I just saw a front-page Yahoo news headline that made me chuckle: "Red Meat Raises Death Risk". The link to the article makes the scary new finding even more specific: "Lots of Red Meat Increases Mortality Risk".
Did you catch that? Eat lots of juicy filet mignons (like the portabello-and-roquefort topped one I enjoyed back in February) and someday, you run the risk of dying.
Huh. And here I was thinking that death was a done deal. You're born; being born implies a 100% fatality rate - even for the staunchest of vegans. Or did I miss something here?
I don't mean to sound flip as I write about a subject as serious as death (and good quality steaks). I just don't have a problem with my own mortality. As my Canadian-born pastor once said, "You're born; you grow up; you play hockey; you die." The question is not whether we will die, or even when, or from what (presumably eating too much roast beef is a major cause of death, albeit a pleasant one).
It's what you do to glorify God in the meantime that is the question.
Where we spend eternity should be settled. For those of us who have been born again, the prospect of physical death should hold no dread, but we should often consider how ready we are to face our Lord. Regeneration may be a present reality, but what are we doing with Christ's lordship in the day-to-day? What areas is He calling us to surrender that we're still holding onto? As a college Bible study leader of mine once asked, "Are you putting feet on your faith?" This is the whole message of the book of James - don't be just a hearer of the Word; be a doer of the Word.
The one thing I want to hear when I step into eternity is "Well done, good and faithful servant." This week, I have been having a great time with God - He has been bringing steady, gentle conviction (def.: constructive criticism from the sovereign hand of God). Does it surprise you that conviction feels great? It shouldn't. To me, the Holy Spirit's promptings have always been clear-cut proof that God cares. He's willing to step in and encourage, correct, and rebuke my ingrained habits when necessary. I've been thinking about my own walk lately, and how (much to my chagrin) God doesn't have me on the mission fields of Burma or Belarus. How, beyond teaching Bible studies and writing books, can anything I do possibly count for Him? As I wonder rhetorically whether I'd have the fortitude to die a martyr's death, I completely miss what it means to live for Christ.
One of my fellow bloggers posted a quote from a Puritan writer, to the effect that the fires of hell burn hotter for those who talk doctrine but don't do it. Frank Turk over at Pyromaniacs posted an entry that dealt with the fastidious way in which we theo-geeks will defend biblical interpretation and may be razor-sharp in our soteriology, but what is the Father looking at?
Do I really need to answer that question for you?
Currently, I am nearly finished with John Macarthur's book "Forgiveness", by far the best and most exhaustive book I have ever read on the subject. Macarthur deals head-on with some of the toughest questions about unilateral forgiveness ever posed, even devoting an entire chapter to the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (you don't need to know Greek to get the point). Despite (or perhaps because) forgiveness is my spiritual Achilles' heel, I tend to get caught up in the mental gymnastics of monergism vs. synergism he introduces in chapter one. Sometimes, my mind can be a concordance, but my heart is not a sanctuary.
God is changing that, and it is exciting. So freeing, and exhilerating to taste what grace can look like when you pour it out to others.
I am the type who would rather write a dissertation on the Doctrines of Grace than forgive an unbeliever who has reviled me. However, the longer I linger at the foot of the Cross, the more absurd that tendency seems. After expounding on the enormity of what Christ has done for us, Macarthur writes, "Christians should be obsessed with forgiveness; not vengeance." To allow my mind to go in it's natural direction (towards holding grudges) is to be totally unappreciative of my Savior's mercvy and love. It's unthinkable! Why prefer a pop theology quiz as entry to heaven when all He asks of us is to show grace in keeping with our Father's character?
I mention my battle with my own unforgiving nature as a prime example of what He wants me doing - right now. Do you have something in your life? Put aside the cliche question, "If you were to die tonight, how certain are you that you would go to heaven?" That question was settled upon your conversion - but don't get cocky. Let's think of a replacement question: "If you were to die tonight, how could you have better acted in faith, and what acts of righteousness will you have neglected that could have counted for eternity?" Or more simply, "How ready are you to meet Jesus?"
Not that we'll ever be perfectly ready, but Jesus has laid out His commands and expectations pretty clearly in His Word. (Recommended supplementary reading: John Piper's "What Jesus Demands from the World").
If you're continually walking by the Spirit, you don't have to worry about red meat doing you in.
6 years ago