Tag Archives: Life

“Just One of Them Things”

     In two days I have the honor of speaking at the funeral of a kind-hearted and generous sister in Christ who passed on to her reward Sunday night. Nothing came easy for Sister Norma in her life. She worked hard through many situations that would have brought down other people. She raised six children and two of her grandsons after they lost their parents. She was humble and generous, sometimes to a fault, but her love for her family and her fellow Christians was never questioned.

     In the time that I knew her, Sister Norma had a phrase that she used regularly that truly embodied her approach to life. “It’s just one of them things,” she would often say. However, that phrase would be uttered both in good times and bad. When encouraging someone else, or lying in the hospital dealing with her own problems. Whether talking to me about a lesson I had just presented, or dealing with some problem she couldn’t control, she approached them all with the mentality that life is “just one of them things.

     You see, Sister Norma understood that life is not about fair and unfair, nor does it set upon the point of only having good things happen in life. She understood that sunshine and rain come upon both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), and that there are many things that are part of life that are outside of the control of we mere mortals.

     Among the things that she discussed with me as “just one of them things” was death. She knew that it was one of those things that comes to all men. While concerned for the welfare of her family, she did not fear death, for she knew she was ready to face that which comes to all of us. She understood the principle of Revelation 14:13, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth… that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” She had done everything necessary to prepare for the day that came on Sunday and could approach it with the same attitude as she had everything else in life.

     I will miss Sister Norma. The conversations we had, the encouragement she gave, the calls to check on someone sick in my family when she was worse off than we were. But before I conclude, there is one more thing Sister Norma would want me to say. As I was preparing to speak at the funeral of her son a few years ago, I asked her if there was anything she wanted me to say. Her response was, “Tell it like it is, because some there might not get to hear it again and they need to hear it now.”

     With that in mind, I must ask: are you ready for death? Do you know what God expects of you to be acceptable in his sight, and have you done it? Are you sure that what you currently believe is the truth, or are there questions in your mind? Have you repented (turned away) of the sin in your life (2 Peter 3:9), and been immersed in water for the remission of your sins (Acts 22:16)? Are you living your life by walking in the light of Christ and letting him guide your steps (1 John 1:7; Galatians 2:20), or are you trying to walk your own path hoping that God will accept it because he loves you?

     The Bible is clear about what God commands man to do in obedience to him; but they must be done while opportunity exists today. Remember, tomorrow is not guaranteed and death is “just one of them things.”

     Are you ready? Are you sure?

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The Pride of Life

Among the three categories listed by the apostle John in First John 2:15-17, the one that is least discussed is the pride of life. It is easy to focus on the lust of the flesh and eyes because they are so readily apparent and common among us. However, the pride of life is no less prominent in our world; it is simply more easily hidden or overlooked because we don’t ascribe it as readily.

The word “pride” carries the definition of arrogance, empty assurance, or trust in self. One commentator described the term as it is used in this passage as, “arrogant assumption.” When one considers the third category of worldliness and sin, it is centered on the arrogance toward life; the attitude of man toward the physical world and his place in it that skews his relationship with God and man’s willingness to serve him. Consider three distinct areas wherein man exhibits the pride of life.

 Pride in the Manner of Life

This type of arrogance toward life is seen in the, “God does not have the right to tell me what to do” mentality. People often exhibit this level of pride when faced with decisions where God has given one set of directions, but their desire is down another road. They then argue in their arrogance that they are the ones living on this earth, their body is their own, and nobody has the right to tell them what they can or cannot do with it.

While it is true that man is responsible for making his own decisions, it is also true that wise and humble men will look to God for direction. Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Pro. 1:7), and, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pro. 16:18). When man takes pride in his own manner of life, he falls prey to the wickedness of this world and moves himself from the side of God.

Pride in the Quality of Life

Another avenue of the pride of life is seen in man’s determination to maintain his style and level of life. There are many people unwilling to follow God and keep his commands because it would mean a change in lifestyle and the quality of life to which they have become accustomed. These individuals show their arrogant adherence to the physical over the spiritual by their unwillingness to lose what they have gained on this earth. They follow the example of the rich young ruler, who went away sorrowful without fulfilling the command of the Lord because he had great possessions (Mat. 19:22). Unfortunately, many in today’s world, and even a number of Christians, allow this measure of pride to stand in the way of complete service to God. They are unwilling to part with the social status previously obtained, the level of seniority at their job, or the level of income they currently receive; even though the retaining of those things keep them from living and devoting themselves to God as he has commanded. Physical lifestyle and possessions are of the greatest importance.

It was about those of this mindset that Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 19:23). Any man, who shows arrogance toward his quality of life on this earth, has no understanding of the magnitude of difference between life on this earth and the quality of life in eternity for the righteous.

Pride in the Possession of Life

One of the greatest fears for many people, sadly even those within the church, is the loss of their physical existence. We face the prospect of death as the greatest tragedy that can befall an individual; and many will do anything to extend the number of years they spend on this earth. Such is truly the arrogance of life.

When man treats life as the most important thing, and the loss of the physical body as the greatest tragedy of life, he has shown a complete lack of understanding of life beyond this physical world. Certainly the loss of a life that is unprepared to stand in judgment before God is the greatest tragedy one could endure. Not because of death, but because that person has not lived a righteous life before God and now will have to answer for their deeds without redemption.

However, when the loss of the life of a righteous soul is considered, it should not be approached with fear or anger, but joy and peace that the soul is at rest for eternity. How sad it is to see members of the body of Christ approach the death of a faithful servant as the worst thing that could have happened, or an unfair end to a short life. Instead, they should be rejoicing that another soul is safe and secure for all eternity.

Pride in the possession of life keeps us from the joy of righteous living, the peace of a prepared life, and the hope in the promise of eternal security. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Mat. 16:25). This physical existence is not what is important and to place the keeping of it as a priority above all else is folly, our greatest priority is using every day in service to God to the best of our ability.

The pride of life is a dangerous pitfall for mankind. It ties one to the physical view of life and keeps man from fulfilling his greatest calling: service to God. As we preserve our vigilance against the pitfalls of this world, we must never forget to include the pride of life in our area of watchfulness, for it can bring us down to destruction as quickly as any other sin.

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