What is a lifetime? For some it is only a few years. For others it is nearly 115 years. Yet, for most of us a lifetime is somewhere in between. But, the most interesting thing about our lifetime is that most of us will never know when our lifetime will be up, until it actually is. However, people live each day as if there is no end in sight, but in reality we should be living our lives as if the end is the very next moment or the very next day. If we lived our lives that way, we would focus on the most important things in our lives rather than on focusing just on the “feel good” moments or on our determination to have fun and acquire as many things as we can before we die.
So, what are the important things in life? Well, the most important thing in life is to find God and His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Savior, so that you can go through this life with love, peace, and joy. Once you have accepted Christ as your Savior, then you can focus on sharing that love, peace, and joy with those that are near and dear to you. Certainly, we want our loved ones, i.e. our husbands, parents and relatives to experience the same love, peace and joy that we have received through Christ and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. We also want to be good parents and be able to raise our children to grow up to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted individuals who also know Christ as their Savior. Then, in addition to living our lives for the Lord, we should branch out and share Christ with our friends and acquaintances, as we intermingle with other people and share God’s love, morals, values, ethics, and wisdom. All these things should become a part of who we are as authentic Christians representing Christ to the rest of the world. Christ said it best, when He answered one of the Pharisees who had asked Him what the greatest commandment in the Law was. Jesus said to Him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” -- (Matthew 22: 35-39. NASB). Obviously, these are the most important things in life.
What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves?
In “loving our neighbor as ourselves” we have to want our neighbor (i.e. anyone with whom we come into contact) to know Christ and to experience the gift of Salvation, so we are to work diligently in sharing the Good News with others. But, there are other things that we can do for our neighbors, (A neighbor does not have to be someone who lives next door to us. It can be any acquaintance, friend, or in some cases even a stranger that needs our help.) and the kingdom of God besides or after sharing the Gospel message. That is because if we truly love others as we love ourselves, we should be able to see that even though a person may already know Christ as their Savior, they may still need help, instruction, compassion, or care within some area of their life. This is when Active Relational Christian Mentoring can become a great way of loving others as ourselves and of serving both God and others.
As people and certainly as authentic Christians, we have been given a set amount of time to help other people and to help those who are perhaps destined for hell because no one has yet told them about the free gift of Salvation. That set amount of time is our lifetime. We just do not know the amount of time that we have in our lifetime to help others, because most of us do not know when our lifetime will be over. We could die today or tomorrow. That is why we need to serve the Lord and to lovingly serve others during our own personal journey within our lifetime. We also should want to help people during our lifetime no matter how long or short that lifetime turns out to be. In fact, we have each been given gifts to use to help, encourage, and empower other people during our life journey. As authentic Christians we need to focus on these personal gifts and then share our gifting to help others so that the entire kingdom of not God is not only enlarged but benefits from the the brotherhood of love and support that is to be given to fellow Christians.
The Apostle Paul tells us about our gifting and our responsibility to the kingdom of God in Ephesians 4: 7-16. Paul said, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
‘When He ascended on high, He took many captives and gave gifts to His people.’
(What does ‘He ascended’ mean except that He also descended to the lower earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
So, Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – (NIV).
Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter have gone on to list various types of spiritual gifts that we can be given by the Holy Spirit once we have accepted Christ as our Savior. These spiritual gifts are in addition to the natural gifting that God has given us through our DNA and natural talents. You can find various lists of these spiritual gifts in Romans 12: 6-8, I Corinthians 12: 7-30, Ephesians 4:11, and in I Peter 4: 10-11. However, these may not be the only spiritual gifts that we can receive as no two of these lists are identical, leading one to believe that each list is not exhaustive. However, no matter the type of spiritual gifts we personally receive, we can be assured that Christ wants us to use these spiritual gifts to serve others. We are to instruct, encourage, equip, edify, and empower other women to be all they can for Christ, their family, and for themselves so that they may in the process not only help others but glorify God. Among other services and ministries that can utilize our gifting, we can serve the kingdom of God through the service of Active Relational Christian Mentoring.
