Matters of Life or Death

Recently I spoke with my daughter early in the morning. She works in a pediatric cardiac step-down unit.

She makes decisions that can mean life or death for her patients.

As I contemplated her job compared to mine while walking to my car one day, I thought, “I don’t have a job that requires life or death. If I make a mistake, no one dies and I can fix the problem the next day.”

Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Though it is true that my occupation does not demand that I make life or death decisions directly, I do deal with life or death decisions every day, just like my daughter. Since God is life, everything I do apart from Him leads to “death.”

Every decision leads toward a path of life or death.

Does that language come across as too extreme? I don’t think so. Consider these examples.

  • Did you ever start a relationship with someone you knew you shouldn’t? It was fun at first, but the further down the path things went, the relationship worsened and the life was being sucked out of you.
  • Did you ever consume something you knew you shouldn’t? It was fun at first, but the further down the path of consuming such things, health worsened and life was no longer a thriving experience.
  • Did you ever decide to trust in a plan to keep something under control and secret? The plan worked for a while but then collapsed. People found out and repairing was expensive, extensive and never really returned to the way things were before.
  • Did you ever decide to purchase something out of your budget? Things were great until the credit card bill arrived.
  • Did you ever decide to do whatever necessary to get a person to like you? You thought they were worth it, but one day you looked in the mirror and you had said and done things you never would have imagined.

Every word leads to life or death.

The tongue has the power of life and death… (Proverbs 18:21) Words are rarely neutral. Even if the words are neutral, the tone in which they are spoken are not. (ouch) If we were to play back every sentence we spoke so far today, we either spoke life into a relationship or situation, or we spoke death. Put another way, we either speak words of benefit or harm.

When my son enters my home office while I am working, I can choose to communicate in a life-giving way — smile, turn from computer to give him my attention, not glance at my phone, say profitable words — or communicate in a life-reducing way — not look up while I keep typing, answer vaguely without truly engaging, and say words that erode our relationship or his value. Every time he leaves my office, he is able to answer whether the time with me was beneficial or harmful. It’s the same for you and me. At the end of every day each of us can answer whether specific individuals spoke life into us or death, and the same applies in reverse about our words to others. [Grimace]

Every soul faces life or death.

And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

In every relationship, we are handling a soul that needs to be handled with utmost care.

  • Either the soul does not yet know Jesus so we point the person toward Him.
  • Or, the person does know Jesus so we point the person toward maturity in Jesus (as we are striving to do the same).

Every. Single. Person. On. Earth. Is. In. One. Of. These. Two. Categories.

Every moment can be connected to life.

[Jesus is talking] “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Every morning I aim to make sure I am plugged into the proper power source — Jesus or me. Am I going to live the day in self-effort? Or, will all I do and say stem from being connected to and trusting in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit? This is a life or death decision because Jesus says the self-effort choice is powerless — “for apart from me you can do nothing.” I know the one I wish to choose — the path that leads to life.

Our role on earth is critically important.

Christ followers will most likely never be granted the automatic esteem frequently extended to doctors, Physician’s Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, nurses, surgeons, first responders (police, fire fighters or EMTs) or any number of occupations that deal with life or death on a daily basis. Rest assured, however, that the millions of everyday people who are Christ followers are also making life or death decisions all day long for ourselves, our family and friends, neighborhoods and workplaces. Further, as we work together as one body globally — like we are supposed to be doing — we are a major force to contend with in the world!

The world may not esteem us today, but God does. His is the only opinion that matters.

Chin up, my friend!

Picture Explanation: My husband went on a walk and brought me pictures of creatures  for my blog, including the pesky Joro spider upsetting many in our state!

Last call! There is an online study of One Gritty Blink starting September 21 from 7-9 p.m. Click on the Oaks Ministries link below to view the trailer and consider joining.

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Planting and Watering

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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