BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
One tragedy of human existence is that a lot of people live their lives without consideration for their end. It is hardly that they are deceived that the end will not come but they are deluded not to prepare for their end so that they can end their lives well. And the end I am talking about includes what happens to you later in life on earth and more importantly what awaits you later after this life – after your days on earth are over.
The Bible says, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning” (Eccl 7:8 NKJV). Shouldn’t you prepare for the end of your life so that the end of your life will be better than the beginning of your life? Consideration for your end shows that you’re wise. Foolish people go on with their lives without any reflection on how they’re living and without any thought about their end. The Israelites manifested such folly and suffered tragically for it. “For they are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!” (Deut 32:28-29 NKJV). Unfortunately, lack of wisdom robbed them of a glorious future.
There is need for you not to be carried away by your affluence, current position, successes, etc. and fail to consider your end. The end will come one day but how shall your end be? Shouldn’t you be careful enough to ensure that you end your life well?
The first will be the last
In the Bible, you’ll see some people and even nations that started well but their end was not something commendable; for example Amalek. The Bible says, “Then he looked on Amalek, and he took up his oracle and said: ‘Amalek was first among the nations, but shall be last until he perishes’” (Num 24:20 NKJV). Did you see that? God says that Amalek, though was the first among nations, would be last until it perished. What an end! It is like what Jesus said that in the last days, many who are first will be last, and the last first (Mark 10:31; Matt 19:30, 20:16; Luke 13:30).
But thank God that the Bible doesn’t say that everybody who is first will be last. It only says many. You just need to make sure you exclude yourself from the many by the way you live your life, your decisions, your relationships and walk with God and in obedience to His Word.
You may not start your life as first but you can end as first. Just as Bildad, Job’s friend, says, “Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly” (Job 8:7 NKJV). That should be the testimony of every child of God. Prov 4:18-19 says, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble” (Prov 4:18-19 NKJV).
And it is possible that you are among the first now. You can still end as first. That should be your goal. God is not against those who are first or doing very well in life now; He is not out to ruin them just to fulfill the scriptures that many who are first will be last, and the last first. It is your duty to ensure that you end your life well, and you can; it is possible. 2 Peter 2:20 says, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning” (NKJV). That is why as a child of God you should be careful. You may be doing very well as a Christian now but be careful. The devil hasn’t given up on anyone. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:12-13 NKJV).
I like the way The Message renders it: “There are all warning markers – DANGER! – in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel – they at the beginning, we at the end – and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”
The danger of backsliding
You don’t need to backslide, and you can continue as a Christian to the end without backsliding though many have backslidden and may still backslide. And the Bible says for such who backslide, the latter end will be worse for them than the beginning. That doesn’t have to be you. You can end well your Christian race. When the current phase of your life is over or when you transit to the latter days of your life on earth, you can look back and have no regrets how you’ve lived your life. But that can only happen when you consider daily your end as you live.
I love one of the prayers of David. He says, “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4 NKJV). That was a man who had regard for his end. That was a man who considered his end. That was a wise man. Compare David to the children of Israel of whom the Bible says in Lam 1:9: “Her filthiness was in her skirts; she remembered not her latter end” (ASV). How unfortunate!
Look at the consequence of that terrible attitude of the Israelites: “Therefore is she come down wonderfully; she hath no comforter: Behold, O Jehovah, my affliction; for the enemy hath magnified himself” (Lam 1:9 ASV). May I tell you that even today, this remains the aftermath of not considering one’s end. The end of such end is humiliation, destruction, etc. Will you use the enjoyment of today to create an end of sorrow for yourself? Life is not only about today. There is a tomorrow which leads to an end – an end of sorrow or an end of enjoyment.
Do you know that God is more interested in your end than in your present? Do you know that all that God is going to do or is doing in your life today is towards bringing you to His designed end? The end is more important to God than the beginning or even the present.
