Good News About Your ‘Real Age’

CC BY Joao Lavinha
CC BY Joao Lavinha

I teach adolescents and teenagers and interact with them a great deal. At the end of the day, they have free-time and love to run. Since I used to run regularly and am very competitive, I sometimes join in or challenge them; however, this has taught me some things about myself.

They think I’m on the cusp of 30, which was more than a decade ago for me. And that’s eye-opening to me now. When you’re young, even well into your 30’s, you feel invincible. If you’re blessed with good health, the idea of disease or life lived in a chronic, decrepit, or degenerating condition is all but a foreign concept. Most young people haven’t had to closely interact with the sick or experience life in a way that makes them more aware of their mortality.

Then, you get older. And, like me, sprinting against kids more than half my age young, what was once so easy to do is now attended by pulls, aches, and windedness and next-morning tightness.

Seeking God Early

When I reflect on this, I also think of spiritual fitness, a real comparison. I remember when, as a pre-teen—as young as some I teach now—I became more serious than ever about living for Christ. My instinct was to do an about-face regarding everything, although I had never been bad.

I memorized scripture, prayed fervently, developed a regimented life in the disciplines, and discovered more joy in Christ than I could’ve imagined. I can attest to the truth of Ecclesiastes 12 about seeking the Lord in youth and before days of hardship.

But how is my spiritual life now—not the evolving young one, but the more experienced older one? I’m not nearly an old person, but I have walked with Christ consistently from my earliest youth. And I notice some things.

Contentment in Serving Christ

I don’t feverishly memorize scripture as I once did. It’s tough to keep a set hour of prayer, and I cannot pray for hours as I once did. The disciplines aren’t exciting and experimental as they first happened.

Although I rely on a concordance now, the scriptures are richer. My mind is squarely seated before God during my day; I don’t feel guilty about missing prayer. And I live each day with a conduct that was molded out of the deep discipline of yesteryear.

May I suggest that the spiritual life is slightly akin to physical life. Youth brings with it prowess and agility, but with age comes maturity, wisdom, and establishment. In my endeavor to know and embrace God, there is now far less attempt at it, much less nimbleness and feat, and much more rest in it—in him.

So although the river may not run as fast anymore, it certainly runs deeper than ever.

Sometimes life just gets in the way of being in tip-top form—you know, like that gym membership we’ve all owned that quietly expired without much use. But thank God that although fitness is appreciated at whatever stage you’re at, heart might matter more.

I’ve got just as much, if not more, determination to live for Jesus. Even better, the race is given to those who endure, and there are more ways to endure than by dexterity alone. Hey, my friend, don’t lose heart.

11 thoughts on “Good News About Your ‘Real Age’

  1. Great thoughts indeed, Mike. I love your insight. Not too long ago I was bemoaning how I used to know so much scripture and now it seems I don’t remember it. (50+years old) My daughter chided, “You’ve hidden His word in your heart so well, you are having trouble finding it!” Talk about a new thought! I loved it and when you referred to Eccl. It gave it even more meaning. Thanks for writing.

    • Hi Angela! Thanks for such a positive and encouraging comment. It’s amazing how the Lord will truly compliment us and cause us to see that being diligent and persistent to seek him changes, or morphs, our spiritual physiology in a way that perfects us rather than causing us to age as we know it physically. That’s a blessing! I can’t wait to meet you on the other side in a truly glorious state that you labored for in this life. Blessings!

  2. Great message, Mike. I fully agree. And a double blessing is to be about as fit as the younger ones and have them see your steadfastness and fellowship with God, which is by far the most important. I too am privileged to work with 20 and 30 somethings a lot. I can actually keep up or even do more thank they do physically which makes it fun as well both ways. Glad to see you Mike. I hope you have a great Christmas season.

  3. Great analysis. I certainly know how age has slowed me down. I’m 39, but my wife affectionately tells me that her grandmother got around better than I do. And she was in her 80s.

    When I was a new believer, I voraciously studied and memorized scripture like a machine. I’ve gotten lazy with memorization, and I’ve only been a true believer for five years, but I still study voraciously with commentaries and such. Perhaps I study more, but I’m more seasoned and biblical references pop into my head during conversations or watching tv and I’m beginning to see parallels and a much clearer picture regarding the Bible. It’s all connected by a scarlet thread, and I’m thrilled every time God reveals something new.

    • Awesome! People fret the spiritual life and walking with Christ; but it matures, evolves, and gets better and better. Only the persistent ones will learn that. Thanks, Ted.

  4. Really a blessed message! “there is now far less attempt at it, much less nimbleness and feat, and much more rest in it—in him.” Was thinking those same lines yesterday, as I am resting in Him especially this season and not scrambling having to make sure that He is central to everything I do. “My mind is squarely seated before God during my day…” That has become so true, and yet when did it just happen? So much training, practice, conviction, recommitting, retraining then quietly it’s just who we are.

    So happy that you have the opportunity to be feeding into the lives of young people! What an answer to so many prayers!

    • Hey there! Thanks so much. I love how you say “when did it just happen?” So true…after much training time. Thanks so much for your prayers. When I can come up for a breath, I’ll write you. Cheers!

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