Summary: To live a life worth living, anticipate the Father’s grace, imitate the Father’s character; and respect the Father’s judgment and love.
How do you know if you’re getting old? Perhaps, Greg Laurie can help us answer that question. He says:
You know you're getting old when you actually look forward to a dull evening at home.
You know you're getting old when your mind makes commitments your body cannot keep.
You know you're getting old when everything hurts, and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.
You know you're getting old when you sink your teeth into a big, juicy steak—and they stay there.
You know you're getting old when you dim the lights for economic reasons, not romantic ones.
You know you're getting old when you've owned clothes for so long, they've come back into style twice.
You know you're getting old when you sing along to elevator music.
You know you're getting old when you quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks in the room. (Greg Laurie, “God's Cure for Heart Trouble,” Preaching Today Audio Issue no. 282; www.PreachingToday.com)
Like it or not, we’re all getting old, but that’s not something to get depressed about. In fact, there are some very real benefits to growing old if you have the right attitude. Warren Wiersbe put it this way: “Outlook determines outcome; attitude determines action.”
So what kind of attitude does it take for you to enjoy life even as you’re getting old? What outlook do you need not just to weather life’s storms, but to do something significant with your life in the midst of those storms? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Peter 1, 1 Peter 1, where God through the Apostle Peter gives some advice to a group of believers going through the storms of Nero’s persecution.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (ESV)
If you’re going to live a life worth living today, then…
ANTICIPATE GOD’S GRACE TOMORROW.
Be fully confident of your Heavenly Father’s favor. Be totally assured of your Lord’s unconditional love and undeserved blessings, all of which He will bring to you when Jesus comes again.
In other words, be wholly optimistic. Live life with an eager anticipation of the joys ahead from a Father who loves you unconditionally.
I remember when I was a little boy growing up in Maryland, my father would make periodic business trips to Huntsville, Alabama, or to Southern California, sometimes for weeks at a time. Those were not always easy times for our family, but when my dad returned home from each trip, he always brought a special gift for each of us, his children. I remember thinking, “Dad’s gone on another trip! I wonder what he will bring me this time when he comes back.” You see, it was the anticipation of those gifts that helped us endure his absence and almost enjoy the fact that he had been away.
In the same way, as you anticipate the grace to be brought to you when Jesus returns, you too can endure and almost enjoy the time He is away. It’s that kind of optimism that will help you live well even in times of stress. Your attitude makes a crucial difference in dealing with life, and believers in Christ have every reason to be optimistic.
As a believer in Christ, your future is guaranteed! You have an incorruptible inheritance and the power of God protecting you until you get to glory (1 Peter 1:4-5). But sometimes that glorious future is hard to see, isn’t it, especially when your days are dark?
That’s why you need to discipline your mind. Control your thoughts so you can be hopeful even when the outlook seems bleak. Verse 13 says, “Prepare your minds” – literally, gird up the loins of your mind.
In Bible days, when a man went to work, he picked up the end of his long robe, pulled it between his legs, and tucked it into his belt. That’s what it means to “gird up your loins,” and that’s the picture we have here of the mental preparation it takes to think positively in a world so full of negativity. Today, we might say, “roll up your sleeves for mental action” (Swanson).
A positive attitude takes some preparation and a clear head or a sober mind, as verse 13 puts it. Vance Havner once said, “You can’t be optimistic with a misty optic.” It takes a clear head to be optimistic. It takes a sober mind to be full of hope when everybody else is full of despair.
Think about a fighter pilot’s trained instincts. That's how they can react immediately to rapidly changing situations as they operate $27 million war machines. When an enemy aircraft is closing in, there's no time for pilots to reason through what to do. They have to rely on instinct—but not just natural instinct. They need instincts shaped deep within then through years of regiment. The countless little decisions they make in the cockpit are automatic, but that doesn't mean they're involuntary. The pilot voluntarily trained for them; and in the cockpit, he reaps the instinctive benefits of that training. (Dr. Jeremy Pierre, “Involuntary Sins,” TABLETALK, June 2016; www.PreachingToday.com)