Grace: to understand clearly the imminence of the day I will stand before God, to gain a greater sense of urgency in renewing my relationship with God, and to realize how permanently my relationship with God can be impacted by what I am currently doing.
Text for Prayer: Revelation 20:11-15.
Reflection: Death is inevitable. It happens to us all, in spite of power or celebrity. The famed general George Patton was at the height of his earthly glory as a World War II hero when he was hit in a car accident and died several days later in December of 1945. A quick look at the obituary section shows that death does not play favorites. Every kind of person is found in the obituaries- young, old, nice, mean, hard-working, lazy- it doesn’t matter. Some died slowly, others suddenly. But they are all there.
Whatever their beliefs, every person will stand before God in judgment. The choices we make in life will be reflected in what happens next. There is a vivid scene in C.S. Lewis’ book The Last Battle where all the creatures of Narnia- those who followed Aslan, those who worshipped Tash, and those who thought that each was a myth- stand one at a time before Aslan. Those who recognize Aslan as the one they have been longing for with the every action of their lives rejoice at being with him, and stand by him in the light. Those who recognize Aslan as the one they have been running from with their actions look on his face with terror, flee into the great shadow he is casting, and are never seen again.
Just claiming to be a Christian and to be a follower of Jesus is not enough. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Mt. 7: 21)
Jesus further warns that we must be constantly alert. Death and judgment will come unexpectedly. “Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know at what hour your Lord will come.” (Mt. 24:41-42). There is no explanation why one woman was taken from this life and one was left. Up until the moment it happened, there was no reason why it should. None of us knows when we will die and go before the Lord, so each of us must constantly ask the question: am I ready to die?
We have to look hard at our lives, with God’s help, and ask how God will find us when we die. Do we continually choose to seek God and be with God in our every action? Or do we make a choice, in spite of the grace He has given us and our experience of His love, to run from Him? Have we repented of our choice to run, and asked forgiveness, or confirmed the choice, continuing to stand by it unrepentant?
Questions: One day, you will die, and you will stand before the throne of God. Will you behold His face and flee, or recognize God as the One you long for? If you were to die right now, what would your life say that you are: a disciple of Jesus or of someone else? Have you ever made a choice to reject God? Do you regret that choice, or do you still choose to live as though the choice were right?