What are four things that are worse than death for the Christian?
A Wasted Life
A life that’s not lived is a life that is wasted. That might be worse than death. For much of my youth, I did waste it. I spent it on frivolous things that will all pass away someday. I pursued a life of wealth while ignoring a call to eternal life. Like the old Shakespearian phrase, “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” which we can say like this, “It is better to have lived and lost than to have never lived at all.” As long as someone is drawing a breath, God is not done with them. Someday God will demand an account from us for the life we have been freely given and what we did with it.
This might be the worst thing of all. Jesus said that “many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14), and on the day of His visitation, “many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:22-23). We can deny Christ by our silence. Instead of obeying the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), we live out the “great omission.” “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). That is far worse than a physical death because it includes a spiritual death (Rev. 20:12-15; 21:8).
Wrong Purpose in Life
Even Christians can get caught up in the trappings of the world. There is a “Judas” in every human heart that seeks to have financial security and sometimes even at a great cost. I don’t think Judas knew they were going to crucify Jesus when he betrayed Him because he later regretted what he had done and gave back the 30 pieces of silver. Jesus told Judas the purpose for which God created him, but Judas had his own purpose, which was to accumulate wealth. It backfired–it accumulated him. If only he knew that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Tim. 6:10).
It is very frustrating when you try and use your coupons only to discover that they’ve already expired. Then you wonder if you would have bought that item in the first place. God commands us “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16), and James adds “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). What will you do when you see Jesus for the first time? The Apostle John considers that when he wrote, “Now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28), indicating that some apparently would shrink back in shame, not so much for what they did but what they should have done. Not redeeming the time is wasting a life.
We won’t get a second chance at His return. We only get to do this life once. There is no “Plan B,” so Paul recommends that “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:3) and to “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people” (Eph. 6:7). A life spent not living is a life not lived.