Funerals always reveal the reality that we are mortal beings. We do not live forever, and whether it is expected or unexpected, no one is ever ready to face the aftermath of the death.
As a pastor’s wife, I have attended many funerals. Each one is different and yet has similarities. However, they all have one thing in common.
Someone has died.
Not one of us will live forever in our earthly state, and it forces us to come face to face with our immortality. The older we get the more we question and the more unsettled we become.
Alan Lightman explores the idea of humankind’s longing for immortality in his essay The Temporary Universe found in his book The Accidental Universe. In it, he admits to having no answer for every human’s desire for immortality.
I don’t know why we long so for permanence, why the fleeting nature of things so disturbs. With futility, we cling to the old wallet long after it has fallen apart. We visit and revisit the old neighborhood where we grew up, searching for the remembered grove of trees and the little fence. We clutch our old photographs. In our churches and synagogues and mosques, we pray to the everlasting and eternal. Yet, in every nook and cranny, nature screams at the top of her lungs that nothing lasts, that it is all passing away.
Lightman concludes that there is nothing we can do about our pursuit of immortality, and we have to continue to live with that reality.
However, what Lightman fails to address is that we are created beings and the Creator of our lives is the one that put this pursuit of eternity in our hearts from the beginning.
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
God’s Word tells us God is the one who put this longing for permanence in our hearts. We have a “God hole” in our hearts put there by God Himself. While we may try to fill it with all kinds of things, the only thing that will fill this longing is God through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.
Once we have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we then must learn how to live with an eternal mindset while still living in a mortal body. The question then becomes,
How Can I Live With My Mortality?
The greatest example of how to live with a dying flesh is Christ, the Son of God. He lived every day, knowing He would die. Not only did He know He was going to die, but He knew when and how.
This would freak most of us out if we knew the time and circumstances surrounding our death. But not Christ. He modeled three ways for us to live while we await our physical death here on earth.
Fellowship With The Father
Christ spent a lot of time surrounded by His disciples and the people of the cities and towns He visited. However, this did not interfere with the one-on-one time He had with His Father.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Mark 1:35
This is one of the more prominent verses in Scripture that point to Christ’s desire to meet with His Father, but there are many more. What Christ’s example encourages us to pursue our relationship with God the Father with the same fervency.
It may not mean getting up before the crack of dawn, but it might. The question is, do our heart and life reflect that time with God is more important than anything else?
Christ’s first act of living while on earth was the pursuit of spending time with God through His Word and in prayer. As we spend time with God, the next area Christ models surfaces.
Obedience To The Father
Living in light of our mortality means living in obedience to God the Father.
So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own. But just as the Father taught me, I say these things. John 8:28
For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak. John 12:49
Christ’s fellowship with the Father resulted in one thing—Obedience.
His obedience to the Father continued to fulfill and reaffirm the purpose of Christ’s life on earth.
Our lives begin to have greater and greater clarity and purpose as we spend time with the Father. When people say they don’t know what job they should take, or who they should marry, or where the should move, it is essential to remember that when we spend time with the Father, He will always guide and direct us where He is leading.
Time spent in fellowship with the Father leads to obedience, and obedience is done from a heart of love.
Love For The Father & Others
Throughout Christ’s ministry, we see His love for God, and for the world, He came to save.
On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do. John 14:31
This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. 1 John 3:16
Christ’s obedience to the Father flowed out of His love for Him. Also, His love for us spurred His continued obedience even unto death so that we might enjoy eternal life.
It is hard to be obedient if our hearts are not filled with love. This final act of Christ shows us how important it is for us to keep hearts of love as we journey and live with a dying body.
When we stop and take the time to reflect on our life, it is hard to admit we are dying — every one of us. The question then becomes, how are we going to live until then?
Don’t be afraid to take some time and fellowship with the Lord today.
Walk in obedience heartedly with love for Him and the rest of the world!