30 Days to Live
“Your life is like the morning fog — it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” —James 4:14
God has been impressing on me for some time now of the need to always be prepared to meet Him, whether through death or His return. Even so, I struggle daily to keep that focus moment by moment, which inevitably results in my getting distracted with all manner of things (both good and bad, big and little) and making choices that would render me woefully unprepared to meet the One I love and to leave the ones I love.
So, in an effort to bring better focus and to increase awareness of my need to continuously “be ready,” I’ve begun to work on what I’m calling my “30 Days to Live” plan, or #30D2L. It is not a complete or static plan, but rather it will be a growing and changing one, as: 1) I hopefully continue to mature and grow closer to God, 2) I better understand His plan for me and those I love, and 3) I continuously seek to maintain a relationship with God that is unhampered by sin in my life.
In essence, the #30D2L plan is a list of priorities that I would likely have were I to visit my doctor someday and be told that I had 30 days to live. Sadly, such news comes to people everyday. But when it does, those receiving the dreaded news, in a sense, have the “benefit” of living out their final days with a knowledge that they are within their final days.
Because of this raised awareness of one’s imminent death, there is no doubt that the choices such individuals make are drastically different than the choices before they were confronted with their own mortality, as well as the choices I make everyday.
So, it seems to me both logical and wise to take a positive, deliberate, and planned approach to living out the next 30 days as if they were to be my last. I’ll confess though that while it may be logical and wise to maintain this mindset, it’s also very easy to stray from living this way each day and very hard to maintain this daily focus, much less hourly. (I know this to be true as I have been attempting to live in this manner for several 30-day periods so far … and failing miserably at maintaining the proper focus.)
But here’s a truth that we should all consider: If the next 30 days are not my final ones or yours, at some point you and I will wake up for the last 30 days of our lives. When this happens in my life, I want to arrive at my last day with no regrets, no items left unchecked, and a clear conscience before God and man.
With this in mind, I want to echo the Psalmist’s attitude when he wrote: “Teach us to number our days” (Psalm 90:12).
So here’s an initial checklist that I’ve started. But as God continues to give me another 30-day period, I hope to continue to fine-tune this list. I’d love to hear if you have other items that you would add to your list.
Relationships in order; reconcile any broken ones.
Maintain a clear conscience before God and man.
To-do list sorted, prioritized, and the essentials completed.
Make sure every single day that those closest to me know that I love them.
Life insurance in order.
Finances in order.
Will and/or estate plans up to date.
No “secrets” in my life.
Make sure any comments that I want to make to folks are made.
Spend daily time in God’s Word.
Always seek to simplify and unclutter my life.
Seek opportunities to share God’s truth in love.
As I begin each new month, treating it as if it could be my final one, I am looking to these thoughts and verses to keep me grounded in the brevity of life. I hope you will be challenged to consider a similar approach. For God has this to say about those who regularly reflect on their own mortality:
“A wise person thinks a lot about death.” —Ecclesiastes 7:4
May God help me to truly live til I die. And may my outlook always be as Paul shared when he said:
“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” —Philippians 1:21
Here are a few more relevant verses to maintaining the proper mindset about our final days:
“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” —Matthew 24:44
“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” —Romans 13:11
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” —James 4:14
“All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him." —2 Samuel 14:14
"About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: "Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.”’“ —Isaiah 38:1