Life is a gift. Making choices about how we spend our hours and days is a luxury. In the last couple weeks, I had a birthday; and as each year passes, I become more and more aware of how precious is the gift of life.
Jesus did not say,
'Friends, I have come to offer you a life of stress...'
'Brothers, I gave up royalty and came to earth to
bring you a mediocre life.'
No, Jesus does not offer us a life of mediocrity, right?
Instead, he came that we may have life, and have it abundantly.1 Paul's words motivate me - "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise."2
Wise living does not just honor God, but it increases our longevity. A little more research on longevity points to communities (blue zones) where people hold several priorities in common: faith in God, steady, years-long relationships in community, maintaining a garden, a mostly-plant based diet to top the list. Moraitis, the man from Ikarias, swears by his daily afternoon nap and a couple glasses of red wine (from his own vineyard).
Let's take the first: our relationship with God-our faith. Jesus' brilliant reply when asked about the greatest commandment: "Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."3 As we learn to love God more, our faith in him grows stronger.
>Pray - set time apart to talk to your Father, like you do a friend, and seek his wisdom and direction daily. It is great to shoot little prayers up throughout the day, but why not start your day with a few minutes of prayer? Learn to cultivate a little solitude in your life. The psalmist wrote, "Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in him, and he will do it.4 Ask God to grow your desire for him and for his Word.
>Read and study Scripture. The sacred pages are fascinating and informative, worth what it takes to pull out the meaning and application for yourself.
>Do you worship God? Oh, how he loves that! Sure, I know you do not need to go to church to be a Christian, but why would you want to miss out? By the way, people involved in faith communities (attending/participating at least four times a month), extend their lives between four and 14 years!)
>Serve God by serving others; giving of your time and physically serving is valuable in so many ways.
Would you like to grow in any of these areas this year? How so? _______________________________________________________
How will you make it happen?_________________________________
Without a vision, the people perish . . . so live your life on purpose. Let's do some thinking and praying, and then determine how we want to finish this New Year we have been given. Go ahead--enVISION yourself crossing the finish line, with your chest pressed out, breaking the tape--!
Let's make it a Blessed 2018!
p.s. - thought the longevity angle was a fresh take on considering growth in the New Year; did you find it interesting? Here's a link for more:
Personally, it is not necessarily about extending my life, but feeling good, being well and thinking well during my lifetime. What say you? Hit 'reply' and comment.
1 - John 10.10b, NASB
2 - Ephesians 5.15, NIV
3 - Mark 12.30
4 - Psalm 37.5