Is Your Life On 'Play' or 'Fast Forward'?
by Donald Mehl 9/25/2006 / Christian Living
The older I become, the more I am amazed and surprised that time seems to pass us by so quickly. Not just the weeks or months, but the years of our life. It seems like yesterday when I heard people say, ‘You’ve got your whole life ahead of you’. How many times have you heard that expression? Although that could apply to us at any age, it’s normally told to those who are younger.
While we were young, any thoughts of our being grown up, or middle aged, or even becoming a senior citizen seemed so far away in the future that we could hardly comprehend them. At a young age, life seemed as though it would just go on forever.
Then one day along the way after we have grown up, we begin to realize that time is passing us by. We were so busy with our families, careers, friends and activities that we couldn’t focus on distant future times. Perhaps our turning point was when we mourned over our 30, 40 or 50th year birthday milestones, or perhaps we began to notice some gray hairs beginning to creep into view. At that point, we might have wished there was a ‘pause’ button, and a ‘rewind’ button, and then a ‘replay’ button that would allow us to go back and re-live some of those years. Maybe we would want to have another chance in life to avoid some bad choices, or perhaps to simply slow life’s time clock. If we are a true born again Christian, we certainly would have regretted those wasted years spent living for ourselves when God was not first in our life.
However, we just don’t have the ability to turn back the clock or even slow it down. When we are born, the ‘play’ button for our life is activated and we can never stop it. Deut. 30:19 tells us that God sets all life and death, and is in control of all things. Eccl. 3:1-8 says there is an appointed time for everything and every event under Heaven. In short, God is in control of the beginning of our life, the end of our life and everything in between. We do have the free will to make choices, both good and bad during our life, but He knows of our choices even before we make them.
Then at some point in our life it seems that the ‘fast forward’ function starts operating. We can’t stop that one either. The younger folks probably will not understand, but all they would need to do is ask anyone who is older about that concept. They might hear comments such as: ‘My, how time flies’, or ‘I can’t believe it’s December already’, or ‘We’ve been married over 40 years and it seems like it just happened yesterday’, or ‘Our kids are almost 40 years old – what happened to all those years?’. As I stated at the beginning of this writing, I am truly amazed and surprised that time seems to pass by so very quickly.
The next and final buttons to be activated in our life are the ‘stop’ and ‘exit’ buttons. Most people don’t want to think about them, but they are a fact of life. Psalm 90:10 tells us our days are numbered and they will soon be gone. Psalm 139:15,16 says our days were ordained for us even before we were formed. James 4:14 warns that our lives are as a mist that lingers for a little while, then vanishes away.
There is nothing that can tell us when those ‘stop’ and ‘exit’ buttons will end our lives here on earth. Since we don’t know the number of our days, it could happen anytime during our life. Death often comes to the very young as well as the very old including anyone in between, all according to God’s plan for our lives. Some of us reading this writing might be totally unaware that we could have only a few hours or days remaining, but some others might have years. Many hope that by living a good clean life, eating right, being active or even by having a family history of long life, they can delay the inevitable. However, an accident, a major illness, disaster or an act of violence can snuff out their life in a moment without any warning. We simply cannot know the number of days God has planned for us, nor can we know His timing for those days.
Many people are in denial concerning the reality and certainty of the end of their life. Also, most would admit that they hope the time would come later rather than sooner. However, God is in total control and none of us can change that fact. Perhaps the real reason those people don’t want to think about that part of their life is that maybe they are not truly ready to meet God.
The Bible clearly says in Heb. 9:27 that we are appointed once to die, after that the judgment. Rom. 14:10-12 promises that we will all stand before Him, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess to God and each shall give account of himself to Him. 2 Cor. 5:10 says that we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 1 Pet. 4:5 tells us we will all give an account, then face judgment.
Just take a moment to think about that event that is sure to take place. We will stand alone before the Almighty God, the One Who created all that exists, the One Who holds the seven seas in the palm of His hand, the One Who controls our very next breath and heartbeat, and then, we shall see Him face to face. It will be an awesome experience unlike any other for those of us who are true born again believers, and who have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior. We will be on our knees in humbleness, thanksgiving and praise to Him. For the many who have not given their life to Him, any thought of that time should strike fear and trembling in their heart because they are not ready to meet Him face to face.
Amos 4:12 says to ‘prepare to meet your God’. What does that mean? How can we prepare to meet Him? In what way will we give an account of ourselves? How can we know for certain that on that day we will be able to stand before Him with complete confidence and assurance? Remember that even as you are reading this, the ‘play’ button or perhaps the ‘fast forward’ button of your life has been operating. The ‘stop’ and ‘exit’ buttons have not yet been activated, but that could happen today. When that happens and if you have never deliberately accepted Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior, then you will have lost forever any opportunity to prepare and will face eternity without God while forever enduring His judgment for choosing not to repent and follow Him. 2 Cor. 6:2 warns us that today is the accepted time for our salvation. Tomorrow may be too late because each of us is only a heartbeat away from eternity. It is only with God’s permission that we are able to live from minute to minute of every day.
If people were asked to explain or describe when they became a Christian, many would say they have always been one as long as they can remember. They were born and raised in a Christian family always attending church even as a small child and then they just grew up living a Christian life. They might say they believe in a loving God that created all things. Also, they probably believe Jesus died on the cross, arose from the grave on the third day and then, ascended into Heaven. These same people will sing Amazing Grace in church, try to keep the Commandments, live a good life and love one another. If they were asked if they knew for certain they were going to Heaven, the answers might be ‘maybe’, or ‘hopefully’, or ‘perhaps’. Does all or part of that describe you and the way you believe? Are you just going through the motions, rituals and appearances of what you perceive as Christianity, but don’t truly have Jesus in your heart? We all must seriously think about that!
