A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1 –
What a seemingly odd thing for Solomon to say about the day we all must face, the day we die. Yet for the Christ follower death is not the end. Death is not to be feared for us who belong to Jesus Christ.
But there is more to this wisdom as well. We are never truly safe until we die. Death is that exit from this mortal realm and into eternal rest. In this life we will be tested, have many troubles, and face many temptation- death becomes the victor’s finish line. We must endure the whole race and keep the faith to the end- then we will receive the eternal reward.
Yet along this race of life, we are in continual danger, from temptations, from tests! We are neither immune to temptations regardless of seasons of pain or seasons of prosperity and abundance.
For in the fiery trials we may be tempted by doubt or discourage, or tempted to grumble, tempted to lose faith, tempted to give up under trying heavy loads. Yet in times where things are good and prosperous, don’t dare let your guard down either, for we may be tempted to pride or tempted to grow fat and complacent in heart.
For the Psalmist too felt unshakable when prosperous
When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.
Psalm 30:6-7 –
And let us take note of King Uzziah whose heart became proud,
“But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. (2 Chronicles 26:16)
Indeed dear believers we are never beyond the reach of temptation. Whether it comes through forms of envy, lust or greed, or whether it comes from pride or self indulgence.
We are creatures so prone to be tempted on all sides. On one hand a person may be tempted to envy and jealousy of others. Yet another one may be tempted by arrogance and pride and look down on others. To the right there are snares and briars and thorns to steer clear of, yet to the left there are pits of tar and deadly traps as well.
Oh dear believers we must pray- pray daily and plead for God to grant us grace and continual help. We must depend on him always and regularly “approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
Temptation will come to all, both rich and poor, little known and famous alike. Both man and woman, both this person or that. As long as we live on this side of eternity, we are never fully beyond the reach of temptation.
It is like the game of of Sorry. The game’s objective is to get all your pieces into home base first and then you truly are safe and win. Yet as long as there are pieces of yours still outside on the board and not in home base, those pieces are subject to possibly being sent back to square one.
For us as Christians, we who die following Christ are truly secured and saved as a result of death, not destroyed by it.
For as it is written, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)