LIFE—A TIME OF PREPARATION
As life becomes increasingly full of activity, it is easy to forget the real reason for our earthly existence. In Amos 4:12, we read, “Prepare to meet thy God.” Many times our focus is motivated by the push for financial security, the desire for an easy lifestyle, or the pursuit of pleasure. God has graciously given us time on this earth—not for ourselves but to prepare for an eternity with Him. As we examine the seriousness and finality of the final judgment and realize there will be no second chances given at that great day, we need to live a life of preparation.
As God entrusts a new little baby into the parents’ care, there is not only a thrill of joy but there should also be a sense of great responsibility. God has placed a never-dying soul into our keeping to nurture and to begin the preparation for its eternal destiny. As His will is sought, God will give the needed understanding for this new responsibility. In proper time, we begin to mold the little child’s character and to teach him that a surrendered will is the key to freedom and happiness.
When God sees the time is right, He gently invites each of us to become His child. Accepting this call of God is the single most important preparation we can make for eternity. As we come to His throne of grace in complete surrender, amid the guilt and condemnation of our sins, He graciously forgives with the atoning blood of Jesus. As we accept this gift by faith, peace floods our souls, and our names are written in the Book of Life. We then begin our journey on the Christian pathway.
Christian life may go smoothly for a season, but we soon learn that Satan will never leave us alone, because his goal is “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). We will find strength, vision, and courage to daily press onward as we go to God’s Word for inspiration. As we kneel and submit our hearts to God in prayer and ask for His grace to be present, His power from Heaven will be there when needed. Preparing for eternity is a daily preparation, a daily battle, a daily victory.
God is not silent in our preparation for the long and never-ending eternity. He sends His Holy Spirit in each time of need to guide, comfort, strengthen, or reprove. To understand and follow His Spirit is extremely important. In 1 Kings 19:11-12, we read, “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” Our inner being will need to be quiet enough to hear that still small voice. God does not shout at us or drive us. His Spirit does not cause our minds or lives to spiral downward without light or hope. Rather, His Spirit draws and leads us to light and direction in a quiet way. If we truly want to prepare for eternity, we will need to listen and obey His voice. God’s heart is touched with our needs, and His desire is to always lead us heavenward.
As a Christian youth grows and matures in the Christian walk, God wants to direct the choices that are made. It is during this crucial time in life that the choices made can affect all of one’s lifetime and, often, one’s eternal destiny. Life’s vocation should be one that will honor and glorify God, not one that will detract with temptations and attitudes of the kingdom of the world. Even in our times of relaxation, our choices should not have a negative effect on our relationship with God and thus deter us from our goal. As God inspires us to unselfish living and giving, the stage is being set for greater decisions that will affect our future. God often calls the youth to give some time in an avenue of service. It is also during this time that God may lead us into a marriage relationship. Dedicated, unselfish, and humble Christians are in a far better position to prove and understand the will of God for this important choice. They can then be led into a relationship of love that will enhance their walk with God. As a Christian home is begun and as a dedicated husband and wife strive to serve God together, the preparation for eternity continues even as God continues to bless with His goodness.
For the Christian, God has a life of service. There is a time when He begins to give responsibilities to each one. These responsibilities may start out in simple ways, but as God sees faithfulness, He adds more. The time spent for Christ is time well spent. It pays far greater blessings than growing bank accounts and increased holdings, but it is too often neglected for these lesser goals.
As the Christian gets older, it is easy to become so encumbered with the cares of life that one forgets the real reason for our being on earth. Social responsibilities mount, and family cares increase. Often our financial commitments become overly important, and our focus shifts from preparing for eternity to making our short stay here more and more comfortable.
Eternity is real and is almost knocking at the door of time. The bliss of heaven and the horrors of hell can hardly be comprehended. May each of us prepare to meet God, so when the Judgment Day comes, we can hear those blessed words, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). As the Christian is ushered into the glories of heaven, all earthly preparation will seem as naught, and deep thankfulness and praise will surely echo and re-echo throughout that beautiful place.
Messenger of Truth, 2016, No. 2