What Is Your Life

W. Terry Varner
August 28, 2016

James, the brother of Jesus, asked an all-important question, “What is your life?” (Jas. 4:14, ESV). How would YOU define YOUR life? Man has defined life in various ways. Some define life as “the time between birth and death.” This is true, but it is not the total story. James describes life as, “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (Jas. 4:14); i.e. life is as a mist rising from a stream, seen momentarily and then vanishing. YOUR life is important! YOUR life is precious! Paul writes, “[L]et us also lay aside every weight, and sin . . .and let us run with endurance the race . . . looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2a).

Life is a journey. Jacob told Pharaoh that the days of his life was a journey (Gen. 47:9). It is true. Sometimes on a journey we-know where we will end; however, there are times on a journey we do not know where we will end until the journey is over. Moses wrote: “We spend our years as a tale that is told” (Ps. 90:9). Over the years I have enjoyed listening to the elderly tell where they have been and what they have done. Their life is a journey. So is your life; so is my, life. Where have you been, where are you going, and what have you done? The nomadic shepherds pitch their tent, take them down, and move on only to repeat the sequence. They were like Isaiah’s description that life is like a shepherd’s tent (Isa. 38:12). The New Testament teaches that life is a journey in which we are strangers and pilgrims (1 Pet 2:11) and we are to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21).

Life is uncertain. Who has not known someone or had a friend who died unexpectedly? When it comes to life there are no guarantees! Life has an old saying, “Here today, gone tomorrow.” Solomon warned: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Prov. 27:1). Life is a “shadow” (Eccl. 6:12). What is more uncertain than a shadow? Have you ever tried to stay under the shadow of a cloud? It is impossible! Many reason they will live forever, but life is as a shadow—uncertain. You cannot count on a long life!

Life is swift. This is a biblical principle difficult for the young to grasp; the older we become the more evident this truth becomes. To many youth, life appears to be long. To older individuals, life is known to be short. When we compare life to some trees and animals, life is swift “My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good ... [L]ike an eagle swooping on the prey” (Job 9:25-26). Life does not drag along at the pace of a turtle, but as a runner or an eagle. One of the great experiences fishing in Canada is watching the swiftness of the eagle attack its prey. YOUR life and MY life is exactly like the runner and the eagle, it hastens to its end.

Life has an end. “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Man does not like to consider that his life is going to end. Once ended, life on earth can never be brought back. We must all die; we are like water spilt on the ground, which cannot be brought back again (2 Sam. 14:14, emp. added). Once death’s door is entered, we step into eternity. There are no more chances to become right with God after crossing into “the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4). We await the judgment. “For God will bring every deed into judgment with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14). What is YOUR life? What will be the divine verdict on YOUR life at judgment? “Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).