James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
This verse has been on my mind lately. Probably because of social media. In one scroll of my newsfeed, I see a buffet of emotions, memories and life events. Just the other day, I saw the baby's first Christmas pictures of a high school friend. The excitement and joy a new baby brings. It's one of those pictures that you find yourself smiling at accidentally.
On the other hand, on the same day my newsfeed was filled with pictures of a missing teen. A mother's frantic plea for help to find her precious daughter. My heart ached for her. I fought my emotions. Sometimes I would scroll right past it so that I would not linger and cry. However, the mother of this girl could not scroll past this tragic event. It was there raw, real and devastating.
I can check out of social media from time to time because of its effect on my life. I can allow myself to fall into the escape of movies and sleep. When it is not my burden, I can separate myself from the problem. I have the choice to just not know. After all, ignorance is bliss.
There are times I need to remove myself from things that take away from my peace and my walk with God. In that, there is wisdom. Although, I may be unaware of a birth, death, broken marriage and health crises, they still occur. The Lord spoke to my heart. Someone's worst day is someone else's best. Everyday life enters this world and exits it. It is a vapor, a mist. In the view of eternity, it is here and gone as quickly as the steam disappears above a boiling pot.
So, what do I do with the knowledge of the frailty of life? How do I cope with knowing that today may be my last. How do I adjust my actions to live my life with eternity in mind instead of all the tomorrows?
FIRST: I adjust my priorities. I listened to a podcast on organization the other day. She had us list 8-10 of the most important things in our lives. Then she had us cut that list several times until we were left with three. She said the decisions we make should support these three priorities. At this stage in my life, my top priorities are God, my marriage and my children. This year, my yeses and noes will need to not hinder these priorities.
SECOND: Everything that I am worried about, I will run under the lens of scripture. First of all, I am not to be worried. So there is a battle worth fighting. Fighting for my peace. However, I am human and things will concern me and bother me. When these issues come up, I am to go to the Word of God and compare my thoughts with His truth. Most of my worries are unfounded. There are times that a concern is validated. For example, a health or relationship concern. If there is a legitimate problem, then I have to find truth in the Word to pray over these situations and allow God to be God.
LASTLY: Run my decisions, focus, and plans through the reality of the gospel. Is what I want to do going to help or hurt the gospel? Is what I am upset about hindering the gospel? Let's face the facts. My purpose as a Christian is to live out the gospel in my home, church and community. The devil spends his time trying to stop that by getting me focused or burdened with things that really don't matter.
I love New Years. I love the idea of a blank year to be filled with love, laughter, family and friends. I must remind myself that with all the joy I anticipate, there can and will probably be heartache as well. My worst day can be someone else's best day. Life goes on and stops for no man. My desire is to live on purpose this year. To remind myself daily that this life will be over soon. The only thing that will matter is what I have done for Christ. There are no do overs. There is today. That's it. I pray I can make today count for my three priorities. I can conquer my fears with the Word and I will stay gospel-centered moment by moment.
I will grieve with those who suffer loss and rejoice with those who receive gain. And may I feel the prick with each tear and smile that comes upon my face that God is at work and this life is not my home. Eternity is endless...Let us live with that as our compass.
Matthew 6:19, Matthew 6:34, Mark 16:15-16