Summary: James describes for us the kind of attitude that Christians should have about their life. The basis of our attitude, that I believe James describes, is that Christians are people who know that they have one life to live and it counts how you live it.
8 RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIAN LIFE:
ONE LIFE TO LIVE
INTRODUCTION… How Long Things Last, Frank Kendig and Richard Hutton, 1979
· Experts estimate that if a normal cassette tape is played about 100 times a year, sound quality will deteriorate somewhat after about 10 years. But the tape itself will play on.
· A lightening bolt lasts 45 to 55 microseconds.
· The average running shoe worn by the average runner on an average surface will last 350 to 500 miles.
· A hard pencil can write up to 30,000 words or draw a line more than 30 miles long. Most ball-point pens will draw a line 4,000 to 7,500 feet long.
· Leather combat boots have a wartime life span of six months, a peacetime life span of eight months.
· The projected life span of a baby born in the U.S. today is about 71 years, nearly double what it was at the end of the 18th century. The longest authenticated life span of a human being is 113 years, 214 days. Studies show married people live longer than those who remain single.
· A group of subatomic particles known as unstable hadrons exists for only one one-hundred-sextillionth of a second (10 to the negative 23 second)—less time than it takes light to travel a single inch.
· A 100-watt incandescent bulb will last about 750 hours; a 25-watt bulb, 2,500 hours. The number of times a light bulb is turned on and off has little to do with its life-span.
· A one-dollar bill lasts approximately 18 months in circulation.
· Practice footballs used by professionals last two to three days—a playing life of perhaps five hours. Home teams are required to provide 24 new balls each game and these last only about six minutes of playing time.
Today we are concluding our eight-week look at a successful Christian life. One of my goals as your pastor is to see you have a thriving authentic faith. I want you to have a deep relationship with Jesus. One of the biggest questions I have about active mature faith is: How do we get there?
We’ve talked about wholehearted devotion and keeping our focus on God.
We’ve talked about studying the Bible and the importance that plays in our walk with Christ.
We’ve talked about prayer and how it needs to become as natural as breathing.
We’ve talked about sharing our faith and seasoning the lives of the people around us with God.
We’ve talked about following God’s plan for giving.
We’ve talked about remembering the benefits we have from God.
We’ve talked about dodging discouragement.
And now this week, we look at our final topic on this one road map to help us in our faith. All of these are of course not the only means to have an active faith, but they will help you get there. Today I would like to talk about our attitude about life.
READ JAMES 4:13-17 = “13Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
James describes for us the kind of attitude that Christians should have about their life. The basis of our attitude, that I believe James describes, is that Christians are people who know that they have one life to live and it counts how you live it. It matters how you live each day because we have a Savior coming back for us. It matters how we live each day because tomorrow is promised to no one.
All over the United States, churches are participating in the 40 Days of Purpose program that is based on Rick Warren’s book, the Purpose Driven Life. I know that several of you have mentioned to me that you have read this book and enjoyed it very much. I want to read to you one person’s reflections upon reading day six of the 40 Days:
Day Six - Life Is A Temporary Assignment
Day six finishes Warren’s thoughts about "how I see my life shapes my life." You will recall he said yesterday that the Bible offers three metaphors for life: life is a test, a trust and a temporary assignment. Today we cover the last of these metaphors.
The Bible is filled with teachings on the brevity of life. To make the most of life I need to realize that compared with eternity, life is fleeting. I also need to realize that earth is a temporary residence and, as we covered on day four, is only a staging area for eternity. It is important that I live with a view of eternity, realizing that I am an ambassador here on earth. I am only a temporary resident and as a Christian my real homeland is heaven. When I have this view I will understand why sometimes God’s promises seem to go unfulfilled and prayers seem to go unanswered. In the light of eternity no promise goes unanswered and no prayer unheard and in the end it will all make sense. Of course this realization should also help me place much higher value on eternal rather than temporal factors. Warren teaches that as a fish will never be at home outside of water, so I will never really feel at home on earth. Because I have eternity in my heart and heaven is my real home, I will always feel some measure of discontent with life on earth.