WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? ( JAMES 4:13-14 )

GO TO NOW, YE THAT SAY, TODAY OR TOMORROW WE WILL GO INTO SUCH A CITY, AND CONTINUE THERE A YEAR. AND BUY AND SELL, AND GET GAIN: ( 14 ) WHEREAS YE KNOW NOT WHAT SHALL BE ON THE MORROW. FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR, THAT APPEARETH FOR A LITTLE TIME, AND THEN VANISHETH AWAY.

As I ponder how to teach this thought and, often little things that might pop in my mind, sometimes it might be days before I can actually begin to allow God’s spirit to unfold the things that I truly desire to write. As I consider this, I begin with how the word ( life ) is defined, especially in this particular verse. In teaching I’ve often referenced the fact that when we are born we, on that day ( become a living soul ). The world desfines that day as having life. I actually don’t have a problem with that, realuzing that it has to be defied some way. In reality. ( Life begins with Jesus Christ ). Why? Because he is life! When we are born again is when we actually receive ( life ) and, that life is eternal. Here is one verse that teaches that:

( John 5:24 )

VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, HE THAT HEARETH MY WORD, AND BELIEVETH ON HIM THAT SENT ME, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; BUT IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE.

Jesus Christ also says this:

( John 11:25 )

JESUS SAID UNTO HER, I AM THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE:

The verse we are looking into in ( James 4:14 ) says this: ( FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? If we desire to define what we have on this earth as ( life ); then James is explaining to each of us just what we actually have. One of the first things he mentions is that you can’t even say for sure you’ll be here tomorrow. Even with that uncertainty, many people cling to this life. They seek to gain more and more money or things.

As I sit here and seek to hear God’s spirit as I write, God just place a thought on my heart of a personal nature about me. I’d like to share it concerning what we might consider gain and loss in my personal walk with Christ,

Most people that we see are people that are ( of this world ). In their thought process they only see things from a physical standpoint as it might concern success or failure. Back when I was a boy, there was a man that many people actually made fun of. This man sought to preach the gospel and, he actually did for a while. However, he was a drunkard, hard drink finally got the best of him and he died because of his sinful weakness. But, what was his life? Can you see that through all his weakness he actually had a burning desire to serve Christ? It’s easy to belittle him, be critical of his failures but what have you done for Christ in your life? Have you even attempted to overcome you sinful self and attempt something for the glory of God?

I was born again in 1975. The Church I got saved in had a pastor that was sold out for Jesus Christ. He never just stood up and preached a message. His whole mindset was one of truly seeking God’s face on what to preach. As I got to know him, learn about him, I heard him say once that before he surrendered to preach he would walk the railroad tracks close to his house seeking an answer from God about what to do. Looking back now I can see why he was so hard pressed to know for sure what he was doing, and I haven’t even gotten to me yet!

The truth is, it doesn’t matter what your sinful weakness might be or, even if it’s not a weakness you have but, a weakness of someone else that destroys the true will of God for a life, isn’t it still destroyed as far as this world is concerned? What if a man has this kind of passion to walk in God’s will, to preach the gospel but, his very wife is not supportive of what and who he is? Isn’t the same destructive power still there? It doesn’t have to be his wife. It can be a simple group of people within a Church to are not willing to submit to God’s will but are far more willing to seek their own direction.

In 1980 this pastor resigned his Church. As far as I know he never pastored another one, never started another. However, ( WHAT WAS HIS LIFE )? Can you see that what was truly within this man he was never allowed to completely live out? In 1990 my family and I, also a few other families were actually voted out of this Church. I won’t go into why but, does it make us wrong because we were voted out?

The few families that were voted out were looking to me for direction. If I visited a Church, everyone of those families followed me to that Church. We visited a few but, I was truly struggling about what to do. God had called me to preach a few years before this and I was praying about starting a Church. That’s exactly what we did! Just like my former pastor I had a tremendous passion to allow God to speak through me and, not to simply allow myself to speak or say things from the pulpit.

I pastored that Church for ten years. Within those ten years we built a building and the Church grew. With all that being said, I made many mistakes. As a matter of fact; I walked somewhat the same path as my former pastor. Was it my weakness that caused me to resign? Actually, it doesn’t matter does it? However, I will say this, often a man’s life is not defined by his weakness but rather, his will. This is something we all can count on. If you are going to sell yourself out to do God’s will, to allow ( YOUR LIFE ) to be his and not your own; then Satan is going to attect you, no matter who you are! I will add that he knows your weakness, no matter what it might be.

You might ask., should men that have the ability to see their weakness even consider doing a work for Christ? To that question I would ask you ( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? The average person that will say they are born again are sitting on a Church pew on Sunday morning. They go to Sunday School, they tithe and they go home. It’s almost like a football game; the stands are full of people but there are only 22 people playing football.

