Are you ready to succeed spiritually and eternally? I’m talking about the most important effort of life because nothing is more valuable than one’s soul. (Mark 8:36-37) The soul is who we are and exists beyond this world into the life to come. (1 Cor. 15:51-54) By God’s grace each person’s fate rests in his own hands. (Acts 2:40)
Think about the ways in which we use “ready” – “are you ready to go”, “are you ready for the test” and “are you ready for the job”? Being ready to go may entail cleaning up, dressing suitably and leaving on time. You ready yourself for a test by going to class, paying attention and studying the material before the exam. A person gets ready for the job by learning how to do the work. All of this implies the need for personal preparation and resolve, and it precedes success.
If you have ever not been ready for an important event you know how anxious you can feel. There’s not much you can do about it, because you have wasted the opportunity to prepare. What’s the best choice once in this position, don’t show up or go and hope you get lucky? It’s not a comfortable place to be.
Life teaches us that we can’t put off or avoid some events. (Rom. 2:3) Whether we are ready or not it’s going to take place, so it is best to prepare. The question we need to answer is “how does one go about readying himself for spiritual and eternal success?”
The first step is to examine your heart and decide just how important God is to you. (2 Cor. 13:5) Lip service is not enough, and even zeal and enthusiasm may fall short of a good heart. Preparing yourself for success begins by loving and respecting the One who created you. (Heb. 12:28)
Sadly, many love a god but not The God of the Bible. To ready yourself spiritually and eternally you must learn the truth about God’s nature and what He wants from you. (Acts 17:22-23) While people suggest various views about religion and faith, the truth comes from only one source. Compare what others say and your own faith against the standard of Scriptures. (Acts 17:11)
If you have ever begun a task without knowing what you were getting into you probably understand my next point. It’s always better to know the cost before beginning a pursuit. Kids go out for football every fall because their brothers did before them or their friends are going to play. It all looks like fun, they’ve heard the stories of glory and honor, but they don’t really know what they are getting into. The first day of practice has little “football” and at the end they run and run and run and run. They think to themselves, “What have I gotten myself into?” They quit because the cost was too high.
Salvation comes at a high price and everyone needs to understand this point before beginning the journey. (Luke 14:26-33) Consider the price God paid to forgive our sins. He sent His Son to die for our offenses. (Rom. 4:25) Jesus willingly left heaven and lived in the form of man, enduring all the hardships and trials we do. (Phil 2:5-11) He then offered Himself on the cross to save us.
Christians sacrifice themselves in godly living. (Rom. 12:1-2) We endure persecution for the cause of Christ and our faith. (1 Peter 3:14-17) We learn to control worldly lusts and walk in the path of Divine guidance. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) In short we do what God wants us to do. Our lives belong to Him and not to us. (Phil. 1:19-21)
Don’t forget to count the cost of a long journey. (Heb. 10:23) It is a whole lot cheaper and easier to travel five miles than it is to go five thousand miles. In the same manner, it’s easy to remain faithful for a day or two, but much more difficult over a lifetime. You must be ready for the long haul spiritually.
You need to allow for the unforeseen and possible glitches that can occur in any effort. (Matt. 25:1-13) When everything is going well and as planned it’s easier to know what to expect, but that is not life. No one has a routine life for long and if you are not ready for the unexpected it can derail your faith.
Are you ready to face the great antagonist, a force whose sole purpose is to keep you from your intended goal? Satan wants nothing more than to entice you away from God. (1 Peter 5:8) He will not give up his pursuit as long as you live.
Christians are not in the battle alone, but they must be ready and willing to accept help. God is our source of strength and protection from the beginning to the end. (Phil. 4:13) He will never leave us or abandon us, and the devil has no answer against Divine power. (Heb. 13:5)
If you add up the total cost of faith and compare it to the value of salvation you will find it’s worth any price. So we end with the original question, are you ready to succeed spiritually and eternally? Are you ready to face Jesus on judgment day?
By Terry Starling