sure is that a life directed by God is also empowered by Him to do the things He has planned and desired for us to do.
It seems pretty simple to me, Dear One. And that is the beauty of the Gospel: it’s simple. When we return our hearts to Him, and follow Him wholly, The Holy Spirit will have great material to work with at the end of our days. We will be like Caleb, pursuing the fullness of God’s promises even into the golden years of our lives.
There are mountains to be moved and claimed still up ahead, Beloved. Now is not the time to be wasting time. Instead, ask God for the courage to live out all of your days according to His perfect plans, and to see the great things He has written for you come to pass. You may be in for a wild ride, but you will surely not be disappointed!
“…We also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
You have an inhertiance of hope to claim, and some intentional living to do, Dear Woman of Breakthrough! Go get it!! And on your way, read Hebrews 11 for inspiration! (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2011&version=TPT)