Last week in church we studied Ecclesiastes 3:1-10. It’s the famous passage that talks about how there is a time – a season – for everything. A time for mourning and for dancing; for searching and for giving up as lost; for keeping and for throwing away. A time to be born… and a time to die.
Each of us has an appointed day when we are going to die. We don’t know when that will be, but God does. And in the meantime, Solomon tells us we would be wise to make the most of the time that we have.
I want to finish well. I want to get to the end of my life and know that I have done my best to walk with God through this world – loving Him and loving others well.
But it’s not easy walking through this fallen world. So years ago I came up with a checklist that could help me stay on track with God throughout the season of my life. Four questions that I ask myself every now and then. Four things that keep me focused on what’s really important. Four things that the Bible says are the bottom line of what walking with God is all about.
- Are you consistently spending time alone with God? If the only time you really spend thinking about God is when you’re at church or every now and then when you send up a random prayer for help, something is missing. The core of your spiritual life should be the time you spend alone with God, reading His Word and talking to Him and listening to Him. Your relationship with Him is just that – a relationship! And that only grows when you spend time together.
- Does sin have a stronghold in your life? Is there an area of sin in your life that you are hanging on to? Something hidden away from others that you can’t seem to let go of? Though you may have gotten really good at rationalizing it, if you want to walk worthy and finish your life well, you need to confess that sin and turn away from it.
- Are you doing the things God wants you to do? Jesus tells us that His will for us can be summed up in two things – loving God and loving others. The letters of the New Testament are filled with encouragement about what that will look like in our lives if we are on track for finishing well. Take some time to read them. You’ll find that God wants us to be in community with other believers so we can encourage each other to love and good deeds, and keep each other grounded in the truth. He wants us to be significantly connected to those who don’t know the truth of the gospel yet, so we can help them understand who God is and what He has done for them. He wants us to care for those in need around us.
- Do you have a servant’s heart? The Bible tells us that we are to be imitators of Christ. We are to humble ourselves and put others first. All of Jesus’ followers are called to put the needs of others before our own wants and desires. I love what Howard Hendricks once said, “The best way to know if you have a servant’s heart is to see how you react when someone treats you like a servant.” Our response should be one of love and sacrifice.
Whatever age you are now, it’s never too early or too late to focus on the things that are truly important, so you will finish well when the season of your life is over. I want to encourage you to make the most of your time by asking yourself these four questions every now and then. They will help you stay on track with God and finish well.
by Bernice Gudgel
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