I love reading bumper stickers! Sometimes they are comical, sometimes ridiculous and sometimes thought provoking.
As I was driving home recently I spotted a sticker that said, “One Life, One Chance,” and it got me thinking.
There are many situations in this life where this sentiment appears to be true, but it is not. Too often the systems of this world falsely appear to be a “one shot only” thing.
Such thinking causes tremendous stress and pressure in many people. One example that comes to mind is the annual apprehension that comes with the Year 12 VCE or HSC results. Twelve years of schooling gets boiled down to a single result that many kids believe will determine their future and their job prospects.
Talk about pressure! Is it any wonder the news and current affairs programs, all of which thrive on high drama, make a point of covering the stresses and strains of the HSC/VCE results every year?
But is this situation real or just perceived? Will this one score determine the rest of a person’s life and mark them forever as a success or a failure?
Well, for those of you who may have recently been through this or supported someone who has been through it, the answer is…No! As someone who dropped out of year 12 (I preferred to play cards at school…but that’s another story and I don't recommend it), I can say positively that every person’s future is NOT determined by this one result. Your future is determined by the decisions you make throughout your life.
It is definitely not a “one life, one chance” scenario, and neither is any other situation that comes up in this life.
The Truth of This Life
The truth of the matter is this. We exist on planet earth to make a single decision and that choice is not determined by chance. We need to decide whether we will follow Christ or not, and God gives us our whole lifetime to decide where we stand.
For everything else, we get many, many opportunities to change.
Did you fail or drop out of HSC/VCE like I did? Never mind. I went back to school and completed my degree later on, as well as receiving several post-graduate qualifications. These enabled me to work in senior management of a major multi-national company before I retired.
Now I write a blog, write books, write and perform music, teach the gospel, speak and a lot of other things that I do by choice, not chance. Chance does not even come into it.
Most important of all is the choice to follow Christ Jesus. This is the key to everything else, including life itself, and we get many chances to make this decision. Even when we fall, we are given many, many chances to repent and turn again as we learn to walk with Christ.
Look at the love that God has for us, as we are shown in James chapter 4 verse 6.
But he gives more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble”
When we mess up on this earth, and we will, God is not so harsh as to say, “That’s it! You’re outta here!” God does not even go down the “three strikes and your out” path. In fact Jesus taught Peter the principle of how many times repentance and forgiveness should be given when someone sins against us in Matthew 18, verses 21 and 22.
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
If this principle exists for a man with his brethren, how much more does God forgive us when we repent and seek His forgiveness with humility? When we make a mistake and turn to Him in repentance and humility, seeking forgiveness, He forgives us so that we can continue to move forward.
So don't be fooled by the philosophy of that bumper sticker that said, “One Life, One Chance.” It is utterly false, especially when we come to Christ. In Him there is, “Abundant Life, Many Chances.”
The key for all of mankind is to make just one decision: will you stand with God and Jesus Christ, or will you reject Him?
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” John and his wife Colleen travel all over Australia and you will often find him playing guitar or ukulele outside their caravan somewhere in the Great Outback. You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his Christian Bible study blog (freegiftfromgod.com/blog).
John Lemmon’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-lemmon.html