Monday, October 13, 2014
60 IS THE NEW...40??
Well, in my opinion, 60 is still the same old 60.
Emphasis on old.
Sure, there are those who say 60 is the new 40. (Why are most of them celebrities?? Or plastic surgeons??). I gotta say, there is a part of me that agrees with that idea. For instance, I think I'm in much better shape than my parents were when they turned 60. I think my mindset is younger, too.
I admit to standing in front of my mirror and *test-driving* what it would look like if I had a little "work" done. I tug a little here, and pull a little there. Not bad.
But here’s what I'm thinking about…
What is so bad about growing older?
Well, for one thing, it's certainly not applauded in a culture that's obsessed with chasing the fountain of youth. We're often embarrassed to share our real age, we're chagrined to admit we qualify for "senior discounts," and we bemoan the travails that age brings.
Don't get me wrong, I am NOT a fan of arthritis, cellulite, or menopause.
But c'mon – let's admit the truth.
We cannot stop the aging process.
Back a generation or so ago, old age was venerated, not despised. Older people were sought out for their wisdom. Now they're often marginalized as irrelevant.
And folks, I think it's more than just sad – I think it's unbiblical.
You see, I believe that God sees old age as a gift. I believe that He bestows long life on some people because He has very specific purposes for those who wear a crown of gray hair (even if it's dyed!).
And what might be those purposes?
I've got some ideas:
1) Passing on wisdom
Now, I'm not going to boast that I'm wiser now that I'm older. But you know, I just might be. Experiences (good and bad) have a way of showing us life with a clearer vision. And sometimes as our physical eyes grow blurry, our inner person is focusing more accurately on the Lord and His ways. We have an obligation and the privilege of passing on the wisdom that He has given us through the years.
2) Teaching truth
Years of being in church and Bible studies, searching the Scriptures on my own, and learning to listen to the Spirit – all of these things have served to give me a greater insight into and understanding of Truth. No, I'm not always right (don't tell "The Hub"!!), but, I am well-acquainted with God's Word, and I am privileged to teach others what He's shown me to be true.
3) Testifying to God's faithfulness
Sometimes God's faithfulness can only be seen by looking back over the years. By remembering. By reflecting on the ways His hand was at work when we may not have even been aware of it. It is from this perspective of a long-range view, that we can tell others about God's immutability – His unchanging character, and His unfailing grace.
4) Exhibiting inner beauty
I'm not gonna lie. I do not like the effects of aging on my body. I fight against it. I've got lots of creams and gels and serums. Wrinkles still abide happily on my face. I've tried whitening my teeth. Results are mixed. Saggy is the new adjective that's replaced perky and firm. And my makeup routine? A well-coordinated effort at hiding, disguising, and diminishing spots and flaws. And DO NOT get me started on tweezing.
But, there is a beauty that is more meaningful to God, for He does not judge on appearances. God looks on the heart. And so, I believe that we are called to age gracefully – and full of grace.
5) Praying for others
The power of prayer is never diminished by age. In fact, some of the most powerful prayer warriors I know are much older than I am. So, why bemoan our increasing physical immobility if we can travel and cover the world with prayer from our own homes? As we get older, we can always explore and develop this most awesome aspect of prayer – the effective intercessory prayer. The enemy would love us to focus on all the things that we can't do as well as we used to. And that's because he's afraid of what we can accomplish on our knees!
So, God loves His *older* saints.
Yes, He does.
And He is never finished with our work or our purpose or our sanctification until He calls us home.
I figure that every day I wake up, He has something for me to do. Sure, sometimes I don't know what it is, and sometimes I want a *big* something to do – the lure of big ministry, and big audiences, and big recognition still tugs at me. But, I cannot allow myself to be sidetracked by that distraction. If I do, then I will forget the *smaller* things He wants me to do.
To pass on wisdom, to teach the truth, to testify to God's faithfulness, to exhibit inner beauty, and to pray for others.
Important tasks, and vital purposes.
60 is the new 40?
But it IS the age where God is going to use me now!
Oh Lord, teach me to value myself in the way that You do. Show me that the image in the mirror will never be as important as the reflection of a heart that longs for You. Grant me wisdom, and help me to pass it on. Reveal more of Your truth, and let me teach others about it. Give me the courage to testify to Your faithfulness and unchanging character. Help me to focus on the inner beauty of a spirit totally yielded to You. Equip and enable me to pray for others like a warrior.
And though I'm growing older, I am grateful for every day You give me, until You call me home.
And THAT is going to be the best day ever!
"You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul...You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deuteronomy 11:18-19, ESV)
"Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart." (Psalm 51:6, ESV)
"Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren." (Deuteronomy 4:9, NLT)
"My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long...I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power...I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD. I will tell everyone that you alone are just...I will tell about your righteous deeds all day long..." (From Psalm 71, NLT)
"My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long...I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come." (From Psalm 71, NLT)
"...in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
(1 Peter 3:15, NIV)
"I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done." (Psalm 9:1, NLT)
"O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do." (Psalm 71:17, NLT)
"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness...Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised." (Psalm 31:25-26, 30, NLT)
"Your adornment must not be merely external...but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:3-4, NASB)
"The LORD doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
(1 Timothy 2:1-4, ESV)
"...pray for each other...The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16, NLT)
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16, NIV
(NOTE: My birthday was several months ago, but I am still reflecting - and adjusting - to my first year in this new decade!!)
What do you think are some things that God wants you to do as you grow older?
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