God gave us these gifts so that we would have a special type of power. It is called “people power” and this power is to be passed forward through every individual who in turn helps and empowers someone else. For, it is through our relationships with other people that we have been given not only the power to share the Gospel message but the power to help others in many different ways. In other words, we are to help other people through the sharing of the glorious truth of Christ and the truth of God’s Word. For, we have all been given the grace to do so as it says in Ephesians 4: 7. “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” – (NIV). This grace and subsequent “people power” is part of God’s plan to build up the body of Christ. For, we all have a specific purpose given to us through Christ’s grace which is used for “…the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament, (as it) grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”— (Ephesians 4: 16. NIV).
Because of this gifting, everyone has been given a job to do within the kingdom of God. To put it another way, none of us are to sit on the sidelines waiting for our turn. Instead, we are to engage in service for the Lord on a daily basis whether it is bearing another’s burdens, teaching, encouraging, helping, sharing, caring, or loving those who are hurting or who need support. We are to pray for each other and at times we are to not only weep with each other, but laugh with each other as well. Most of all we are to be there for each other and are to challenge each other to turn from sin and not fall for the ways and deceptions of the secular world. But we only have a lifetime to help our Christian family and to share the Gospel with those yet to know Christ as their Savior.
The Reverend Billy Graham said, “The lukewarm Christian can accomplish nothing with a whole life in which to do it. If you have lived for sin and self… your witness will have [a] telling effect on all who have known you.” -- (p. 139 Billy Graham in Quotes). Are you a lukewarm Christian? Or, have you let your authentic Christ-light shine through your loving relationships with others and through your service to the kingdom of God?
At what point do you engage in your service for the Lord? Is it when you think that your life is nearly over? Is it when you think that you will now have more time? Perhaps you have told yourself that you will engage in Christian service when you get your children raised. Remember, though, that there is always a reason not to engage in Christian and Kingdom Service. But the reasons not to serve the Lord and others are a dime a dozen. It is only when we step forward to help others and share the Gospel message that we have truly added value to our lives. We will get to see that value when Christ returns and gives us our rewards for working for the kingdom of God. Our failure to serve Christ and others will be embarrassing when Christ returns and we stand before Him with nothing to show for our lifetime of living. Just as importantly, we will have missed out on the rewards and crowns that Christ has awaiting authentic Christians who live for Him and who have followed the commandments to love the LORD and others.
What will you tell Christ when He returns?
In Revelation 22: 20 Jesus said, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” – (NASB). Although we do not know what day or hour that Jesus Christ will return, this verse and several other verses tell us that we should live as if Christ will return at any moment. Verses like the verse in Revelation 22: 12 which says, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” – (NASB), and the verse in Luke 21: 36 which says, “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things (i.e. nations rising against nations, earthquakes, famines, plagues, terrors and great signs from heaven) that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” all tell us that we are to watch faithfully with hope and joy in our hearts for Christ’s return. In fact, Christ said several times that we are to diligently watch for His return and be ready, because we do not know the hour or day that He will return. If we do not know the hour or day that Christ will return, and we just continue putting off until tomorrow what we could be doing today for the Lord and others, we may suddenly be very surprised and shocked. For, Christ could return at any moment and certainly before we actually take up our cross to serve Him and others. Then the lifetime given to us to live and work for Him will have been wasted and no rewards will be received on that day.
Being aware that Christ could return at any minute should keep us spiritually alert and focused on serving others and the kingdom of God. Because we do not know when Christ will return, we should be focused on living productively for the kingdom of God. By living productively, I mean that we are to live in obedience to God’s Word and be determined to obey and serve Him. Part of that obedience for Christians is to step forward and both work at telling others of Christ’s gift of Salvation, i.e. the Good News, and work at helping those who need our help with wisdom, instruction, love, care, compassion, etc. If we are doing those things through our servanthood for the kingdom of God, then we will be ready no matter when our lifetime is over or ready at all times for the moment when Christ returns. For, Christ may return at any moment.