The Bible teaches one cannot ‘become’ a true Christian simply by believing in a loving God and/or by living a good life with long exposure to Christian values and principles. Nor can one ‘become’ a true Christian by belonging to any certain church, or by being baptized, nor can you either partially or wholly earn your way by any good works. No one can ever be good enough to get into Heaven by his own merits, nor do people just simply go there because God is a loving God. Many good people will never enter Heaven’s gate and many good people will spend all of eternity separated from God.
Just as there was a moment in time when we were all born physically, there is also a moment in time when all true Christians become re-born spiritually. The Bible refers to that life-changing moment as being ‘born again’ which, in spite of what many might think, is the ONE AND ONLY WAY for us to have eternal salvation.
The third chapter of John’s gospel speaks of a man named Nicodemus who was a teacher, religious leader and ruler of his day. In spite of his knowledge, Nicodemus did not understand the message of the gospel so he sought after Jesus to question Him. In John 3:3 Jesus said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is BORN AGAIN he cannot see the kingdom of God".
To become born again or spiritually re-born, we must become convicted of our sinful nature before God, confess and repent of our sins, humbly ask God to forgive us, and then invite Jesus into our heart and life as our Lord and Savior. The point in time we DELIBERATELY choose to do that is the moment in time we become born again.
Have you chosen to do that? Have you been on your knees before Him? Or have you just always assumed you are a true Christian?
Some might say that since they have always been a pretty ‘good’ person and just never did anything really bad, then, a loving God won’t be too hard on them. However, those people don’t know or understand that the Bible teaches we are all eternally lost sinners that come short of the glory of God. It’s been that way since sin and death entered the world through Adam (Rom. 5:12) and then continued for all people throughout all human history. That includes you and me.
God has a love for us that truly has no bounds. It’s not His will that any should perish, so God in His infinite wisdom made His plan of salvation available for all who would choose to accept it. He loves us so much He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross in our place to carry the sin burden of the entire world on His shoulders. It is only through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross that we can have the free gift of salvation. Rom. 9:22 teaches there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me".
God loves us. God hates sin and cannot look upon it. We all are sinners in His eyes and deserving of eternal death. That’s what makes God’s love for us through the sacrifice on the cross so astounding. He paid the price Himself. That’s why His grace is so amazing! Praise Him who died for us when we were yet sinners, and praise Him who paid the price for my sins so I could escape the wrath to come and enjoy the splendors of Heaven on the Hills of Glory forever. I am saved by GRACE, through FAITH, and by NO WORKS of my own!
We must be convicted of our sinful nature, realize we are eternally lost without Him and understand that Jesus came to die on the cross to pay the full price for our sins. We must confess our sins before Him, repent of our sinful ways and invite Jesus to come into our heart and life as our Lord and Savior to become a born again believer washed by His blood.
We can have absolute assurance of our salvation through the promises God provides for us in His Word. God’s Word is infallible and we must simply accept those promises by faith in Him.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, HE WHO HEARS My word, AND BELIEVES Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
John 10:27-29 (v27) My SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, and I know them, and THEY FOLLOW ME; (v28) and I GIVE ETERNAL LIFE to them, and they will never perish; and NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. (v29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Acts 16:31 They said, BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS, and YOU WILL BE SAVED, you and your household.
Rom. 8:38,39 (v38) For I AM CONVINCED that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, (v39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rom. 10:9,10 (v9) IF YOU CONFESS with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART that God raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED; (v10) For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Rom. 10:13 For WHOEVER WILL CALL on the name of the Lord WILL BE SAVED.
Eph. 2:8,9 (v8) For BY GRACE you have been SAVED THROUGH FAITH; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES, it is the gift of God; (v9) NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS, so that no one may boast.
2 Tim. 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED and am CONVINCED that HE IS ABLE to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
1 John 4:15 WHOEVER CONFESSES that Jesus is the Son of God, GOD ABIDES IN HIM, and he in God.
Where we spend eternity is clearly a conscious choice we must all make and it’s our choice alone. To simply not choose IS YOUR CHOICE TO REJECT His message. If you don’t truly know Jesus, then one minute after you die, you will suddenly realize too late that you would have given up everything for only one more minute of life and breath just to have asked Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior.
So listen very closely my friend. Your clock is ticking much faster than you might think. Right now, your life is on ‘play’ and for most of us, it’s on ‘fast forward’. However, the hour is coming soon when we will all stand face to face before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will be asked what we did with Jesus’ invitation during our life. Was He number one in your life and the Lord of all? What we did with Him will determine what He will do with you and I. How will you answer those questions? If we truly know Jesus as our Savior and Master, then we will meet Him with unspeakable joy and confidence that we have salvation through Him for all eternity.
I know that the day when my life on earth in over, my last breath here will be my first breath in Heaven. When my eyes close in death, they will then be immediately opened there to see the loving, outstretched arms of my Jesus welcoming me. I know that when I see Him, I will know Him by His shining, smiling face and by the scars in His nail pierced hands.
1 Cor. 2:9 Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
IF WE TRULY KNOW HIM, THEN THE BEST IS YET TO BE!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!