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For God’s Sake: Trust in Christ Jesus today and truly live

Soon we were longing for our teen years and especially our 16th, that age of newfound freedom afforded by a driver’s license. At 18, we officially crossed the threshold from childhood to adulthood.

Our twenties were the decade of optimistic contentment when youthful exuberance met adult freedom and resources.

The world was now ours! Looming on the approaching horizon were the dreaded thirties, which appeared to us as a downward slope pulling us relentlessly toward mundane, middle age then, gasp, to old age. Our perspective on aging changed yet again, and we began to report our age in vague, general terms. “I’m in my forties.”

Retirement marks another threshold in life. Relieved of the adult responsibility of gainful employment, we have kid-like freedom and, hopefully, the resources to enjoy it. We stoke the long dormant fires of youthful exuberance to stir reluctant bodies.

By God’s grace, we enter a time when, as our childhood selves once did, we again proudly mark our years in fractions. “I am 83 ½ years old.” Then, should God grant you the many years he has given my father-in-law, we ask, “How old am I?”

Pondering this curiosity of life, I am reminded of the psalmist’s request of God, “Teach us how to number our days, so that we may get a heart of wisdom.” He is not asking God for the ability to count his days but the wisdom to make his days count. Adding more years to life does not make it better, adding more life to our years does. Such a wise, “lively” life can be had in Christ Jesus.

Jesus presented himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, those whom God the Father has given to him. He laid down his life for his sheep when he died on the cross, satisfying God’s just wrath for their sins.

Three days later, God the Father raised him from the dead so that his sheep “too might walk in newness of life.” In describing himself as the Good Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus distinguished himself from the indifferent hirelings and malevolent thieves. “The thief comes only to steal and destroy,” Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

An abundant life is what the psalmist desired.

People today are living longer but are we living better? How we assess the quality of our lives depends on the standard against which we measure. God would have us live godly lives, not to somehow earn this new, abundant life, but as the spiritual byproduct of a life already surrendered to Christ in faith.

Trust in Christ Jesus today and truly live!


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