The world tells people to live their best lives, to seek happiness and fulfillment, to focus on the here and now. But death?
The only mentions that death ever gets in society today are disclaimers on medication commercials.
As much as death is ignored or pushed out of people’s thoughts, it doesn’t change the fact that it is an impending, inescapable reality. It is estimated that 150,000 people die every day. Children die in their sleep and innocent drivers are killed by reckless ones. Missionaries are martyred. Invalids finally succumb to their illnesses. The suicide rate has never been higher.
No one knows when their last hour is. James 4:14 says “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
Despite this reminder, young people live as if life lasts forever. They pursue pleasure, waste hours on social media, and devote their time and energy to things that have no eternal value.
Though it may feel like death will never touch you, let me break it to you: you are going to die. Maybe you will live to the ripe age of eighty, ninety, or even one hundred. Perhaps you will live to sixty, and your friends and family will consider your life well-lived. Or maybe something tragic will happen to you when you’re barely thirty.
Or maybe your last day is today, and tomorrow you will stand in the presence of God.
Would you be satisfied with your life if you died tomorrow? Have you made a difference for Christ? Are you prepared to stand before God the moment after you breathe your last breath?
David wrote in Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Even besides gaining wisdom, there are many more advantages to contemplating the brevity of life. Here’s some reasons why we should pay attention to the end of our lives:
1: Death motivates you to live life like every second counts.
This year was one of great change for me—I graduated from high school and began college. As I moved into my dorm, I suddenly was overwhelmed. How was I here? Wasn’t I just a freshman in high school? How did the time pass so quickly?
Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest theologians of the Great Awakening in America, and when he was a teenager, he wrote a list of resolutions for his life. He made his greatest purpose to bring God glory, and he knew that he needed to consider his own impending death to do that. “Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.” I believe that he wrote that to motivate himself to live well. (“Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.”) When he realized that life doesn’t last forever, he was motivated to use every moment purposefully. (“Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.”)
Contemplating the reality of death as a young person helps you remember that life is short, which motivates you to live like every second counts.
2: Death prompts you to share the gospel to a dying world.
It is sad to learn that 150,000 people die every day. Even more sad is the fact that many of those people do not know Christ. When they leave from this earth, they forever pass into eternal death. There is no future hope or life for them.
However, Christians know that as soon as someone accepts Christ’s gift of salvation, they pass from death to life. They look forward to the reality of eternal life after their earthly death.
When you realize that death is just as eminent for others as it is for you, it prompts you to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, so others can enjoy the gift He offers.
3: Death drives you to have an intimate relationship with God.
I’ve battled a chronic illness of some kind for almost seven years now. This has caused me to, perhaps, think about death more than the average teenager. When someone’s body and mind are crippled in some way due to illness or injury, they think of death as no longer a possibility but as a reality. This feeling can cause a person to go in one of two opposite directions—towards despair or towards Christ.
I have experience going in the first direction—hopelessness, unworthiness, and depression overwhelmed my faith, joy, and peace. After hitting an all-time low physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I finally acknowledged my insufficiency and my need for Christ. I began to pray and search His Word for answers and hope.
Slowly but surely, He overwhelmed my despair with a joy and peace that I couldn’t comprehend.
Maybe you have never faced death or never even wanted to think about it because it gives you that uncomfortable feeling of fear in the pit of your stomach. I urge you to seek Christ as you would water in a desert! Nothing else will give you lasting peace in life…or death.
The reality of death should cause you to seek an intimate relationship with the God who loved you so much that he died so you could meet face-to-face. Because Christ faced death for you, you can face death without fear!
Jim Elliot said these words before he was martyred while trying to share the gospel in South America, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Life is a vapor, but if you have been saved by grace, you can look forward to life everlasting with Christ! Live for Him, and when it comes time for you to die, you may hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”