What if today, December 31st, was not just the last day of 2017, but the last day… period? What if instead of sitting and reading this you were standing… having your judgement read to you? (Revelation 20:12) What if this was it; the end of your time on earth… the beginning of your eternity? (Hebrews 9:27) (Be wise -it may still be yet! Luke 12:16-21; I Thessalonians 5:2-3) What would that eternity look like?
Reflection - Our eternity is a reflection of the choices we make here and now. One choice in particular; whether or not we obey the gospel and become, and be, a disciple (follower) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (II Thessalonians 1:7-10) Those who believe and obey, their eternity will be a reflection of the joy of that choice, and to those who do not, their eternity will be a reflection of the anguish of a life spent denying their Creator, Lord, and Savior. That’s not said with the intention to hurt feelings, but to convict hearts that aren’t already hardened beyond convicting.
I imagine for most, there will be a lot of wishful thinking on the last day. There will be so many (Matthew 7:13) who will wish that they had not been so foolish as to deny God. There will be so many who will wish they would’ve obeyed the gospel (Matthew 7:21). There will be so many who wish they dedicated themselves more to sharing the gospel with others; perhaps, especially their own children. Just as the end of the New Year often brings to mind the wishful thinking of what we wish we had done (or not done) over the last year; how can the end of our life not bring about that same wishful thinking times infinity?
The great despair of course is, we can’t change anything. When I think of this last year there is a great chasm fixed between today and all of my past actions over the year. Nothing I can do today can fix or change anything that I thought, said, or did.
Most sadly, what’s done is done. Even if I could wish to go back and change things… I cannot. Of course, that varies in degree from person to person, but the principle is the same for all. How much more severe is that in eternity; when what I’ve done here on earth, the decisions I’ve made, I cannot go back and change? The last day, the judgement day, marks a definitive finality. (II Peter 3:10) The chasm of death cannot be crossed back over. What’s done, will have been done.
But, the last day of the New Year, though it is filled with the hopelessness of not being able to go back and change anything, is also filled with the hope of the new dawn, the new day... 2018!!! I cannot change my past, but I can determine my future. I can learn. I can grow. I can repent. I can do better. For all the hopelessness of not being able to change my past may bring, it is rivaled and conquered by the hope of being able to shape my future! One more perfectly molded after the model of Christ. One more perfectly aligned in walking in the footsteps of my Savior. (I John 2:4-6)
But that hope can only be realized with “active doing”. Being an effectual doer (of what I know I should do) and not a forgetful hearer (of the same). (James 1:22-25) I need to be an effectual doer of reading and studying my bible. An effectual doer of diligent fervent prayer. An effectual doer of serving my neighbor. An effectual doer of worshipping God. An effectual doer of sharing the gospel. An effectual doer of be-ing a good citizen. An effectual doer of being a hard worker. An effectual doer of honoring my parents. An effectual doer of living the fruits of the spirit. To sum it all up… an effectual doer of loving God… and loving it! (I John 5:3)
Imagine being able reflect back at the end of the year 2018 having been able to do all of those great wishes and desires? To have your hope fulfilled in being a better servant of Christ, and drawing closer to Him, and closer to an eternity with Him?! Imagine in the year 2018 reflecting each day upon the loving sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for you (Revelation 1:5), and using that as motivation to be an active effectual doer, and not a forgetful hearer. Imagine being able to reflect upon heaven, and having a heavenly attitude reflected in all of your thoughts, words, actions and choices! How beautiful 2018 can be, when imagined in the reflective light of the gospel!
If today was your last day, what would your eternity look like? Have you made (and are you making) the choices that will give you eternal hope, peace, and joy? If not, why not? If not, then start now! Your last day, your end, is guaranteed, but your to-morrow isn’t…..