I know it is the title of a country and western song, but it is probably one of the holiest thoughts we Christians can have. I wish I had this thought more. I forget to live like I am dying, rather I live like today doesn’t matter much.
Every day is a gift from God. I did not die today, but my battery did. Up until now I was living like I was in charge of my day and rushing from here to there to get to work on time. I managed my mental list of things I planned to do, all the while checking the time to find myself my usual five minutes behind. Then it happened. I didn’t die, but my battery did. It was so unexpected. There were absolutely no warning signs that anything was off. In fact, I had made a late night drive an hour away from my home on highspeed roads without incident. I was thankful for my safety last night, but never wondered about what the new day would bring.
I’m not dying, but my day has been disrupted by the reality that I am not in charge of my life and future. What if I lived like I was dying? What would I do differently today? I noticed the bright orange sunrise behind the buildings as I walked and praised God for being so faithful to display His beauty every day, even the days I don’t notice or pay attention. That was good. I prayed, I read the Bible, I checked off my list, but did I really turn over this day to God? Did I invite Him into the moments of this day? I saw I was running late after exercising, so I asked him to help me get my hair dry faster so I could be on time. Most of what I did was about me. It was about my ideas of today and what I thought should happen today.
To actually live like I was dying, I would pay attention and focus on the repeated message I have received from God in His word. The theme has been repentance. I did think about that on my walk. The thought crossed my jumbled mind that our lifetimes are an opportunity to repent. We will not have a chance to repent for our sins after death in the same way as we are privileged to repent now. But that thought did not guide me to a list of repentance. I felt a little smug for thinking such high and lofty spiritual thoughts as a Christian and left it at that. Until now. Now that my battery lies dead, I really pray. “God this is not what I expected this morning. I wonder why You have forced me to stop and wait despite all the work that is piling up on my desk. What can I do as I wait for AAA? I will sit and pray and wonder what this day will hold.” That’s when God prompted me that what I had been learning from Him this week was repentance and repentance should be the topic of the devotion.
Why repent? Repentance is the spiritual discipline I avoid the most. I love silence, give me Lectio Divina, fasting is not so bad, but repentance is most frequently avoided. Sometimes when I tell people this, they are shocked. They feel so guilty for so many things that they repent and repent some more even over things that they have never done nor will ever do again. Not me. I feel so loved by God that sometimes I don’t consider how offensive I really am to Him in my sin. Romans 2:4 asks a good question:
“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
Yes, I do and very often even when in His kindness He has repeatedly invited me to the beautiful spiritual discipline of repentance. That is what led me to the title of this devotion. If I knew I were to die today, what would I spend my last hours doing? I would repent of all the sins I can remember on earth, and even the ones I didn’t know I committed and more. I would see each day as a do-over, a Ground Hog Day Movie, where you got to live the same day over until you actually got it right. You lived your life moment by moment like Jesus lived every day on earth—doing the will of God. Now that is living like you were dying and that is true repentance.