When God fed the children of Israel with manna in the wilderness, they were complaining at a point but God fed them with manna on purpose. He had an end in mind for them. He allowed them to go through temporary discomfort because the end was more important to Him than the beginning.
Look at what Deut 8:16 says: “Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end” (NKJV). Did you see there the purpose of God? It would take having long sightedness and heaven’s perspective for them to know that what God was doing was aimed at doing them good in the end and not aimed at harming them. Sad enough, they didn’t know this, so they complained and grumbled.
Many will end their lives foolish because they have failed to receive instructions and direction from heaven for their lives; they followed only their brains and what was in vogue. Therefore, they ruined their lives. It’s regrettable but it will be too late for them to make amends. No wonder, Prov 19:20 says, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days” (NKJV).
There are those who appear wise today but in their latte days, they will be proved to be unwise. By the way they are living their lives – living contrary to the Word of God – destruction is waiting for them in the end even if people like them are celebrating them today.
The coming judgment
Phil 3:17-19 warns, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things” (NKJV). Did you see that Paul said that he was weeping even as he described the destruction of these people in the end? It’s no cheering news at all. It’s a painful thing. And Paul was not talking about non-believers; he was talking about those who claimed to be Christians but their lives contradicted their claim. The book of Philippians was written to the Christians at Philippi.
1 Peter 4:17-18 says a similar thing about the judgment that will begin in the house of God. “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’” (NKJV) That means believers who live contrary to the will of God will not be excluded from judgment – it will start from them. Think about that. Consider your end! That is what a wise person will do.
How are you living your life? Are you keeping the end in view? Does your consideration for the end influence your present decisions and actions? The end is more important than whatever anyone is doing now. Anybody can do whatever he or she likes now but the end will matter more than what anyone does now. So you don’t have to be moved by what some believers or even non-believers are doing or the progress they appear to be making. What you’re seeing is not yet the end – this is not their end. And what I’m saying is not a mere consolation for someone who is recording failure in his or life’s endeavour. It is the truth.
The end of the ungodly
The psalmist confessed that he was almost deceived by the seeming success of the ungodly until he saw their end; their painful end, which gives assurance that everything does not end with what we see now. Psalm 73:12-19 says, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I had said, I will speak thus, ‘Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me —until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors’” (NKJV).
Have you considered the end of those sinners you are currently envious of? Destruction! Would you like to share with them this kind of end? Consider your end.
God has planned a glorious end for you but you must cooperate with Him to make it a reality. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end” (Jer 29:11 ASV).
God will not impose or force on you the glorious future, wonderful future, which He has in mind for you. He’ll always set before you life and death and ask you to choose what you want. He has created you a free moral agent and He’ll not violate your right of choice. That was what He did for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He saw them when they chose to eat the forbidden fruit – it was their choice. He didn’t stop them.
To that church in Philadelphia, God said, “See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” (Rev 3:8 NKJV). That’s what God will do. He will set the door before you but it’s your choice to decide to enter through it or not. He won’t force you.
Understanding this principle of God, Moses told the children of Israel in Deut 30:15-19 he had set before them life and good, death and evil, they should make their choice. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess” (Deut 30:15-19 NKJV). What is your choice? Consider your end!
Do you want an end of peace for yourself or an end of sorrow? Look at the way you are raising your children now, will you have peace over them in the end or will they give you sorrow?
The way you are treating your spouse now, will you have joy in the end over your marriage or will you be full of regrets about what you failed to do and what you should not have done? What about your finances, your health, your relationships?
You still have time to make correction today. You still have the opportunity to create an end of joy for yourself both here on earth and in eternity. The opportunity will not always be there. What choice will you make today? Forget about your ego, passing the buck or playing the blame game – face the reality and make right today what is wrong. This is the path of wisdom – be wise!
If you are not born again, have you considered where you will spend your eternity. I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I confess my sins and repent today. Forgive me Lord. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and my Lord and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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