This is Day 19 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
We do a lot to prevent death. We give up things we enjoy--everything from cigarettes to unhealthy food. We spend time exercising and going to the doctor for checkups. We spend lots of money on vitamins and medicines. We wear our seatbelts and bike helmets, and avoid dangerous situations. We social distance, get vaccinated, and wear masks. The truth is, there is very little a human won't do to save his or her life.
But we can't save our lives. Not our physical lives. As the saying goes nothing in this life is certain except death and taxes. No matter how much we exercise, no matter how much we social distance, or avoid danger, we are going to die. Sure we might prolong life a day, a month, a year, a decade, but eventually death will come for us. All of us.
As scary as that is, it's really okay. Jesus tells us not to fear death. Not the first death, anyway--the physical death. We should instead fear the second death, the death of the soul in Hell. But how much energy do we expend trying to avoid that death? How often do we pray, fast, meditate on God, read scripture, go to church? Do we try to avoid sin as much as we try to avoid unhealthy food? How often do we confess our sins and ask God to help us avoid sinning? Do we try to live a spiritually healthy lifestyle of humility, patience, compassion, mercy, and charity, putting others above ourselves?
Most of the time humans will do almost anything to avoid death. But it is unavoidable. So let's start worrying about the second death much more. I'm not suggesting anyone stop exercising and start smoking, but rather that we should stop sinning and start praying.
And let's worry more about the second death for our loved ones, too. We should be less worried about our parents catching Covid, our spouse eating healthy, or our kids wearing bike helmets than about the destination of their souls. Yes, make your kids wear their bike helmets and look both ways before crossing the street. Teach them the dangers of smoking. But also teach them to pray, to read the Bible, to attend church, to serve others, and the dangers of sinning.
We cannot avoid our physical death, but with God's grace, we just might avoid the death of our souls.
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Peter Puckett series, a Christian children's fantasy that explores what it means to know and love Christ through exciting adventures. His books and blog can be found at rcvanlandingham.com.