Investing in the work of the Lord is never a failure. The world will look at what you’ve done and judge whether they think you were victorious or a failure. They’ll sit and talk about you behind your back, making judgmental statements. However, all the truly matters is how God the Father sees your life. Did you simply invest in you or, did you seek to place yourself in the battle for the Lord? I only point these things out because we often look at people, pastors, Sunday School teachers and we, judge them as being ( used of God ) when, in reality their whole lives has nothing to do with ( the will ) to please our Lord. This is the very point that Jesus Christ is making in this verse:

( Mark 7:6 )

HE ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO THEM. WELL HATH ESAIAS PROPHESIED OF YOU HYPOCRITES, AS IT IS WRITTEN, THIS PEOPLE HONOURETH ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEARTS IS FAR FROM ME.

This is the whole concept that James is speaking of. Like I said; you can define ( life ) as what you have if you please however, what we have, what we call ( life ) is soon going to end. This is a tremendous burden on my heart when I see what is being taught in Church and by most pastors today. Our Churches appear to be filled with people that ( honor God ) with their lips but ( their hearts ) ( their lives ) the way they actually live is miles from where God would have them be. Now, you might call that being judgmental and, I suppose it could be after I have gone to the trouble to show how often we see people not for what they really are. However, It’s truly not meant to be judgmental but with great concern.

You see, there’s some other verses we must consider. Look at this one:

( 2 Corinthians 5:17 )

THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.

Look at this one:

( Colossians 3:9-10 )

lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; ( 10 ) and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Let’s even consider this verse:

( Luke 18:21-22 )

AND HE SAID,ALL THESE HAVE I KEPT FROM MY YOUTH UP. ( 22 ) NOW WHEN JESUS HEARD THESE THINGS, HE SAID UNTO HIM, YET LACKEST THOU ONE THING: SELL ALL THAT THOU HAST, AND DISTRIBUTE UNTO THE POOR, AND THOU SHALL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN, AND COME, FOLLOW ME.

Often when I read verses that are saying what these verses are saying, I consider myself, even other people that I know come into my mind. ( WHAT IS MY LIFE )? Just how willing am I to give up all I have, give to the poor and, completely follow Jesus Christ?

I’d like to share an event that happened between my wife and I a while back. My wife is from Ohio, I’m from North Carolina. We Live in North Carolina; in the very house, on the very farm I grew up on. My wife was interested in selling out and moving back to Ohio to be a help to her family that in some cases needed us to help. What we have in North Carolina is ours with no debt. Therefore, I was apposed to selling and possibly going into debt to move to somewhere else. I actually didn’t mind moving so much but it became tense between us. I couldn’t sleep that night because it was on my mind.

The next day, around lunch I went to her and said this: Honey, if you desire to sell out and move, I’m on your team! If we are needed in Ohio then I don’t want ( things ) at any place to stop me from walking where God desire for me to walk. There are people in Ohio that need to be witnessed to just like it is in North Carolina. Therefore, when you decide to go, I’m going with you.

That’s been about two years ago, we still live in North Carolina. God’s Spirit taught me something about me during that time. I’t’s easy to say you are where God desires for you to be but, can you prove that fact? Whether it be me or, the rich young ruler, it’s not so much selling all that you have but, your willingness to do so.

I heard a pastor tell a true story once about a man, a member of his Church that owned three cotton mills in different cities. The pastor shared that this man went to each of theses cotton mills every week to check on them. These cotton mills were his life. As this man aged; one day he started to feel bad and he went to his family doctor. After examining him, his doctor told him he had cancer. The best he could offer him was about six more months.

When the man left to doctor’s office, he went straight to his pastor. This is what he said. Pastor, I have cancer, the doctor tells me I have about six months to live. You know, all my life I’ve loved my cotton mills, went to each of them each week. However, now they mean absolutely nothing to me!

In essence, we often go to Church, give what we consider to be fair in our offering. We consider ourselves to be good Christians. However, do we ever truly die to ourselves? When we read these verses, being born again is all about a transition, a transformation. It’s the act of giving up our lives and, allowing God’s Spirit to take control of what we do and who we are.

Far too often we are taught, by our Church to allow ( that Church ) to become our life. Often we have multi-million dollar Church buildings but, the members are starving to death spiritually. We have given our lives to that building! To its leadership, its pastor, its priorties! While we speak of Jesus Christ in a generic sense, his will is far from our hearts, we don’t ask him what he thinks or hear him if he speaks!

