How about you? Have you made the decision to follow Jesus, or are you living for this life? We live in this body, but our souls will live forever-either in heaven or hell. The bible clearly teaches us this. Jesus tells of the seriousness of our life here, and the futility of what this world offers:
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mar 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Mar 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
This sums up the truth we must all face; all the wealth, glory, pleasure and power of earth are worthless to the dying man. If he should gain them all and lose his own soul, he has lost all.
Add to this: What would a man not give? What is there that he can give, if in life he has not followed Christ?
What is it to lose the soul? It is-
(1) to lose Christ and all spiritual enjoyments;
(2) to lose heaven and all its joys for ever;
(3) to lose all rest and peace to all eternity (Rev_14:11);
(4) to lose all hope of ever bettering our condition (Rev_9:6);
(5) to lose the very world itself (Luk_16:23-24)
I would watch many of the people I cared for, frail people with various maladies, illnesses, sorrows they faced- losing their homes, things they had worked for for a lifetime, and become as children again. Their bodies failing daily-it would grieve me to see the hardness of their hearts, they would refuse to talk about the condition of their souls. They would avoid the subject of whether they had given their hearts to the Lord, and received His forgiveness of their sins. Make no mistake the bible is clear-we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. This is why Jesus came into the world-all we have to do is go to Him in prayer and ask for the gift of salvation- His blood paid the price for our sins.
As I'm relaying this, I hope it causes you to think about your own life-one day, if you live long enough, you will be in the same situation. Your body isn't going to remain strong forever, nor your youthful appearance in the mirror. What really counts is what's inside, who you are, what you've become.
The majority of people today are the same, they don't want to hear about death, or their souls. I watched my husband live this way many years, even with heart disease. He was a good man in many ways, but wanted nothing to do with the Lord in His life. His attitude was the same as most today- he wanted to "do it my way". He paid many prices with this attitude- many years of sickness, suffering, and time in the hospital. His doctor's called and asked me more than once if there was anything I could do to convince him to do better with his diet, and bad habits. I told them if there was I would certainly do it. I was living with the consequences of his wrong choices right along with him. I believe many women can identify with what I'm saying.
The point: it's simple, and people need to ask themselves:
"Is what I'm living for-worth dying for.?"
Does your life consist of endless striving to achieve to make money-regardless of how it's gained? The next weekend party? Being popular, gaining a status, and an image-it's impossible to keep them, but most in the world attempt it. The books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs define this well-vanity. But this is what the world seeks after-and the god of this world dangles the carrots in front of people to keep them chasing after these vain, empty things. I'm not against people being rich-but the question has to be asked- do you own the riches, or do they own you?
Do you have the assurance of heaven when you die? You may die tonight, or tomorrow. We are not guaranteed another day. I hope you will take the condition of your soul seriously, and go to Jesus now, and receive His forgiveness for your sins, and allow Him into your life as Savior and Lord.
There is no coming back-the bible teaches us it's appointed unto us once to die, then the judgment.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
This world is the land of what a minister said to me once, "The land of in-between". This is the place we are put by God to live out our lives, and make our choices, and those choices will determine our eternal destination. Jesus made it clear the most important decision in this life is choosing to follow God, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the door-the only door to heaven.
Joh 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Joh 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
Joh 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
It's my hope you will hear the Lord knocking on the door of your heart, and will open it, and let Him in. He has prepared a place for you, but you must decide to follow Him yourself. He never forces anyone. What he wants is those who will choose Him out of love. In the years I've followed Him-He has shown Himself to be all love, all truth, and ever faithful.
Note: Below is excerpts from Great Texts-for further study.
The exchange is to give the man himself, all that makes him a man, for the things that are without. And when the discovery is made that the exchange is a bad one, it is the futile attempt to get back the man in exchange for the things. But it may be considered in respect of the physical life, the intellectual life, the moral and social life, and the spiritual life.
