Friday, October 13, 2006
Recently, I was at the doctor’s office to get a referral for a specialist whom I regularly see. After the doctor promised the referral, he then made me schedule an appointment for a routine checkup which, we are told by the medical community, should happen once a year. He referred it as “routine maintenance.” Many do well to keep their bodies in shape by exercise, eating right, and even getting regular checkups, expecting to live long, productive lives. While this is complementary, we have to understand that this life will only last for a short time. The Psalmist wrote, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told,” Ps 90:9. Jacob, who lived 147 years, called his life a “pilgrimage” when asked by Pharaoh as to how old he was, then being only 130. In James 4:14, our lives are referred to has a “vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Seeing that our time here is so short, doesn’t that make eternity seem longer and more important to focus on knowing that we will live forever somewhere, either in Heaven or Hell? it then seems a prudent thing to do to prepare for eternity now. These are the things that must be done.
First, we all must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. We must confess our sins realizing that we were born into sins and ask his forgiveness then take him as our Lord and Savior. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3:3. Being “born again” is asking Jesus into your heart to be your Savior and Lord. You must start a new life in Christ and walk with him daily.
We must continue in the faith as our Lord said in John 10: 27-28. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” No man shall pluck us out of his hand as said in verse 28 if we meet the condition of verse 27 which state that we must hear his voice and follow him but we must meet that condition.
Wandering sheep stray from the path and it is possible that they may never get back into the fold. While the son was in the far country, as told by our Lord in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, he was not in the presence of the father. Only when he came back did he again gain the father’s presence.
We must then ask ourselves, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) The twelve disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus believed but only knew of John’s baptism. The Apostle wanted them to know he had something better. They were then baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, saying that to signify that it was Christ’s baptism not discounting the Father and the Holy Ghost, and were filled with the Holy Ghost and “they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” This manifestation is still good today and should be held as the evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost. May we continually go back to the fountain when it is flowing and get a re-filling!
This comes to the fourth point that is so necessary for a Christian to keep following the Master and hear his voice. That is to take time for self-examination in the mirror of God’s Word. I mentioned the yearly checkups for the body, but how about a time when you set aside some time for a checkup on the soul which will live forever? When reading the diary of David Brainerd, one can not be amazed by the number of days that he set aside for prayer and fasting for self-examination through God’s Word and the Holy Ghost. In Hosea 10:12 we read, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you”. Follow ground is ground that has either been plowed and not seeded, or ground that has been inactive. When we set ourselves apart for some time alone with God for our spiritual checkup, we are breaking up the fallow ground. When that ground is broken up, there may come forth seeds of another ministry or opportunities that God will give us that otherwise may not be. Sit down for some hours alone with God and the Bible. Set aside some days of fasting and clear the calendar for God for those days. Many times, attitudes and spirits creep in to our nature and we become dross instead of gold for the Master. It will allow us to get the “spiritual weeds” out of our lives and that sin “which so easily besets us,” so you and I can “run with patience the race that is set before us,” Heb. 12:1. Break up that ground and see what’s in store for you!