( OUR LIVES ) even the things we tie ourselves to will soon end. Let’s give a spiritual metaphor for this thought. In:

( Luke 16:23 )

AND IN HELL HE LIFT UP HIS EYES, BEING IN TORMENTS, AND SEEING ABRAHAM AFAR OFF, AND LAZARUS IN HIS BOSOM.

I’ll just give this verse to make my point but, you can read the whole account. As you read this you will see that this man was well off, he had very little time for Lazarus but basically looked after himself ( HIS WHOLE LIFE ). He also had five brothers. We see that, when he died, he went to hell. Do you suppose he had a beautiful funeral, maybe the preacher talked about how good he was, seeking to comfort his family, his brothers? Actually, all that doesn’t matter now does it, he in hell for eternity!

Now, you consider the last funeral you went to. Can you tell me for sure where the person that died ended up? We often hear about how good he was, how faithful he was to Church, his family, how good of a friend he was. That was his or her ( physical life ) but, what about their ( spiritual lives )?

The Bible says this:

( Matthew 7:13-14 )

ENTER YE IN AT THE STRAIT GATE: FOR WIDE IS THE GATE, AND BROAD IS THE WAY, THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY THERE BE WHICH GO IN THEREAT: ( 14 ) BECAUSE STRAIT IS THE GATE AND NARROW IS THE WAY, WHICH LEADETH UNTO LIFE, AND FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.

We read those verses but, almost every person that dies today, according to our pastors have found that strait gate! ( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? Have you found that strait gate? The gate that leads to life? I often say ( I’m not a judge ) but, ( that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned ) about what I see with my eyes. This is what I see. I see people falling in love with Church buildings, pastors, Sunday School teachers and, their quarterlys. I see people falling in love with different versions of God’s word but, the same people are never truly concerned about ( the truth ) in the Word Of God! I find that almost every member of our Churches today will tell you they have been saved. However, the vast majority of them only have a ( hope so ) slavation. Does that mean that they don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ , one that gives them the assurance of salvation?

I see, while many pastors might say they believe in eternal security. very few of them teach that very concept; leaving their people in ignorance of the truth. The very phrase ( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE ) cries out for an individual seeking of that truth, a personal walk with Jesus Christ.

( I BELIEVE ) and this is ( MY OPINION ). That means that you can leave what you think about what I’m about to say up to what God’s Spirit leads you to think about it. Most of our Churches today has made salvation a corperate entity meaning that salvation is more about the Church corperately and less about ( an individual walk ) with Christ. ( I believe ) we are living in the last days as it relates to scripture. Within that time frame, in scripture we see that we are headed for three main ( ones ). ( ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT ) ( ONE WORLD MONEY SYSTEM ) and ( ONE WORLD CHURCH ).

Each of those entities are being set up as we speak. My concern is ( the Church ). If you will just look back a few years there was a vast difference in our local denomination. It was very noticeable. Today, it’s not much. This was brought about because of the ( singleness ) of teaching. The average Church today requires that their pastor have at least an associate degree before they will be even considered as their pastor. I can go on about my opinion but, that’s not what I’m seeking to show you!

My desire is to get you to look at ( your life ) your ( walk with Christ ). There’s a saying that states this: ( THIS LIFE FOR YOU WILL SOON BE PASSED! ONLY WHAT YOU DO FOR CHRIST WILL LAST )! This is my whole point! When we come to the resolve that ( our lives ) that we live here is nothing and, we become willing to turn ( our lives ) over to the ( Holy Spirit of God ) and, begin to build our ( eternal lives ) is the focus of what I’m saying.

My pastor can stand, speaking at a funeral and say all kinds of good things about a person that has just passed away. All those words don’t mean a thing! He might truly make a family feel good about the love one they just lost. However, the true judgement comes only from God the Father or, I guess we should say, His Son Jesus Christ. Now is the time for you to look at ( your life ). Now’s the time for you to prepare ( your life ) to stand, not before a Church and your pastor but, before a Holy and Righteous God. I want you to look at ( your life ) and decide are you living that life for you, for your Church or pastor, for money, for fame or, for what? If you can’t say that you are living ( your life ) sold out to the best of your ability to Jesus Christ and his will then, please change your course!

I still contend that ( your life ) is never your own! The reason I say that is because it doesn’t matter what you might think, as you live ( your life ) you are either pleasing God,, by his Holy Spirit or, ( your life ) is pleasing to Satan! There is no middle ground for you to play in!

In closing; I’ll even say this. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me or not. It all boils down to how Jesus Christ sees ( your life ) as it unfolds. Judgement is in his hands, not mine and, not your Churches or your pastors.

( WHAT IS YOUR LIFE )? Only you can decide the answer to that spiritual question!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

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