There is something about looking at 40 in the rearview mirror that has spawned much contemplation of where I am on this temporal continuim of life. Statistically I have a hearty start on the 3rd quarter of my life, and if I agree with what Moses prayed in Psalm 90:12, than there is wisdom in contemplating or being taught to “number our days”.
I start thinking about what kind of legacy will I leave on this earth should King Jesus not return for a little while longer. I fear the list of cliched platitudes or superficial attributes that are often sewn in and out of eulogies, phrases like “they were so special”, “they always had a smile on their face”, or the dreaded “he was such a nice guy”.
Not that it is wrong to speak kindly about the recently deceased, but personally I loathe the thought that a synopsis of my life could be distilled down to 20 or 30 minutes of the pitiful “glory” of who I once was, vs the eternal legacy of GOD using this terribly broken instrument in a brief moment in time for His purpose and glory.
If my life is for the glory of GOD, then I so crave my death to be for the glory of GOD. Not that you have to be burned at the stake for sharing the gospel in some unreached tribe, but when you die, will your legacy reveal a life lived for self, or a life lost for Christ?
Which brings me to the point of this post, I think I can safely assume that if you are reading this, that you are alive like me. Which means you too can contemplate where you are in your life? 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or the 4th quarter? Along with how you are going to live out the remainder of days that our gracious Father has given you?
Are your dreams and plans being shaped by the comforts and pleasures of this world which cater to self, or are your actions and ambitions being contoured by the hope of the glory to be revealed when Jesus returns?
Examining myself, God has shown me that it is possible to shroud the sin of complacency by telling others that I am content where God has me, or by cloaking the non-action in my life by telling myself and others that I am faithfully waiting on the Lord? But is my faithful act of waiting, really just a cover for being fearful to step out on a branch that doesn’t look like it will hold my weight?
I dont have answers, the Bible is full of commands to wait on the Lord, which is something that is easy to do if you’re praying about missions in a North African Muslim city. But seems harder to do when your heart flutters and pulse races at the sight of a mutually attracted potential spouse, or when you are offered that 6-figure job in the most desired zip code.
There is no doubt that great discernment and wisdom are needed from GOD to live a life fully pleasing to Him, there is no formula by design, this keeps us completely dependent on the Sustainer of life, to patiently act in faith.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-16
The days may be long, but the years are short. There is a chronic temptation present in the mundaness of day to day life, to grow indifferent to the great purpose that GOD has called me to. I fear waking up one day to the realization that I have spent the days God has given me on self, whether its being consumed by entertainment (in any form), or consumed with introspection on begetting sins.
Whatever the distraction, no matter how selfish or pious it looks, the temptation is the same, to take your eyes, heart, and mind away from Jesus, and place them on x, y, or z.
Instead of looking at my investment portfolio as a measure of a successful life lived, I need rather to look at the souls in my sphere of influence that I have invested in. Instead of recalling memorable moments that I saw live on television, I need rather to recall how many teary-eyed Christ-exalting conversations I have had with lost and broken souls.
The world sells to our comfort driven flesh for 65 years what a “job well done” looks like. A winter home in a warm climate, money in the bank, and health in our bones. Our minds are groomed from the teenage years to dream this dream, unless of course, God’s word takes up deep roots in our hearts, to fight against the lies.
Paul tells us that our life’s work will be revealed in that DAY by fire, it anyones work remains he or she will receive a reward, but if it is burned up, they will suffer loss, though they themselves be saved [1 Cor 3:10-15]. In proper context of the passage, the work he is referring to are the investments made into souls.
So whether you are praying about marriage or missions, or anything in between, ask GOD to search and reveal your heart [Ps 139:23-24], to see if your contentment isn’t really just complacency, and to see if your faithful act of waiting is not really just a cowardly act of fear.
In the end whether you are waiting on the LORD for guidance or moving in obedience to the Lord’s command, if it is done in trust and reliance on GOD than it is not sin [Rom 14:23], and is pleasing to our Father, that His children earnestly seek to learn and understand His will.
Father, I desire to loose my life, not waste it, and yet each day brings with it the temptation of tomorrow. Tomorrow I will read Your word instead of watching television, tomorrow I will write a check to this ministry instead of buying that thing that I don’t need, tomorrow I will sacrifice my evening to listen to a desperate soul’s plea, tomorrow I will tell them that Jesus is the Way, the Life, and the Truth, and that no one can come to the You unless they receive Jesus in faith as their LORD, Savior, and Treasure. Jesus, You have rightly said that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Lord I call upon Your sovereignty and faithfulness to grant the blood-bought promise that Your Spirit helps me in my weakness, and that in my weakness Your power is made perfect. Apart from You I can do nothing, and this conviction will never conceive the fruit of obedience unless You help me. Lord I pray this in Your mighty and matchless name! -Amen