Keys to Long-Life

Appendix 4: What about believers who die young?

This book teaches that God’s general will for us is healing and long-life. 
One common objection to this is that we know of good believers and Christian leaders who died young or in middle-age due to sickness or accidents. How are we to understand this? If we are not careful, when someone we know, to whom we look up, dies young, it can hurt our faith and stop us believing in God’s promises of long-life and healing. So I offer these guidelines to help you handle these situations correctly when they happen.

*1. Don’t judge God’s will from what happens in someone’s life. Just because something happens does not make it God’s will. God wants all men to be saved through believing in Christ (1Timothy 2:4, John 3:16, 2Peter 3:9), but obviously not all men are saved. If someone is not saved, we do not conclude it was not God’s will for him to be saved. Likewise if someone 
was not healed, we should not conclude healing was not God’s will for Him. The only way to know God’s will is from His Word, for He has revealed Himself perfectly through His Word, and God makes His will clear that He wants us to have a long and blessed life. Do not judge (test) the truth of God’s Word, by a man’s experience! Man’s experience must be subjected to God’s Word, not the other way round. It must be submitted under the Word, and not to be placed above it, for God’s Word is faithful and true.

One of my favourite Bible teachers, from whom I learnt alot, went to be with the Lord before he was 50. I still honour and respect him, but that does not mean I believe that was God’s perfect will for him. The last thing that a man of God would want is that their early death would impede our faith in God’s promise for our healing. So do not compromise your faith in God’s Word, because of contradictory circumstances. To walk by faith is to walk by His Word rather than by what our eyes see. Our attitude should be: “His Word is true no matter what happens. God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

*2. Don’t blame God. We may not always understand why someone does not live out their full life-span, but whatever happens don’t blame God as if it was His fault. You should know better than that! God is always faithful to His promises. If there is failure, it is certainly not with God. There may or may not have been some obvious reasons from their life where they might have opened the door to an early death. You don’t know everything about a person’s life and faith and the secrets of their heart. That is a private issue between them and God, and God won’t reveal them to you, for He respects their privacy. One day all things will be revealed and all questions will be answered, but now we must trust God and His Word, even though we may not always understand WHY things happened the way that they did. That is part of what living by faith means. And remember that God does not have to give an account to you, rather you must give an account to Him!

*3. Don’t judge. If someone has health problems or fails to live long, it is not for you to judge them. This is unwise as you don’t have the necessary information. God is their only judge. You can not judge rightly by outward appearances. If you had to walk in their shoes and face the challenges and demands they had to face, how do you know you would have done any better? Don’t focus on how well others have run their race, but rather focus on running your own race to the best of your ability. Build your faith and wisdom from the Word of God as best you can, so you can run your race to the end. If you are going to judge someone, judge yourself! 

In other words: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. 
Get your mind off other peoples’ business and onto your own business. 

That is what the Lord said to Peter when he tried to enquire about what would happen to John and the length of his life inJohn 21:21-23: “Peter (after the Lord had revealed to him about how and when he would die), seeing him (John), said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 
Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come (even if he never dies), what is that to you? (“It is none of your business how long he lives! That is a private matter between him and Me”). YOU FOLLOW ME (you should concentrate on fulfilling the will of God for your own life)!” 
Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” 

*Christian Leaders. People especially find it a test of their faith, when a good leader fails to live out the full number of his days. Surely they were following God’s will? Why did God allow them die so young? Again the main answer is that it is between them and the Lord, and when all is revealed we will see that the Lord is not to blame. Some comments about leaders are appropriate to help you respond if this happens. 

First, don’t judge them, because leaders often face greater pressures, stresses and spiritual attacks than others.

Also, if they are not careful they get so caught up in the work of the ministry they are not really dwelling in the secret place, or they can push themselves too hard and don’t take enough rest, so they open themselves to sickness as withEpaphroditus in Philippians 2:25-30: “I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy (healing) on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because (it was) for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” 

Being overly busy, preoccupied with problems or tired from lack of rest and rhythm of life can cause someone to fail to hear and heed a warning of the Spirit that would save his life. 

Also, to whom much is given, much is expected. Because of their position leaders walk a narrower path and they do not get away with what others can (see how one sin ended Moses’ life, preventing him from entering the Land).

Also, a leader may be strong in certain areas of the Word, but weak in others. Was he really believing, trusting, holding onto and confessing God’s faithful promises for healing and long-life?

Be inspired by the positive teachings and examples they have set for you, 
but realise that only Jesus is perfect, so there may be areas of their life 
(such as for long-life) where they have failed to receive the promises. 
So obviously don’t use their life as your example in those areas. 

All these believers who have died are now cheering you on to run your race of faith to the very end, by receiving God’s promises and power to do His will. 

Hebrews 11 describes the heroes of faith - all the believers who have died and gone to heaven, having successfully run their race of faith and been faithful witnesses on the earth. Then Hebrews 12:1 says: 

“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us.” 

The ‘clouds’ is a technical term describing the masses of people watching the runners from above in the upper-stands of the Olympic Stadium. This says that these believers are in the grandstands of heaven cheering us on to run our race with endurance to the end and not quit early. So cast off any sin that slows you down and receive His grace to run the race!

*A Prayer: “Lord, we thank You for Your promises of Long-Life. We thank You for dying young, so that we could live long. We believe Your Word and receive Your promise of long-life, so that we may glorify You and bear much fruit for You, fulfilling Your will for us on the earth. Thank you for giving us newness of life and renewing our youth, so that we can finish what You have called us to do.” 

*A Confession: “I shall not die young, but I shall live long and declare the works of the Lord!”



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