PREPARED FOR THIS WORLD
Watching events unfold in my life and noting my responses to them have helped me draw some personal conclusions about this world.
1. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37, NKJV
This command was a puzzle to me for a long time. How can I tell how much I love God? Is loving God in conflict with loving my family? Then one day I received a very clear answer given by Jesus Himself:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.”
John 14:21, NKJV
If I love Him, I will study and obey His commandments as the single top priority of my life. Observing whether I am obeying Him is a quick check to see if I have a rebellious spirit. He said that to love God is the greatest commandment of them all.
2. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:39, NKJV
Jesus said that this is the second greatest commandment of them all and it is like the first. This commandment has two sides to it. Jesus said that I am to look after my own soul as a priority equal to loving God:
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul.”
Matthew 16:26, NKJV
The other side of the command is to love everyone and be as concerned about their souls as my own.
3. “The earth is the LORD’s.”
Psalm 24:1, NKJV
This fact has been a source of great freedom to me. I don’t own anything. I am a steward of someone else’s property. It belongs to the One I am to love with all my heart, soul, and mind. If I do, then I will care for His property as if it were my own. The Bible tells me that all that is in the world will be burned up. If that is true, then I need to heed the advice of my friend, Jack Klemke: to hold the things in the world lightly. It will all become an ash pile. Only people will be left!
4. “It is appointed for man to die once, but after this the judgment.”
Hebrews 9:27, NKJV
This ought to be welcome, exciting news. Recently my wife, Jo, and I went to visit her ninety-nine-year-old mother-in-law. Jo eagerly looked forward to this visit. The closer we got, the more excited she got. Finally, Jo saw her: the crowning moment of a long journey to Salem, Oregon. What a pleasure to greet someone whom you love! Who would want to withhold such a privilege from anyone?
After meeting the Lord comes the judgment. If I have kept His commandments (the test of our love) then I can anticipate this greeting:
“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Matthew 25:34, NKJV
5. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”
Psalm 116:15, NKJV
A PRECIOUS SIGHT
The key to anticipating the death of the people I know and love is preparation. When I love someone as much as I love the Lord and He calls that person to come to Him, I will be pleased with His decision, provided my conscience is clear toward that person. This is the crowning event for the people we love: a warm welcome from our Lord.
6. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.”
2 Peter 3:18, NKJV
Preparation for meeting the God I care about is a happy task. As I prepare and wait, I remember these things:
- Grow in grace. The ultimate achievement in yielding to the grace of God is to become more gracious as I grow older.
- Grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more I study His commandments and do them, the more my appreciation of the benefits of obedience grows.
- Glorify Him: now and forever with my thoughts, emotions, and behavior. My decision to please God in these ways must be renewed day by day.