We took the train to Oregon for Christmas, which proved to be a good choice since more than a foot of snow came down here just before we returned. The roads would have been quite treacherous the day we returned. So, praise the Lord for the long train ride (turned out to be 14 hours). We have done lots of snow removal since we got back but it is a beautiful winter wonderland!
While in Oregon, we and our family got to attend a very entertaining movie called Jumanji, in which four high school students get detention. Their task is cleaning up a basement room in the school, but while there they discover an old video game which they try out and get “sucked” into the game, ending up in a jungle where they have to work as a team in order to escape and get back home. One of the students ends up—before he realizes it—quoting the principal who while lecturing them said (in paraphrase), “You have only one life to live. How are you going to live it? Who are you going to be? The choice is yours.”
His statement is a good one for us to consider as we enter this new year, for he was right on. We do have but one life to live. We won’t get a do-over or another chance. We have right now to determine not only where we will spend eternity, but also how we will live our life here. First of all, we have a choice regarding the Person of Jesus Christ and what we will do about Him and His invitation to believe on Him and His work at Calvary to gain eternal life. We can either, by faith receive Him as our personal Savior, or we can attempt to live a good enough life to make it to heaven. Unfortunately for those who are trying that, they will one day hear, “I never knew you, depart from me” (Mt. 7:23). Eternal life is a gift (Jn. 3:16; Ro. 6:23), not something deserved or to be earned. We simply receive gifts; we don’t work for them (Eph. 2:8,9; Gal. 2:16).
Second, if we have already made the choice for Christ, we still must choose, daily, moment-by-moment, what we are going to do with the rest of our life here on earth. We can choose who and what we are going to be. We can ignore the Word of God and the convicting of the indwelling Holy Spirit and just live for self and what we can “get out of life,” or, we can submit to God, resist the devil and offer our life a living sacrifice to the One who made us and paid the penalty for our sins. Note the Apostle Paul’s challenge to the believers at Rome: “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Ro. 12:1,2). Paul gave a similar challenge to the Corinthian believers, writing: “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor. 5:14,15).
When we consider what Christ has done for us and means to us, our response should be to live our life fully committed to Him, to love Him, obey His Word, and build up His Kingdom through sharing His love with others and showing them how they too can receive eternal and abundant life in Him. As an old chorus goes: “After all He’s done for me, after all He’s done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely.” Amen to that! Or, as a poet once put it: “Only one life ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
So, as we start a fresh new year, learning from, but “forgetting what lies behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (let’s) press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13,14).
We have but one life to offer. Let’s start this year by renewing our commitment to living it wholly for our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father…Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord…It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:17, 23,24).
Have a joyous New Year. Maybe this will be the year of His return. “Even so come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).