Getting ready - staying ready

Crist Langelett
The Chaplain’s Corner

It would be interesting to make two recordings of what people say about a man who had a bad reputation. The one recording would be while he was alive and active. The other would be after he died. There are people who have had very little good said about them while they are alive. Few have had much bad said about them after they die physically. This is especially true at the visitation and funeral.

Another two sets of reputation recordings are available. Actually it is a one set of continuum recordings. It goes from one extreme to the other. Although it is not given as one big list, it is recorded on many different pages. The good and bad are scattered throughout the pages in the only book that God authored for us. We call it the Bible.

The following simply gives a few of the best and then a few of the “no nos. “The references are given just in case anyone would like to look at them. As we look at them, it will become obvious that no one alive will totally master the good. The other end we will leave for the reader of this column to decide.

The best of the best would be a person who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, humble and self-controlled (Galatians 5:22, 23). This first one could only be fully realized by applying the second one. This would be a person who loved the Lord with all is heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbor equal to himself (Mark 12:30,31). Obviously, no human begin except our Lord ever fully lived these in practice.

The other extreme lists several bad habits. We are told that those who keep practicing these bad habits will never go to Heaven. They include adultery, fornication, hatred, jealousies, hot-tempered outbursts, selfish ambitions, witchcraft, quarreling, getting drunk, lying, murdering and a list of other sins (Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8).

Someone may ask how long will it take for people who practice these kinds of things to be eternally lost. None of these practices or other sins make anyone go to hell. They are the symptoms of our sinful nature. They are symptoms of those who are lost souls. We all have them to some degree. The transition and the internal battle starts when we truly repent and invite the Lord into our lives. We then have a personal relationship with our Lord. The old sinful nature wants to have its way. The Spirit of the Lord pulls on us to do what is right. The battle is on.

Several Scripture passages deal with this internal battle. Ephesians 6:10-18 is often referred to as spiritual warfare. The severity of this battle is made clear in Galatians 5:16-18 and Romans 7:15-21. All who are on their way to heaven know about this internal battle between their sinful nature and the Spirit of the Lord. The battle can only be won by spending time in prayer, Bible study and fellowship with the Lord and, hopefully, with other believers. We are all responsible for our decisions and actions.

Getting ready is inviting the Lord into our lives and living a life of repentance. Strength for the battle comes from the filling of the Spirit of the Lord (Matthew 11:13). This is available at all times. In fact God wants to fill us and live in and through us. Getting ready and staying ready is a life of powerful dependency on an all-powerful God. How great it would be if all who read this column knew all about this internal warfare from experience. Where there is no battle there can be no victory.

Have a good and victorious week as you fight the internal battle.

 

— This is a Chaplain’s Corner column reprinted from a past issue of Lillie Suburban Newspapers.  

— Crist Langelett writes a monthly column on faith. He has served as chaplain for the city of North St. Paul, its police and fire departments and as a chaplain and Bible study leader at the Washington County jail. He is a founding member and volunteer at the North St. Paul Area Food Shelf. 

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