1. The Physical Life.—Does it profit a man if he gain the world and forfeit his physical life? Is the loss of bodily strength, physical vigour, nervous energy, and all the capacity for enjoyment which these things bring—is that loss sufficiently offset by the gain of a whole world? The other evening I counted over in my mind no fewer than thirteen men who within recent years had died under fifty-two years of age literally from the pressure of overwork. These were all highly successful men, not licentious nor drunkards, and not all of them were irreligious men. But in gaining their little world they had simply toiled and struggled for themselves, denied themselves hours of relaxation and rest. Late and soon they were at the daily grind of getting without spending, and, physically depleted, they died, not only in the prime of manhood, but in the summit of success, when, humanly speaking, there was everything to live for. They had gained a world, and had forfeited the only life which could enjoy it. At their funerals, I doubt not, remarks were made on the mysterious Providence which had cut short their days in the meridian of their maturity. But, as a matter of fact, there was no mysterious Providence about it. The men had died by their own acts, by the surrender of the righteous claims of their physical life in the struggle to gain a world. Well, was it worth while? Does that bargain pay? Is money of so much matter to any man that he should make himself a suicide for that one end?
One summer afternoon a steamer crowded with passengers, many of them miners from California, was speeding along the Mississippi. Striking suddenly and strongly against the wreck of another vessel, which, unknown to the captain, lay near the surface of the water, her bow was stove in, and she began to fill rapidly. Her deck was a scene of wild confusion. Her boats were launched, but did not suffice to carry off one-fourth of the terrified passengers. The rest, divesting themselves of their garments, cast themselves into the river, “some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass that they escaped all safe to land.” All except one. Some minutes after the last of them had quitted the vessel, another man appeared on her deck. Seizing a spar, he also leaped into the river, but, instead of floating, as the others had done, he sank instantly, as if he had been a stone. His body was afterwards recovered, and it was found that he had employed the quarter of an hour in which his fellow passengers had been striving to save their lives, in rifling the trunks of the miners. All round his waist their bags of gold were fastened. In one short quarter of an hour he had gained more gold than most men earn in their lifetime.
2. The Intellectual Life.—You can see men dying, dying as trees sometimes die, not from the roots but from the top. It is a melancholy sight. Their intellect is dying year by year as they become richer. Fifteen years ago their intellectual interests were vigorous, varied, and active; now they are narrow, monotonous, and languid; their whole strength has gone into the pursuit of wealth, and all their higher intellectual faculties are withering. I do not mean merely that very much of the book knowledge that they had when they left school or college has been lost—loss of that kind is almost inevitable, and no great harm comes of it. I remember hearing a very able man, who was a high wrangler (I am not sure whether he was not a senior), I remember hearing him say, “I should be very sorry if I remembered all the mathematics I knew when I took my degree.” But men not only lose their book knowledge, they lose their very intellectual life. Through this passionate devotion to business some of the intellectual powers decay, and you can see them decaying, and that, I say, is a melancholy thing; they keep their eyesight, their hearing is as keen as ever; but their higher faculties are fast going; they are no longer able to feel the enchantment, the fascination, the wonder of the great creations of genius—Milton’s majestic song, the meditative verse of Wordsworth, the sweet music of Shelley, the storm winds that sweep through the verse of Byron, the childlike charm of Charles Lamb, the political vision of Edmund Burke and the gorgeous pomp of his rhetoric—have lost all power to console, to charm, to animate them.
The late George Romanes, one who himself stood in the first rank of scientific knowledge, and who enjoyed a singularly large range of acquaintance among men of light, has put it on record in his posthumous thoughts about religion that he has found it in his own experience true,—and he passed the greater part of his life in unbelief, though, thank God, that unbelief passed into belief at the end—and in that of his friends, that wide knowledge does not make a man happy; for man is personal, he was made for God, “and unquiet is the heart of man until it rests in Thee.”
