Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday's Resolution {To Think About Dying}

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We are picking apart Jonathan Edward's 70 Resolutions, one week and one resolution at a time. Don't forget to start where he did- "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ's sake."

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

My paraphrase:

9. Resolved, to think a lot and at all times about my own death, and everything that comes along with it.

Humans spend much of their lives running from death. The goal in all things is survival. We fill our brains with entertainment, fun, work, and love... in efforts to distract ourselves from the big reality of our sure and certain end.

You can run. You can hide. You can fill your life with things that won't last. You can have a good time.

But one day, you are going to die. I am going to die. Everyone is going to die.

And all of the things we strove to accumulate will be left behind. We can't take it with us. 

It's a sobering thought, and one we don't like to spend much time on.   

As a Christian, however, I have a glorious hope. Despite my sin, despite my ugliness, despite my bold and brazen rebellion against a good and loving God...

He has set His love on me. He sent His Son to die on my behalf, paying the penalty of my sins, giving me instead His perfect righteousness. I am Holy because He is Holy. It's an act of His grace for all who would believe.

I know that "to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord." I know that one day I will stand in His perfect presence, enjoying eternity in Heaven with Him. That He will wipe away every tear... that there will be no more sin, sickness, pain, or death.

Yet I must confess that oftentimes I find myself in the unbeliever's shoes; fearing death, wanting to grab as much of this life as I can before its lost, trying to avoid even a thought of my definite end.

I forget that my marriage, motherhood, this lovely home and the good things in my life weren't meant to last forever. That the only things eternal are God, His Word, and people's souls.

Maybe that's why Jonathan Edwards resolved to think often on His death. Maybe he knew the weakness of his own flesh, the tendency he had to wander, his love of the world and the things in the world. Perhaps he knew that if he didn't purpose to think often on dying, he wouldn't be ready for it when his time came. 

Death sobers us. It is serious. Permanent. Final. We fear the unknown.

But there is hope and that hope is Christ!

He is The End for those who love and trust Him. This knowledge should flood our hearts with joy and peace to overflowing. It should motivate us to share our hope with those who don't know Christ (another task that I must confess I struggle with deeply).

It is in thinking upon our own deaths that we are able to prepare for them. Thinking about dying brings me back into awareness that none of this is forever. It helps me to value and invest in riches eternal, and to let go of riches perishing. 

Do you think often about dying? And more importantly, do you have a sure and certain hope in Christ?

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