What a glorious gift Christ and His Father have offered to the world! The gift of Salvation through the blood of Christ on the cross, which will take away the unrighteousness and the sins of all who will believe on Christ and ask for His forgiveness as they repent of their sins and ask Christ to come into their heart. Those who ask Christ to come into their heart, and in repentance ask Christ to cleanse them from their sins, will be saved from eternal death and damnation. In other words, we who have believed on Christ as the Son of the Living God will one day get to spend eternity with God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Have you ever thought about the fact that Christ could have decided to immediately take home to heaven anyone who accepted His offer of Salvation? But that was not His plan. So, why did Jesus leave authentic Christians here on earth after we are “saved”? Why do we not immediately go to heaven once we are saved? Well, the answer is simple. We all still have work to do for the Lord and the Kingdom of God. But what kind of work do we have to do?
To answer that question, I like the words of the Reverend Billy Graham. First he said, “Be a good witness by the way you live. The way we live is often more convincing than the words we say.” Then, The Reverend Graham went on to say, “We witness in two ways: by life and by word. … God’s purpose … after we have been converted is that we be witnesses to His saving grace and power. We are to be commandoes for Christ. We are to be minute-men for Him.” -- (p. 138. Billy Graham in Quotes). I would add that part of being “commandoes for Christ” is to be active relational mentors in our day-to-day life by using God’s Word, i.e. the Bible. We can use the Bible in both sharing the Gospel message and in our mentoring and help of others.
Service Work During Our Lifetime
The first kind of work or service that every authentic Christian is to do for Christ is to tell others about the atoning death of Jesus Christ and the love that God had for us in sending His Son to die for our sins. For, although Christ arose and conquered eternal death and is now back in heaven with His Father, He still had to face torture and a horrendous death on the cross. We cannot even imagine the depth of love for us that it took for God to allow His Son to die such a cruel death for us.
The next part of our “commando” life is to testify about the change in our lives that has occurred with our Salvation. In other words, we are to tell others about how our “re-birth” has given us a new life of love, peace, and security in knowing where we will go when we leave this earth. We are to testify through our words and through our deeds, as we become living examples of what Christ has done in our lives. For, as long as their remains one person on earth who hasn’t heard the Good News, Christians have work to do. Furthermore, one of the most powerful testimonies of what Christ can do for another person is through our personal testimony and story of what Christ has done for us. What is your story or testimony? If you are uncertain how or what you would tell someone else about your life and your “re-birth” into a new person, sit down with paper and pen and write it out first. Then tell or read your story to someone in your family, so you can practice on giving your testimony. Be sure to write about the peace, love, and security that has entered your life since you gave your life to Christ, for that should be a part of every Christian’s testimony.
Our lives may not be perfect, because we live in a fallen world where sinfulness and decadence abounds along with tragedies and pain. So, our story may have ups and downs, which are fairly normal for living in this world. But, it is a matter of how we handle those ups and downs and Who we trust in that will tell others how God and our Salvation has made life worth living. Moreover, with Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the knowledge, security and assurance of knowing that God will bring us through any trial or tribulation this world throws at us with His grace and our subsequent greater spiritual growth.
God will never forsake us, and He will bless His children, i.e., those who have accepted Christ into their heart and then throughout their “Saved” lives have lived trusting in Him with faith and obedience. Living for Christ and knowing that we are loved and watched over brings such peace and joy as well as immense security and assurance for the fact that we will someday either see Christ when our lifetime is over and we go home to eternity in heaven, or when Christ returns to take us home, if He returns before we die. Through our Salvation, we have such peace and security in knowing that we will be taken care of and loved, while there is a sadness for those who have rejected Him and will spend an eternity in hell.
If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we do not want anyone to spend eternity in hell simply because we failed to tell them about Christ and the Gospel message. Obviously, only each individual can make a decision for or against Christ, but it is our responsibility to see that they get the facts in order to make a decision one way or the other. That is why we must always find ways to witness to those less fortunate than we. It is also why we must develop godly relationships with others so that we can share our life story and mentor them, if needed.
