Something happened this week that made me stop and think. It happens every day to hundreds of others, but this time it felt very personal because it happened to a close friend of mine. He was on a volunteer project with some other men when he had a serious heart attack. His friends rushed him to the emergency room. But shortly after arriving, his heart stopped. When he got home, he told me, “If the ER people had not used a heart defibrillator to bring me back, I would have died.”
Not often, but occasionally, something happens along my rather comfortable life-journey that causes me to pause and think. “What would happen if I died today?” After all, death is coming to visit each of us soon. We just don’t know when soon will be.
Think about my heart-attack-buddy. He had never been in a hospital before. Never had been seriously sick. Figured death wouldn’t visit him for years to come. Then, without any warning, death knocked at his door. The good news is he was ready. If death had taken his physical life, he was ready for the second part of his eternal journey.
This emotional experience brought back an important fact that I’ve known throughout my adult life. Not everyone is ready for that inevitable meeting with death. And most people don’t have anyone to tell them how to get ready. We all think about death occasionally. But it seems like most of us figure that big day is far out in the future.
I was once asked to visit a highly respected man in our community who was in the hospital. When I called on him, he explained why he asked me to come see him. He told me he had been successful in business because he knew what to do and how to get the job done. But that week, his doctor told him he only had a few weeks to live. His trembling lips and red face told me he was scared to death. He never expected to die so soon. He hadn’t given God or death much thought before. So, now in shock and desperation he asked, “What can I do to get ready to meet God? I don’t have a clue. Can you help me.”
I sat down by his hospital bed and told him, “Yes, I can help you, just like someone years ago helped me know how to pass from this life to the next and be ready to meet God.”
Do you know how to be ready?
Something may have happened in your life in recent days that has caused you too to pause and ask, “Am I ready to face death, face eternity, face God?” Do you know how to be ready? Here’s what God says in his book, the Bible.
Remember this, God says he created you to be his child. He loves you and wants to communicate with you and have you with him for eternity. He’s for you, not against you. No matter what wrong you may have done in your past, he is ready to help you. He has made it possible for you to be totally forgiven and given eternal life with him.
You and I cannot understand God or how he operates. But He is the creator of everything, can do anything, and wants the best for everyone. Sometimes, all that just does make sense to us. For example, we can’t understand how he did it, but he came to earth himself as a man. He was named Jesus, which means, the one who saves or sets free. Jesus was God in flesh. He suffered and died to take our sins on himself. He then rose from the dead and came alive to live in Spirit so He could live in you. When his Spirit comes into your life, you never die. You pass from your physical life to your spiritual life without fear.
So, how can you get the Spirit of Jesus, the living God, to come into your life? His word says you cannot earn it, buy it, or do enough to deserve it. It has you simply ask him sincerely, with all your heart and he answers. That is, you pray to him. But what would you say to him? Here are the kinds of things I said to him when I asked Jesus into my life. If you want him in your life. If you want to be ready to face death and eternity, you can say something similar, and he will enter your life and give you eternal life beginning right now.
“Dear God, I know if I died today, I’m not ready. I’m afraid. I know one day I’m going to face you and will give an account of my life to you directly. I admit I have not tried to get to know you. I’ve been busy living for myself as if I would live forever here on earth. I’ve never understood you, so I just tried to ignore you. But the truth is, I know I have done things I am sorry about and am not ready to die. I want that to change. I want to do what you want. I want to start over right now. You’re too great for me to understand you, but I do understand that I need you and want to turn away from self-centered life, my past faults, and give you all of my life. I’m ready to follow you and do whatever you want me to do.
“Thank you for coming to earth in Jesus. Thank you for dying in my place so that I don’t have to pay the penalty for my sins. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness. But I’ve been told that your word says you will come into my life and save me if I ask you with all my heart. So. Lord, I’m asking you right now to forgive me and clean me up from the inside out. I’m trusting you, not my understanding or my goodness.
“Jesus, I humbly ask you to come into my heart and life. I’m starting over and totally depending on you. I’m putting my faith in you, that is, I am depending on you to keep your promise to save me right now and for eternity. Come into my life Lord Jesus. Your Bible says, “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” That’s my hope for eternity—having you, the Spirit of the living Christ Jesus, come to live inside me. I thank you with all my heart. Amen.”
Where do you go from here?
In talking about finding God’s will for your life, his word says, “Ask and you will receive.” Notice, his word says, “Ask and you WILL receive.” It doesn’t say, You MIGHT receive. God always keeps his word. He never lies. You asked for him to come into your life. So, thank God for keeping his promise. The Spirit of Jesus now lives in you. Since he does, you are now ready to meet death anytime and ready to handle anything life throws at you with Jesus’ help. To strengthen you as you live your new life in him, practice these four important faith-builders.
- Find other followers of Christ and meet weekly with them for mutual strength.
- Read God’s Word daily. Learn the truth about life and death.
- Talk to Jesus throughout every day. Talk to him about everything.
- Show your Lord how grateful you are for his gift by helping others.