But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 1 Cor. 4:3-5.
That’s the Apostle Paul speaking.
Sometimes I wish I will die before Jesus’ return. For I know that when I die, many good things will be said of me. Even those who have had it really against me will find their hearts suddenly warmed towards me (although, alas, not to the point of shedding tears). My family members and friends will quickly find out how much I meant to them.
At my burial, you can expect that just before they throw the dust over me (enough people have heard me express my distaste for concrete tombs, so I am sure the word will have gotten around, and they will bury me in an ordinary grave) – well, just before they do that, they will have someone read my life history. My good friend Ndiritu Njora will no doubt write the script; a script on which dozens of people will have been consulted. I can imagine the most flower-ful things will be said about me then. Truth be said, the reading of my obituary is something I would ask the Lord to let me listen in on – I am sure it will be music to my ears.
Well… I would love to think that all the glory and accolades that will attend my earthly demise will also be shown me in heaven. But the scriptures tell me that on the day I die there will be business of a different nature going on up there. In fact, even before they shed the first tear for me at my bedside (assuming that’s where I die), I will be looking at my innermost earthly thoughts, purposes, deliberations, judgments, meditations, desires, aspirations, yearnings, and cravings as they filter their way across a heavenly weighing scale,
In Hebrews 9:27 we are told that what follows death is judgment. And the Bible clearly says that when we die God will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts”.
The heavenly scenario will not be dependent on what people think of me. It will depend on the condition of my heart at death. And God knows even the hidden things lurking in the most unfathomable parts of my heart. I hate to admit it, but there are some things in my heart that I wouldn’t want that Day to find me still harboring. And there are dark things in there that even I am not aware of. But thank God, He knows about them. David told God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.“ (Ps. 139:23-24). There were things David knew lurked in his heart which only God could discern.
What will be the condition of our hearts at death? That is a question that should keep us on our spiritual toes. And this leaves us with no other option than to make sure the Cross is placed centrally in our lives. There is no safer place to be with God. The revelation of the Cross of Jesus Christ will light up and reveal those hidden areas in our lives where we need to repent and make sure our hearts stay clean. If we are not bound to the Cross, we might be tempted to think that the longer we stay in salvation, or the more we ‘labor’, the holier we become; while all the while there are rotten things we have permanently fossilised in our spiritual lives, things which the Lord will ‘bring to life’ at the last day.
St. John said, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” At the Cross, our hearts are cleansed from the hidden lusts of the flesh and the secret desires for the things of this world.
Proverbs 4:23 urges us to guard our hearts above all everything else “for out of it are the issues of life”. What really makes our lives count before God (for we can so easily manipulate and appear something else before men), is what is at the bottom of our hearts – the anger, malice, wrong desires, and anything else that is against the will of God – which only God knows, and wants to cleanse from us. Woe to us if we are hard-hearted for one day, after we die, God will bring these to light.
Let us desire to keep our hearts clean and pure by the power of the Holy Spirit whom we have been given. Let us desire to die to our selfish, carnal mindset, and let the mind of Christ be created in us, a mind which is pure, untainted by the impurities of this world, and the flesh.
The Apostle Paul said, “I die daily”. That is what Jesus should find us doing.
Are we dying daily? Let us ask the Lord to reveal to us the Cross of Jesus, which alone can bring us to the kind of death that will please our Father.