As authentic Christians we are part of the body of Christ. This means that every Christian has a job to do within their lifetime. In other words, we do not have the right to simply be spectators or to sit back and think that other people can do the work while we bask in our assurance of eternity. Just like the Apostle Paul told the Ephesians, “the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” -- (Ephesians 4: 16. NIV). So, then, each authentic Christian has a work to do. This means that every authentic Christian has a job to do for the Lord and for the entire family of Christ’s. By engaging in the service of Active Relational Christian Mentoring, we can cry or laugh together, as we bear each other’s burdens. Through active relational mentoring we can encourage one another as well as challenge and help each other to stay focused on living for Christ. We can also pray for each other and support each other when the world throws stones at us. Supporting each other through thick and thin gets us out of the spectator box and onto the field as a participant in the journey of our lifetime in living for Christ.
How would you answer Christ if He returned this very minute? Would you be able to tell Him that you have done everything that you could to participate in your lifetime journey of living for Him? Or would you have to tell Christ that you let the world entice you to give up the truth of the Bible and live as the non-Christians live? Do you have the idea that we are just to live and let others live without standing up for the truth of God’s Word? If so, have you given up your rights as citizens and calmly accepted the new liberal views of the Bible and the liberals’ new truth, which is not God’s Truth? Would you be able to tell Christ that you helped others grow closer to Him or would you have to admit that you just left other people alone to flounder and fall away for lack of faith or knowledge of Christ? Whose fault is it that many lukewarm Christians have reverted to non-Christian theologies? Could it be our fault, because we have failed to teach and mentor our family, children, friends, and acquaintances?
Obviously, all authentic Christians will be able to tell Christ that they have tried to do their very best to live for Him and have tried to be a working part of the body of Christ. Authentic Christians know that they are not islands in and of themselves. Rather, we are to be interconnected and we are to be there for each other as well as to help others find their path or their way in Truth. We can do that with many of the different services that we can perform for the body of Christ including Active Relational Christian Mentoring, which is also a great way to reach and help others as we serve the Lord with all our heart and as we await the return of Christ.
I believe in you. I believe that You can do it! You can step up to the plate and engage in a lifetime of work for the Lord as you work to help others either come to know Christ as their Savior or help others grow closer to the Lord. Either way, you can be a strong “supporting ligament that grows and builds itself up in love”.
If you are reading this blog and you have not yet asked Christ to come into your heart, it is a very simple thing to do. First you must understand that we all are sinners. In fact, the Bible tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -- (Romans 3:23). Moreover, there is a price to pay for the sins that we have committed. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” -- (Romans 6:23). That death is the second death. After this first earthly death, the second death is the eternal death for those who have not repented of their sins and have not asked for Christ’s forgiveness, i.e. the eternal death of hell. However, we do not have to experience the second death, if we believe on Christ and repent of our sins. For, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” – (John 3: 3). So, all you have to do is believe in your heart that Christ is the Son of the only living God and that He was sent by His Father to die on the cross for your sins. Then you also need to believe that Christ indeed arose from the grave conquering the eternal death of hell for those who will believe on Him, and that He is alive and now sitting at the right hand of His Father back in heaven. If you believe in your heart that Christ died and arose for your sins, then you must tell someone that you believe on Christ and have accepted His free gift of eternal life, for then you will be “Saved”. You will be “born-again” into a new spiritual person who can grow ever closer to God through the Son, Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.’” -- (Romans 10: 9-11. NASB).
Christ tells us that He knocks on the hearts of people asking them to come to Him. Indeed, Christ said, “Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with Me.” -- (Revelation 3:20).
Has Christ been knocking on the door of your heart? Has that still small voice been urging you to make a decision for Christ. If Christ has been knocking on your heart, ask Him to come in. Your life will explode with peace and joy as well as security and the assurance that you will enter into a heavenly eternity with Him when your lifetime on this earth is over. Please don’t wait to answer the door, because you do not know when your lifetime will be over, and once you die it is then too late to open the door to Christ. Moreover, by not answering the door you have essentially made a decision to enter into the second death of hell. I hope that isn’t your choice and that you will decide to open the door to Christ. If you do, you will never regret it. Remember that “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be Saved.” -- (Romans 10:13)