North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    In the first quarter of 2020 a virus called COVID-19 or Coronavirus began a global outbreak. It started in China and spread to other parts of the world as people traveled internationally. It has become pandemic for many countries, including the United States. The Governor of Florida has directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Agency for Health Care Administration to take action to restrict access to vulnerable populations for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19. People over 60-65 years of age are the ones at most risk for developing complications from the virus. Those that are not in good health are most vulnerable at becoming sick and risk possible death. People with high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, or diabetes appeared to develop serious illness more often than others.    These facts place growing older in a negative light. Age is supposed to make some things better. Aged beef is supposed to be tastier than fresh beef. Aged cheese is supposed to be of fine quality as compared to fresh cheese. Fine antique furniture is supposed to be better than new furniture. But that’s not necessarily true with human life. There’s no promise in the Bible that growing older makes us better. Aging in the Bible is said to be a sign of experience and wisdom. The Lord does promise His continued love and concern for the elderly. Isaiah 46:4 says, “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Genesis 25:8 references Abraham’s age when it says, “And he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life”. Other positive references in Scripture to the aged include Proverbs 20:29: “The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old”. And Job 12:12: “Wisdom belongs to the aged and understanding to the old”.

    As we grow older, we may become better, get worse, or remain the same. What matters is not the age; it’s the relationship we have with God and others. It’s not the number of years; it’s what we do with our years that affects what we will be when we are older. Some people think of life as a series of watertight compartments: childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, senior adulthood, and the last years. Some believe you can live within each phase the way you want and then open the door and move to the next one, all the while shutting the past behind you. That belief leads some young people to consider sowing their wild oats before settling down. It is used as a basis to explain away sexual looseness by a person who says, “While I’m young I’ll enjoy sex with lots of different people; then I’ll marry one person and live faithfully and happily the rest of my life”. There’s no indication whatsoever in reason or revelation that such is the case. Why should infidelity develop fidelity?

    What a person is, is what a person becomes. Life is not like a series of watertight compartments; it is more like a river. If you pollute the source, you pollute the end. Whatever you drop into a river affects the water downstream. Whatever you drop into life at each point affects what happens to life when you are older.

    A person who does not treat their body as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, who abuses it through taking drugs, eating too much of the wrong kind of food, or failing to get adequate rest or exercise, will suffer from the damage done to the body. What is sowed is what is reaped. When you are older it is not possible to shut a compartment and move into the next where there is a fresh, new body to inhabit. Rather, you will drag into those older years the body which you have afflicted in the earlier ones.

    What is true of your body is true of your mind and attitude. What you read, experience, listen to, observe, and dwell on becomes part of you for the rest of your life. I’ve had people tell me: “I want to experience all life has to offer. I want to try everything at least once if I can.” It’s virtually impossible to experience all life has to offer. I want to experience the best—the most constructive and productive—life has to offer, partly because by doing the best now I can look forward to living with the results and memories of those good experiences for the rest of my life.

    Life is like a free-running stream. What you and I will be when we are older is dependent upon what we do right now. That’s true in every area of life—finance, health, attitude, behavior, and relationships. You are rapidly becoming the kind of person you are going to be for the rest of your life. There is nothing in the span of life that automatically improves itself. On the other hand, a generous, happy, fulfilled, content, ministry-oriented middle-aged adult, is likely to be that kind of person when he or she grows older. Expect no magic with the passing of years. We will have in the future what we have acquired in the present. The only thing that transforms us is God Himself, not age. The only way we can experience the transforming power of God is to open our life to Him, to the ministry of His Spirit through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a health educator for the State of Florida, U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him by email: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Mar 15 2020. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, News, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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