If there’s a topic we’d rather not dwell on, it’s death.
We pull away from feelings of loss, grief, and sadness, putting it off for “later in life”, secretly hoping to die peacefully in our sleep. Remembering our lives are fleeting and no one escapes the finality of death is a thought we’d prefer not to embrace.
Still; reality remains.
Death is coming.
One day, likely when we least expect, Death will have the final word over our earthly existence.
Perhaps, like every other aspect of following Jesus, our minds need to be renewed by
Life Himself in order to gain a right perspective on life and death. (Romans 12:2)
The world urges us to seize the day,
manipulating us into believing today is the gift,
and it’s all we have.
Armed with this faulty belief system, we miss not only the purpose of now,
but also entirely eclipse the reality yet to come,
as well as the Giver Himself.
Life’s true purpose is inextricably bound up within an intimate relationship with the very source of Life Himself, the Triune God.
The often-missed secret to a spectacularly satisfying life is laying our life upon the foundation of worshiping the Creator rather than ourselves and our desires. (Romans 1:25) When we release our façade of control we find the freedom to flee fear, dis-entangle from sin, and find fulfillment, not in achievement, but in surrender.
Genuine Christ-followers, having arrived at the end of their days, ready to embrace the full reality of the richest life yet to come, recognize the familiarity of joy found in their last minutes. Its source isn’t knowing they have “checked every box”, but rather that all the boxes have been checked for them by Jesus, the One to whom they have run towards and delighted in through worship.
One week ago at the time of this publishing, Pastor and author, and most importantly genuine Christ-follower, Tim Keller, died on earth and awoke to the real life for which he’d been living for decades. Some of his last words earth-side were, “There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.”
Like the five virgins in Jesus’ parable who eagerly awaited Jesus’ return (Matthew 25:1-13), Keller was ready for death because he had firmly set the course of his life upon worshipping the Author of Life while waiting for the life that would not end.
When the mercy and goodness of God that had pursued him his whole life, finally caught him, Death was forever slain for him and he eagerly rejoiced. (Psalm 23:6) His mission of worship was not only accomplished on earth, it would continue in radiant glory for eternity to come as he welcomed an in-person, face-to-face worship that would ceaselessly endure forever.
A life committed to worship and marked by eagerness for life after death isn’t reserved for pastors but is available to all who follow Jesus.
Recently, a young woman from my church was brutally murdered. According to the onlooking world, her whole life was ahead of her. Which is true, but in a much different sense. Unlike Keller, Riley had lived most of her life in rebellion against the God who had surrendered Himself for her. She never authored a book, pastored a church, or studied at seminary, but one decision changed the theme of her life’s song. (Psalm 119:54)
Months before she died, Riley chose Jesus and her worship radically shifted off herself and onto the God who desired a relationship with her. With her mind renewed by the Spirit of God, she began sharing the Hope of Jesus. Roommates, coworkers, and neighbors who had never heard of the transformation offered by Jesus who came to pay the penalty accrued by our sin, now saw Jesus reflected in the worship-focus of Riley’s changed life.
As Riley breathed her last on earth, she was welcomed with the same celebration Keller received. Her mission on earth was accomplished, but her life of face-to-face worship was just beginning!
As we re-orient the worship of our lives, we will discover what Keller, Riley, and countless others have embraced. Regardless of the number of our days, the satisfaction of our mission is bound up within the joy of intimate knowledge of the Holy One as we lay our lives before Him in surrendered worship.
Perhaps there is no more beautiful picture of adoring, breathless worship than what is portrayed in Revelation 4 as angelic beings ceaselessly cry afresh, “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God the Almighty Worship, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8) If you haven’t read the whole scene and imagined yourself there to join the worship in person, you’re missing out! Go read Revelation 4!
Wherever you are in your faith journey today, decide to shift your focus.
Choose to place your worship solely on the Only One Worthy of it in the first place.
Then get excited, and eagerly anticipate the Forever Face-To-Face Life that will begin when this earthly life ends.
“Indeed, we groan while we are in this tent (life on earth),
burdened as we are,
because we do not want to be unclothed (without Real Life)
but clothed (with Real Life),
so that mortality (Death!) may be swallowed up by Life.
Now the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God,
who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.”
(2 Corinthians 5:4-5, commentary mine)
Our purposed mission by God’s design is life with Him,
made available because of Christ’s sacrifice and His Spirit alive within us.
When we breathe our last on earth, Mission Accomplished is just beginning!
Mission Day 15
We will delight in Him as a bride delights in her beloved husband and He will receive us as a husband delighting in His Bride whom He has desired and given everything for.
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