This passage about the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is always convicting to me. I know that my life should exhibit these fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), but sometimes, some of the fruits are very challenging for me. For example, today I’m thinking about my “word for the year,” PEACE. Most of the time I do feel peace, as in content, absent from conflict, etc. But when it comes to the issue of getting older (notice I do not use the word “aging,”—that probably says something right there), I’m not sure I bear the fruit of “peace” with the whole idea.
At one point I went to a Christian book store and asked for books on “aging gracefully.” The only books they had to show me were basically comedy, funny things about aging. So, I thought maybe I should write a book about Aging GRACEfully, since the market is not flooded with such, that I could find. But then I realized I would need to have arrived at the place of knowing what I was talking about. Not there then. Still not there.
So, I save articles that I find that are encouraging, and I read those repeatedly. One such article was written by Brenda Rodgers, who has a blog at www.brendarodgers.com. Though still a young woman herself, she has some wisdom to offer.
Following are some of her reminders:
The media would have us believe there is little good about getting older. Youth, beauty, and vitality are celebrated and preserved. Age is pitied. But there is another perspective I can choose. It is one that values the gift of time I have on earth, not just my time as a young woman, but my time as a middle-aged and older woman, too, because in God’s economy, time sees eternity.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
At the beginning of our lives our bodies are full of strength and our souls are unwise and careless. But as we age, our bodies and souls change places. Our bodies become weak, but our souls continue to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God, by being renewed each day. This is what carries us into our ultimate renewal—our glorification in heaven.
What I have now that I didn’t have in my younger years is perspective, maturity, and experience. I have wisdom.
It is as if the purpose of the first half of a person’s life is to create stories, and the second half is to tell them. The second half is the legacy-building years.
Viewing the later years as legacy-building years gives them even more purpose than those ambitious, determined, full-of-life years. The legacy-building years change generations and affect eternity.
The Bible encourages us to not grow weary, but to run our race of life to the very end.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Hebrews 12:1-4
The legacy years cannot be wasted.
I want to finish well. This is one of my favorite verses: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” Psalm 71:18 ESV
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