“Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained in the way of righteousness” Proverbs 16:31
This summer presented itself with many conversations around middle age and mid-life crises. I for one don’t see myself as middle aged, but enjoyed bantering back and forth with my older-feeling friends. We spoke of the typical new toys, sports car or weekend homes, and we joked about mid-sections expanding, eyes drooping and arms sagging. Yet as the night got later and the inhibitions lowered, side conversations focused around ailing parents, mundane or stalled careers, and marriages feeling more like roommates than lovers.
Stories sprinkled with disenchantment.
Faces downturned with disappointment.
When we use the world’s yardstick to measure our accomplishments, we never measure up. There is always more to aspire, desire and acquire. What a comfort to be able to share an alternative lifestyle, that even in the world and its empty promises, there is a much better plan and path to travel:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. Jeremiah 29:11-13
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” Proverbs 16:3
If you click to read our four Good Word blogs on Struggles, and you’ll read heartache around an unexpected stroke, barriers of trust with God, how to surrender control, and how trials can strengthen us…
Each one of us had to change the path we were currently skipping along and abruptly alter the expectations we held and give it all up to God. And in it, we found a new way to live each day. By flipping the notion of “living up” to worldly expectations, we can seek to live a life worthy of the Lord.
Thankfully Paul wrote these 7 steps out for us, and for the people of Colossae and Laodicea, while he was in prison (Colossians 1:9-14):
To live a life worthy of the Lord, we should continually talk to God, asking specifically to… (insert “me” or your friend’s name where “Kristie” appears):
1. Have friends continually praying for Kristie,
2. Fill Kristie with the knowledge of God’s will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that Kristie may live a life worthy of the Lord and please God in every way,
3. Help Kristie bearing fruit in every good work,
4. Help Kristie grow in the knowledge of God,
5. Allow Kristie to be strengthened with all power according to the Lord’s glorious might so that Kristie may have great endurance and patience,
6. and remind Kristie to give joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified Kristie to share in the inheritance of God’s holy people in the kingdom of light.
7. For God has rescued Kristie from the dominion of darkness and brought Kristie into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom Kristie has redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Are you ready to be a student again? Increasing your knowledge of God and the knowledge of His will, will be an on-going, work in progress, and never to be completed …yet so worth every newfound discovery about Him in scripture (this week my ‘wow’ is: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” Isaiah 26:4), every pause in creation, every prayer answered, every worship song sung.
Bearing Fruit is more than doing good deeds, it’s taking action in areas to which you’re being called to help others. It will be unique to your giftings (serving meals to homeless, spending time with widows and widowers at nursing homes, generously giving money to poor of your city and the world, witnessing to those in your community). The Holy Spirit will prompt you to speak of Jesus while in action, and to give glory to God for these good works.
Living a life worthy of the Lord won’t be easy. I honestly often feel there are more trials and challenges as I become a stronger believer. Yet as I continue removing the plank from my eye (Matthew 7:5), taming my tongue (James 3:1), asking for forgiveness and changing my ways through repenting (note the verb choice… this too is an ongoing, never-ending process), I am cleaning up baggage that has hindered my growth and capacity to love…and it truly feels freeing!
How often do we forget to thank God for the blessings and answered prayers? …And did you catch those last two verses? As co-blogger Jennifer reacted “We already have a seat at God’s table, so we should lean into that and live that!!!” Yes, better than any job evaluation or performance review, God claims us as His own and will bless you as a good, good Father desires. Stop for a moment, though. Without the belief in the Salvation Jesus gives you, you are only living a good earthly life.
“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours”. (Psalm 128: 1-2)
I may not love the new “sparkle” I’m finding amongst my dark hair, but if it’s from experiencing a life worth living, then they can continue to crown this head in splendor.
As we launch the Good Word of “fellowship” next week, I will be praying the 7-points above by name for the women and girls with which I am in small group. Won’t you pass this along to your husbands and friends too? Prayer is a powerful connection with our Heavenly Father, not to mention the first point of Paul’s lesson.
Please pray with me: Heavenly Father, thank you for all of your prophets and disciples who wrote your desires for us to follow thousands of years later. Please help us redefine our expectations to your wants, which are uniquely planned and blessed for each one of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.