Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
When I read through the Bible, I always find verses that echo what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, what I need at the moment. This verse, Revelation 3:2, kinda freaks me out, because it reflects a deep feeling I’ve had in recent months that I haven’t been able to put into words, and at the same time helps me answer a question we had last week in our small group Bible study.
We’re doing a study based on Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love. The study guide asked, “If today was the day you died, what would you regret, and why?” Revelation 3:2 answers that question for me in three ways.
Regret #1 – To find I wasn’t paying attention, and that life could have been so much better if I had been.
Have you ever started to tell someone something, and they assume they know what you’re going to say so they jump in with their opinion, and it’s not at all what you were talking about? I think God’s plan for our individual lives might be like that. He starts talking and we’re all, “Okay God. I see where you’re going. I’ll take it from here.” Maybe He’s trying to tell us to stop and listen, because that’s not what He was going to say, and He has a better way.
Life is so busy. When we’re not doing, we’re thinking about what we have to do, or entertaining ourselves to escape thinking about it. But in all that running and avoiding, are we even paying attention to life, or the fact that it’s short? I don’t think so. I feel like I’m missing what God has for me, because I’m concentrating on all the things I think I should be doing. But what if that’s not what He wants me for me? He says, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) Do you feel like your yoke is easy or your burden light? I think I’m doing it wrong and it’s time to “Wake up!” and find out what His plan for my life is and what I can do to follow that plan better. Stop running and avoiding, and pay attention.
“Strengthen what remains and is about to die”
Regret #2 – To die early because I didn’t take care of myself.
I am 54, almost 54-and-a-half. I am overweight. I live a pretty sedentary life. I have high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease. I know I need to lose weight and make exercise a part of my daily life. OF COURSE I KNOW THIS! But knowing does not make it happen.
Seven years ago, I lost 45 pounds. I felt amazing, and looked pretty darn good (if I do say so myself). I was probably the most fit I’ve been in my whole life. (I was a sedentary kid, too.) But then I let it go. The little rebel voice in my head told me I was tired of not eating what I wanted and tired of working out. And all the weight came back…plus some. And that has caused health problems. I want/need to fight my procrastination, and snap out of this pursuit of pleasure and comfort.
The Bible is full of scriptures about self-control. Self-control is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). God GIVES us self-control! And if God gave me self-control, I HAVE IT. I just need to decide to use it. I want to live longer, healthier, and certainly happier; for my God, my family, myself, and so that I don’t die before my time.
“for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.”
Regret #3 – To stand before God have Him tell me I didn’t finish the work He had for me.
I have very vivid, very complex and symbolic dreams, pretty much every night. One theme that runs through over half of my dreams since I was a child is that I’m not ready for something. People are waiting for me, and I’m still dressing or packing or something. Some of this comes from the fact that when I was a kid my mom always told me I was “slow” and “lazy”. (Parents, these words stick with your kids, even when they are middle-aged and know better. Be careful of the words you choose.) Some of it is because I always have an interminable list of self-imposed To-Do’s.
But I think most of these dreams result from my fear of standing before God with little fruit to show for the years He gave me on earth.
And that all ties in to everything I said in the paragraphs above. I don’t feel like I’m aware of His will for my life all the time, because I’m paying too much attention to what I want to do, and because I procrastinate and go with comfort over self-control. It’s time for a life change.
Live Like It Matters for All of Eternity
(because it does)
I think if we could all see eternity for a moment, just to grasp it’s vastness, it’s endlessness, and see how our lives here on earth would fit on the head of a pin in comparison, we’d live very differently.
This is something I’m trying very hard to think about daily. I don’t want to get to heaven, stand before my Holy and Righteous God, and regret that I didn’t live this temporary life the way it was meant for me to live it.
And this is not out of, or to inflict guilt. No, rather that we’ve been given a great gift in this life. I don’t want to feel like I wasted any of it.
“The solution is not to push yourself into behaving perfectly;
the solution is to cultivate your love for God.” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love
I want to seek God and yearn for Him so deeply that my heart aches when I’m not constantly close to Him. I want to be so in love with Him that doing His will is the only pleasure I really need. I want to lose myself, and live for Him. I want to get to heaven with no regrets, and to hear Him say,
“Well done, my good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23)
It won’t be easy, but He is there with us always to help us every step of the way.
What about you? If today was the day you died, what would you regret?