Sneak Peek/First Listen: Take Back Your Life
The following is a Bible Gateway exclusive Sneak Peek and First Listen of Take Back Your Life: A 40-Day Interactive Journey to Thinking Right So You Can Live Right (Thomas Nelson, 2020) by Levi Lusko (@levilusko). Order the book and unabridged audiobook on CD.
By Levi Lusko
Jesus Turns Off the Dark
You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. – James 4:14
You might be surprised to know that the origin of the word deadline actually has something to do with real dying. In the early 1900s, it was a physical line painted on the ground around the inside of a prison, measured out 20 feet from the walls. If prisoners crossed this line, they would be shot on the spot. It was literally a line of death.
But really, that’s how life is. At a certain point we cross a line, and it’s all over. But none of us knows where that deadline is. It’s invisible. Sand keeps falling from our hourglasses, but there is no way to know how much we started with or how much we have left. We may have an appointment with death, but it’s not on our Google calendars.
Life really is like a vapor. This is true for us, those we love, and those we are meant to impact. We must live each day all the way to the hilt, because each day could be our final one here. Death could show up at any time, and it often doesn’t call ahead.
Before Lenya [my second-born daughter] went to be with Jesus, when I thought of death, I would focus more on leaving earth than on going to heaven. But what I have become aware of is that death is not just a departure; it is also an arrival. I used to fatalistically think about my exit, but now, more than ever, I am focused on my entrance.
Life here on earth is not all there is. There is a hereafter. When we leave this world, we get to go home. And the way we live here has a direct impact on what we experience when we arrive there.
I began this journey telling you that you are destined for impact. There is greatness inside of you. Unlimited potential. A holy calling on your life that would make you tremble if you could fully understand. But then we discovered that there is a price you will have to pay to activate your calling, and the devil will do anything he can to keep you from hitting your full stride.
I want to add to this a vital word of warning: potential is perishable.
Potential has a short shelf life, an expiration date that is approaching. Your calling isn’t a Twinkie®. Like milk or produce, it won’t keep forever. It can spoil and go bad. These works God wants to do in your life? If you don’t seize them, they can pass you by. You have a limited amount of time to act on the plans God has for your life before they are out of reach.
This is a timed test. There is a deadline. God is going to say, “Pencils down.” And anything you don’t tap into by the time this life ends shall remain undone forever.
This is why Jesus said in John 9:4, “I must work . . . while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”
There are things you can do on earth that will be impossible one minute after you die. Bringing comfort to the discouraged. Feeding the hungry. Sharing the gospel. These are all things that will be impossible to do in heaven, but they can be done right now.
My daughter’s life ended the night before the world was supposedly going to end. There was all that hoopla about the Mayan calendar and how December 21, 2012, would be the earth’s last day. But they were wrong. The world is still spinning, but Lenya is not on it anymore. People talk a lot about the end of the world, but the end of your life might come first.
What this means is that time is limited, and so the devil will do anything he can to keep you from sensing the urgency that will mark your life if you wake up each day knowing it could be your last. He won’t try to talk you out of doing the things you are intended to; he’ll simply tell you to put them off.
One of his biggest lies is “You can do it tomorrow.” He knows what you need to know: there might not be a tomorrow. Today could be your one and only chance to be kind to that stranger, tell your kids about Jesus, or invite that person to church. You need to carpe the heck out of this diem!
Make no mistake: God will accomplish all he wants to do. The question is this: Will you let him do it through you? If we won’t stand up and do what God has planned for us, he will bless the person down the block or the church around the corner with the opportunity. Whenever his still, small voice calls us to do something, it’s as though we are given the right of first refusal. Let’s not say no. Let’s give all we have to each other with the time we have left.
A thousand years from now, we won’t be able to change what we did in our lifetimes, but if we do it right, we will be enjoying the fruits from it. To quote the words of Maximus Decimus Meridius from Gladiator (quite possibly the best movie ever made), “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” I pray that no matter what life throws your way that you would honor God, give him space to move in your life, and serve him with all your heart until you stand before him face-to-face.
The above is a Bible Gateway exclusive Sneak Peek and First Listen of Take Back Your Life: A 40-Day Interactive Journey to Thinking Right So You Can Live Right (Thomas Nelson, 2020) by Levi Lusko (@levilusko). Order the book and unabridged audiobook on CD.
Take Back Your Life is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
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May 14, 2021