Whether you’ve noticed or not … it’s been a while, haha. I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from writing for the past five months as God has led my wife and me through a new season professionally. It has been an amazing experience and in His monumental goodness, I am as fulfilled professionally today as I have ever been. Only God can do that, and only our obedience to Him can result in that.
But now I am back.
Over the course of the past five months, I have not only changed jobs professionally, but my wife and I had an opportunity to take a month to travel together. Beyond the delight of visiting new places the time she and I had together was beyond our wildest expectations. We realized during that time that over the course of 27 years of marriage, we never had a season where we were together 24 / 7 for an entire month. It was as joyous as it was adventurous. We’ve always loved adventure (or at least our flavor of it), and this seemed to kick into another gear our love for it.
And yet, life always continues as usual, doesn’t it? I’ve been reminded a few times over the past week or so about the finite nature of life, unfortunately as a result of the passing of a couple friends I’ve known for quite a long time. The same was true during the month that we were traveling, during the months since then, and of course during all the time before that. I think it’s why the bible teaches us in Psalms 90:12 …
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
Some may internalize that verse as depressing or bleak in light of it pointing to the short time we walk on planet earth. Rather, I see it as empowering and encouraging. It’s a bit like a quote from one of my top-five favorite movies, Braveheart. If you know me very well, you know that if Braveheart is ever on tv, I basically stop and watch. The fact that I’ve probably done so over 100 times has nothing to do with it.
Near the end of the movie, during which the protagonist, William Wallace dedicates and ultimately sacrifices his life to try to achieve the independence and freedom of his native Scotland, he is finally captured and doomed to execution by the king of England. The king’s daughter-in-law, who falls in love with Wallace during the story, visits Wallace while he is in the dungeon being held pending his execution and attempts to convince him to proclaim loyalty to the king to avoid the harshness of the torture Wallace will undergo, and maybe even to preserve his life. During the scene, she unsuccessfully pleads with Wallace, who concludes that turning away from his calling in life might result in keeping his life, but not a life worth living … and which would denigrate a life that while finite, was full. The capstone quote says it all, “Every man dies. But not every man really lives.”
Viewing that quote considering the admonition God gives us in His word, particularly in Pslams 90:12, amplifies what I believe to be a crucial perspective.
At the risk of sounding morbid, each time I hear about a friend or family member passing (especially those that are relatively young), it’s a bit of a shock to the system. I guess I can sometimes forget the inevitability of death for all of us. Every single one of us has a last moment here on earth. The “brevity of life” applies to each one of us. As Wallace said, “every man dies.”
But does every man … do you and I, specifically … “really live?” What does that even mean?
It means living for God. It means living on purpose. For a purpose. For more than just to survive but to thrive. The bible teaches us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14), that God has a plan and purpose for our lives and that it’s a good plan (Jeremiah 29:11), and that when we align our hearts to His as it relates to those plans, He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4). So, to “really live” means to live in alignment with His definition of really living.
I’m convinced so many of us are proceeding through life seeking what is within arm’s reach but being fully unaware. We’re blinded by the lies of Satan and the lies of society and what they tell us life should be about. Neither of which fulfill in any meaningful, lasting way, and both of which leave us nothing but dead when we, like every man, die. When we breathe our last someday, will we be able to say we really lived?
Of course, no pursuit in life will allow us to “really live” if we don’t know Jesus, and if we don’t accept His free gift of salvation, won by His death on the cross, and eternally secured by His conquering of death the third day after. We can “really live” even after we die, but only through Jesus. He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me,” and in John 10:10, “my purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” In John 6:37, He promises, “those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.”
In some of his final words, William Wallace referred to really living as pursuing the calling of God on his life, even to the point of death. On this side of heaven, that is really living for you and me, too. We “really live” when we live for God. Tragically, “not every” person does. You and I can only choose for ourselves. Let’s pray that God will speak to each of us and clearly delineate what it means … in His view … to “realize the brevity of life,” and then let’s ask for Him to grow us in wisdom so we can really live by vigorously pursuing what He intends for us to do.
Soli Deo gloria!