The Jewish calendar has a period of time called Teshuvah, meaning “to turn,” in the last month of the year, Elul, which means “search.” The purpose is for people to turn to God and search their hearts in preparation for the Day of Atonement, when they ask themselves, “Am I ready to die?”
This is reflected in their clothing for the day. Every married Jewish male wears a kittel, a white linen robe that eventually serves as their burial shroud. The robe has no pockets, symbolizing that nothing can be taken along on that journey. It’s a dress rehearsal for death.
Keep in mind that Jesus is Jewish, and He prepared Himself to die. The good news is that when Jesus wore His burial shroud, He left it in a tomb and is raised forevermore.
And we have this wonderful promise in Colossians 2:12:
“You also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
Are we ready to walk into the goodness and provision of God? Sometimes it’s easy to allow bitterness, complaining and anxiety to build up, robbing us of our joy. The more we are asleep to our disobedience, the more we drift away from God without even realizing it.
We need to wake up into the newness of life He has for us. That’s why it is important to examine ourselves to see where we fall short, to ask God to forgive us and set us free. He is merciful and gracious, and He wants to bring us into the Promised Land.
Start by remembering that He loves you. Song of Solomon 6:3 says,
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”
You don’t have to beg Him; He wants you to succeed, and He is in your corner.
Meditate on God’s attributes in Exodus 34:6-7:
“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.”
Then search your heart for anything that is keeping you from wholeheartedly pursuing the promises God has for you.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:16-17).
We need to guard against complacency by asking ourselves, “Am I right with God? Am I ready to meet Him? Am I fully appreciating the salvation that Jesus paid that price for?” This brings a whole new appreciation of what Jesus did for us in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, and in the resurrection.
You get a different perspective on life when facing death. I experienced that first-hand when I nearly died of cerebral malaria in Manila. In that time, the things you used to think were important don’t matter at all. It’s just you and God.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, Paul shared what he learned while facing death:
We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead (NLT).
He expected to die—and as a result, he learned to rely on God, for He will raise us, too.
When we go through hardships, our reaction should be, “This is great because it means God is going to be glorious. He will see me through this and I am going to learn how great He is.”
Jesus came to give you abundant life. In Him, we have new life. No matter what we go through, we can rely on Him. Our hope is in the One who raises the dead. God bless you.
Scripture is quoted from the NKJV except as noted.