“Readiness to die is the first step in learning to live.” (J.I. Packer)
Are you ready to die? Perhaps this morbid question haunts you. Maybe it makes you anxious. Either way, it’s one of the most important questions you’ll ever answer; for we cannot truly live until we answer that question. Furthermore, we cannot authentically live until our answer is Yes.
Our culture is terribly afraid of death. We have seen this fear escalated exponentially due to Covid. We do everything within our power to not face death. As a result, what many end up doing is either avoiding the question or answering honestly with a No.
Society, for the most part, avoids the death question. Millions of people walk through life with apathy regarding the prospect of death. They simply don’t care enough to ponder the question. They are concerned about the here and now—not eternity. It’s foolishness, and they have better things to do with their time. They push it away as much as they can.
What saddens me is the myriad of people who avoid the question because they don’t want to talk about the things in life that matter most. This is partly why it’s taboo to talk religion with people—to many, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. They either squirm or get offended when any disagreement takes place.
More than anything, however, it shows people don’t want to face the reality of death, so they ignore it. They know it‘s coming—as it comes for everybody—but to ponder if they’re ready, that means facing the big things in life head on. And, well, that’s just too serious.
Jared C. Wilson, in his book The Gospel According to Satan, expounds on this by saying:
What Satan would love for you to do is spend this life as if that’s all there is. First, he won’t want you to think about death at all, not even if it brings you a sense of dread. The devil likes to traffic in fear, but it’s not his immediate go-to, because he knows that fearful people often cry out for help, which means fearful people are very close to having their ears open to divine rescue. Instead, he wants you to think of death as some far-off thing, not a big deal, certainly nothing that could happen tomorrow or in the next five minutes. He wants you drunk on a sense of immortality.p. 37.
For the last two years, those who ignored death previously are now forced to reckon with it. The Covid-19 pandemic has placed death in front of us all in high definition. Nobody can ignore the question now. And this revealed the other glaring problem.
Many simply aren’t ready to die. From an earthly perspective I’m not ready to die. Like every other human, I want to experience some things before I die. I want to see my children grow up, become a grandpa, and more. But I know it’s not guaranteed—and all of those things are gifts we don’t deserve.
We weren’t created to die. Do we know this? Death, of all things, is a result of the fall (Genesis 3). The prospect of death can be terrifying. That’s a natural human emotion. But when many are so afraid of death they’re not ready to die, something is wrong.
Any of us could die at any moment, so we must be ready. Not being ready to die puts an ever-tightening grip around our hearts which makes us unable to truly live as we ought. It’s exhausting, suffocating, and spiritually damaging. That’s why we must be ready to die.
Being ready to die reveals where our hearts are. Christians are ready to die, for we know what awaits us on the other side. We know death is the doorway that leads to true, eternal life. Death is not the end, but only the beginning.
Those who follow Jesus are able to truly live life to the fullest on earth because they have a proper perspective of death. It’s nothing to be afraid of. So, reader, prepare yourself for death. It could happen any moment. You could see God face to face in an instant, and you’ll give an account for everything you’ve ever done.
If you are ready to die, you’ll truly learn the best way to live.
Enjoy my writing? You might like my book Gospel Smugness: Displaying Christlike Character in Evangelism.