Only the other day a well-known man told me that some years ago he had sent a copy of his first book, then just published, to a prominent master of finance, a man who, from nothing, had amassed a colossal fortune. Some time after, my friend met this man, who, in congratulating the author, remarked that “he should feel particularly flattered by the fact that he had read the book at all.” “Why so?” inquired my friend. “Because,” replied the millionaire, “it is the only book of any kind I have read in five years!”
3. The Moral and Social Life.—The records of recent days, involving the downfall of so many men high up in public estimation, have revealed, as with flaming fingers, how possible it is in these days to secure reputation and wealth and influence at the expense of integrity and honour. In the fierce struggle for wealth men have deliberately trampled their principles, and in gaining a world they have forfeited their moral ideals.
And what is true of the moral life of the individual is not less true of the social life. There is the steady effort which the capitalists in England are now making for mastery; there is the effort which labour is making against the capitalists. It is not my business here to approve or to blame either section, but it is my business to say that if either side, during the strife, or after the victory, lose their soul—if they lose the sense of justice between man and man; if they forget that men, being God’s children, are brothers one of another, knit together by love; if in victory, they are greedy of self-interest or cruel; if they do wrong to freedom, if they are not magnanimous, if they become incapable of forgiveness—there will be no true advantage to themselves in their success, and they will do harm to mankind.
There was one living who, scarcely in a figure, might be said to have the whole world. The Roman Emperor Tiberius was at that moment infinitely the most powerful of living men, the absolute, undisputed, deified ruler of all that was fairest and richest in the kingdoms of the earth. There was no control to his power, no limit to his wealth, no restraint upon his pleasures. And, to yield himself still more unreservedly to the boundless self-gratification of a voluptuous luxury, not long after this time he chose for himself a home on one of the loveliest spots on the earth’s surface, under the shadow of the slumbering volcano, upon an enchanting islet in one of the most softly delicious climates of the world. What came of it all? He was, as Pliny calls him, “tristissimus ut constat hominum,” confessedly the most gloomy of mankind. And there, from this home of his hidden infamies, from this island where on a scale so splendid he had tried the experiment of what happiness can be achieved by pressing the world’s most absolute authority, and the world’s guiltiest indulgences, into the service of an exclusively selfish life, he wrote to his servile and corrupted Senate, “What to write to you, Conscript Fathers, or how to write, or what not to write, may all the gods and goddesses destroy me worse than I feel that they are daily destroying me, if I know.” Rarely has there been vouchsafed to the world a more overwhelming proof that its richest gifts are but fairy gold that turns to dust and dross, and its most colossal edifices of personal splendour and greatness no more durable barrier against the encroachment of bitter misery than are the babe’s sandheaps to stay the mighty march of the Atlantic tide.
4. The Spiritual Life.—But it is of the diviner regions of life that our Lord was especially thinking. If the signs of failing health, of approaching death, are not hard to recognise in the physical, they are not harder to recognise in the spiritual, sphere. There is less reverence in worship, there is less care for it, there is less heart in it; Christ, the living Christ, is not so constantly present to the thought; there is less of exultation in Him; His glory is gradually becoming dim, and it seems to have descended from the heights, and to have taken its place with no splendours about it among common men. Faith in Christ is less vigorous and intense, and there is less concern that other men should have faith in Him. If a man who was an effective Sunday-school teacher at twenty is only a Bank Director or a Town Councillor at fifty, if he has no spiritual gift and can do no spiritual work, honourable and Christian as his present function is if fulfilled in a spirit of loyalty to Christ, he has suffered loss of life, loss of rank. If, however, with the public functions he still possesses and exercises the spiritual gift, and exercises it faithfully, then it is well with him, his life is fuller and richer than before.
A man must live; we justify
Low shift and trick to treasure high
A little note for a little gold
To a whole senate bought and sold
By that self-evident reply.
But is it so? Pray tell me why
Life at such cost you have to buy?
In what religion were you told
A man must live?
There are times when a man must die.
Imagine, for a battle cry,
For soldiers, for soldiers with a sword to hold--
For soldiers with the flag unrolled--
This coward’s whine, this liar’s lie--
A man must live?
A World for a Life