It’s a fact that there are just a few lines to carve into your gravestone or fit into your obituary in the back of your local newspaper. So what would it say about you? What would you hope it would say about you?
As a Christian (I prefer the term ‘disciple’ and ‘believer’ so we’ll be switching effective now, by the way), since we have an ever-present awareness of eternity this question becomes even more significant. For the fool who is perishing in a perpetual state of drinking wine, being merry and essentially living for themselves alone by filling voids that can’t be filled with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t transcend the grave, they would be happy if their gravestone didn’t mention the way they lived and perhaps had a nice line like ‘Bob was a good dad and husband”. But for the believer, we know that that stuff is just the beginning of the journey – part of the entrance requirement test if you will. The bare basics, perhaps. It’s easy to love those who love you, but what about those who abuse, betray, defraud you and those you love?
I came across this most helpful list of cut-and-dry obligations for the believer. Believers are not subject to the laws of the old testament, but we live lives that *fulfil* them as we live our lives more and more like Jesus through the work that he completed on the cross. So to look at a list of duties like this the temptation is always to get old-skool testament on oneself, perhaps even spiritually beating oneself down. But it’s critical that we examine ourselves. Yes, we have a conscience that will tell us right from wrong, but even the unbeliever has that. We are privileged to have God’s own word as a mirror into which we can see our spiritual reflection. This post is a good one to take a nice overall look.
However, this list seems to be missing a part of the ‘obligation list’ that is pretty significant. In fact, it’s the only thing that Jesus commanded us to do after he departed to heaven:
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16: 15
Just to back it up, let’s take a look at Paul’s kind of ‘pre-death message’ in 2 Timothy. He knew his time was short and was starting to get ready for what he expected might happen to him. Here is what he had to say:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge he quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith;
Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing
And so there is much more to do in our life as a disciple of Jesus than the inward stuff. Once the inward stuff is rolling, it should be followed by outward proof of faith. The one main such thing is the preaching of the word to others.
You need to seriously remember that Jesus said in Luke 9:23
“For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s , and of the holy angels.”
Preach it. Don’t hide your light under a basket. Don’t be a ‘closet Christian’.
And stand in front of the spiritual mirror, the Word of God, and let it change you to the way you are supposed to be, not the way the world has deceived you to be.