by Shaun Caudill
There are times when we are so fearful of dying that we forget to live! Life is such a beautiful gift, but we must remember that a long life is not the goal in and of itself–but a life well-lived by faith to the glory of God. The Bible also tells us that there are some things worth dying for in order to find life. Jesus’ own words in Luke confirm this, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Paul was prepared to die, but that doesn’t mean he was recklessly seeking after danger. There were times when his mission meant he wisely escaped threats to his life, just like it is wise for us to avoid unnecessary danger during this pandemic. After having received salvation on the road to Damascus by placing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul had been given a ministry to proclaim this same message to others. For years, he had been faithful in this endeavor and then in Acts 21, as Paul and those accompanying him arrived in Caesarea, a prophet came to reveal to him that if he went to Jerusalem, he would be bound and turned over to the Gentiles. It would seem from this warning that suffering and possibly death was implied. You would expect for Paul to receive the warning with gratitude and make plans to travel away from the danger, but that is not what Paul did. God had already revealed to Paul (Acts 20) that in Jerusalem he would experience affliction and possibly worse, yet Paul stated, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul was confident in what the Lord had revealed to him and wanted nothing more than to please God.
The Bible makes this clear when Paul states, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) Are you living a life that is pleasing to the Lord in all areas? Do you need to stop today and repent of attitudes, actions, or thoughts that are in rebellion to God? Are there things God has called you to be obedient about but you have resisted out of fear? Is there someone that God has placed on your heart to share the Gospel with, but you have been too scared? The Bible encourages us to seek after God and be about living a life that is pleasing to Him. Remember, it’s never too late to start living!