Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
I have the fortune to have grown up in what we would nowadays call a functional home. My parents both stayed married until my mom passed (more than 40 years); we attended church every Sunday; my sister and I were raised with good, moral values. There’s no doubt in my mind that my precious mother was a believer and is now Home with our Savior. My dad… well, if you had asked me about my dad prior to my mom’s passing, I would have vehemently insisted that he too was a believer. But after my mom died, my dad’s behavior took a very different turn. An old friend who had known my dad since his teenage years even questioned whether or not he was saved.
Death came to my dad a number of years ago. And it was a fairly typical death, real, not staged like we see in movies or television. He took ill with what we all believed was the flu, became worse and was placed in ICU and within a week fell into a coma. There was no time for him to prepare for his death, no time to reflect on his life, no energy to deal with his past decisions. The time for any decisions came long before his death loomed within reach.
I would like for my dad to be in heaven with my mom and with me when I go. I love my dad dearly; he was a really good dad. But more than having him there, I want what the Lord wants, for I love the Lord much more than I love my dad. I love the Lord with as much of my heart, soul, and mind that I am capable of. Certainly not as much as I ought, but much more than I love any living thing on earth. And I want what the Lord wants.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us that “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (NKJ). The Lord wants everyone to come to repentance. That is what He wants. But there is also a “day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1) that comes… and passes. And once it is passed, the only day awaiting us is the day of judgment when the books of heaven are opened and each of us is judged by what is in the books (Revelation 20:12). If our name isn’t found in the Book of Life, we are condemned for all eternity.
Do we truly love the Lord? Do we truly understand that loving Him means understanding that His justice is equally His character as is His love? Because of His love, Father God gave the ultimate sacrifice to demonstrate His desires for us. He sent His only Son to take our punishment of death for sins. In that He has shown how much He wants each one to repent. But, because of His justice, after the day of salvation, there will be a day of judgment. And that day of judgment is as fair, as much a reflection of His holy character, as the day of salvation.
Within this past week, three deaths touched my life. Two were a mother and son. She was a Christian professor and he was a young Christian athlete. I know that they are in the presence of the Savior. The third death was another young man, one from our community. I do not know whether or not this young man was saved, but the day of salvation is gone for him. Any opportunity that the believers around him had to witness to him is gone. As believers, we are more aware than anyone else around us of the urgency of life. There are only so many days — the number only known by the Father — and then the judgment. I know that I need to learn to live with more urgency for those around me, to take every opportunity to pray for their souls and, if even the smallest opportunity arises, to share the gospel with them. And if I can’t share with words, I can share with my life by taking on the mind of Christ and living as righteously as possible. God didn’t command us to live righteously to take all of our fun away; He commanded it because He knows better than anyone else the urgency of life. We need to walk, to talk, to live differently so that the world around us will see the salt and light that we bring and be attracted enough to us to listen to the message of life we can bring. I know that I need to start doing that. Today.