Now that I am a senior saint I find myself reflecting on the past more often than before. Like most people I have few regrets. There are some things that I would do differently and a few things I would not do at all. I keep telling myself that I am older, seasoned and have more wisdom, so I should make better decisions. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
Through this self-reflection process I have learned a few things about my older self. Maybe you can identify with some of the things that I have learned.
1. Too much reflection causes me to center on my failures and stupid decisions. I have found that too much reflection causes me to delve into the world of “what if’s”. When we ponder all the “what if’s” of life we begin to second guess many of our past decisions. The result is always an unhealthy picture of us as failures. Then we have the danger of becoming fixated on the past. We have a tendency to focus on the negative and miss the great things God has done for and through us. I must remember that God does not dwell in the world of “What If”.
2. The greatest moments of my life were when I was “all in”. I am an “all in or nothing” guy. Whatever I am doing I am laser focused, and fully commit myself to the task. I have found that there is a connection between my level of commitment and my overall spiritual condition. When I make a deliberate decision to wholly consecrate my life to Christ’s complete control, I am able to approach any opportunity that God brings my way with passion and zeal. As I submit my every thought to the Spirit’s control, my guidance comes. I have found that I must stay hungry for God’s touch on all that I do, whether it’s a ministry project or a business opportunity. I find if I am not consciously hungry for God, I am full of myself, which usually means I am dead in the water and pretty much useless. For me, my passion to begin and sustain any new project is directly related to my present level of consecration. I have to keep in mind that I can’t separate my spiritual life from my secular life. As a committed follower of Christ every area of our life has a spiritual connection.
3. Surrender and abandonment must not just be something that we’ve learned in the past. Just because I have personally experienced surrender and abandonment in the past does not mean I am experiencing it today. Surrender and abandonment should be a daily awareness. A lack of surrender almost never occurs suddenly. It’s usually a gradual thing that occurs when we begin to take back control of our self-centered life. We forget that God can do more in one moment than we can do in a lifetime of operating out of our own strength. For me, I learned that I must have a daily consciousness of my need to surrender everything and person to His control.
4. The older I get the more I need Him. The longer I walk with God the more inadequate I feel and the more dependent I am on the Holy Spirit’s guidance. For me, daily fellowship with God is the key to keeping the fire of God burning in my soul. For many years my daily devotional time was driven by a need to feel accepted by God. I felt as if I had to do my daily ritual because I wanted God to be pleased with me. Then one day I discovered that God loved and accepted me because I was in Christ, not because I was a good performer. There was nothing I could do that would make Him love me more or accept me more. Now my daily fellowship with God is not just a mechanical event that occurs in the morning, but an all-day acknowledgment of God’s presence and acceptance. That creates a deep longing in me to bask in God’s love and fellowship and to enjoy Him as He enjoys me. Regular, deliberate fellowship with God is one of my essentials to maintaining an ongoing love relationship with my heavenly Father.
What’s the bottom line? I think the lyrics to this old gospel song best reflects what I am trying to convey.
“I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord. No tender voice like thine can peace afford. I need thee oh I need thee, every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Savior, I come to thee.”
(I Need Thee Every Hour by Hawks and Lowry)