What is Your Life?
In winter you can often "see" your breath. Well, not really. But when conditions are right, you can see the moisture that is part of your breath. It only lasts a second or so and it is gone.
That's also the length of life in God's eyes, and then we expire (breathe out).
Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14
I suppose such brevity could be discouraging. It is for unbelievers. They say, 'How can we make plans for the future if life is so short and uncertain?'
The truth is, this teaching of the Bible is not intended to discourage us, just to refocus us. To begin with, Psalm 90 tells us that even if we live to be eighty years old, those days are labor and sorrow at best, for it is "soon cut off and we fly away." (Psalm 90:10) And Psalm 39:4-5 says,
Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You. Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.
Be thankful that this life is only a vapor and the future is brighter.
Why talk about the length of life at the beginning of a New Year? Shouldn't we be making plans and resolutions for all the things we plan to do? Yes, indeed we should plan and resolve to accomplish certain things. But there is a right and wrong way. Let's take a look at why we, as new creatures in Christ, need to also look at life and our plans in a new way.
We are told in the Bible to base our plans on the providence of our sovereign God. Since we don't know what will happen a day from now, "you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'" (James 4:15) Your days are in God's hands alone. His will will be done. Isn't this what we pray in the Lord's Prayer "Thy will be done"? Then we will also have to submit to it when we plan for tomorrow.
The warnings about the brevity of life should teach us about our frailty, and therefore, our need to depend on our God and Father. The truth is, that we are so weak in ourselves that without God's will we cannot so much as move your little finger, and besides, our deadly enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh assail us without ceasing. (see H.C. Q 127) Prayer for wisdom, strength, and faithfulness is a must each day.
Where are you headed? Since life is brief and in God's hands, it makes sense to use it wisely and have a goal. Life must be lived to bring God, not yourself, the glory. "For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." And again, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31)
The Apostle Paul sums it up beautifully: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). For death to be a gain and not a loss, our life must first be in Christ.
For all men, life here is a mere vapor. For Christians, this is followed by a life that is no more a vapor. In Christ, we have everlasting life in glory. Take a good look at your life — now and then. Dedicate your life in Christ faithfully to the Lord's will and service, and you will be neither surprised nor sorry that today and eternity are in God's hands.
My times are in thy hand,
My life, my friends, my soul,
My God, I wish them there;
I leave entirely to thy care.
My times are in thy hand;
Whatever thy may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
As best may seem to thee.Wm. F. Lloyd, 1824