The process of aging may be effortless, but it certainly isn’t easy.
Having crossed the “Mid-Life” summit more than a decade ago, I am now traveling the downhill side of the average life expectancy mountain. And some days the journey can be a little taxing.
I am losing hair from areas where I would most like to keep it, and growing new hair in places where I never really wanted it.
My waist size is threatening to one day catch up with my chest size.
When I was in my 20’s I could mentally compose a shopping list that included 12 items from three different stores. I would set out to make those purchases without a single written reminder, and arrive home, mission complete, not having forgotten a single thing.
Now, if I need more than 3 items from a single store, I know from experience that I had better write them down. That is a humbling admission. More humbling still is to stand in the produce aisle, desperately searching my pockets, trying to remember where I put my shopping list!
The culture that we live in is obsessed with youthfulness. It constantly sends us the message that the appearance of aging is to be avoided at all costs: Cover up the gray! Smooth out the wrinkles! Liposuction away that middle-age spread!
Have you ever tallied up the number of “Look young” messages you encounter during a simple trip to the supermarket? From the vitamin aisle, to the cosmetics counter, to the health and beauty magazines prominently placed at the check out lane you cannot escape the cultural credo: “Do all you can to look forever young!”
It should come as no surprise to those who have spent a little time getting to know God’s Word that the biblical attitude toward outward appearance is quite different from the message of today’s youth-obsessed consumer culture.
While the hair coloring industry urges us to “Get out the gray!”, God’s Word consoles with the message “Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life.” (Proverbs 16:31)
As we read God’s Word we discover that our heavenly Father is not overly troubled by the outward signs of maturity that cause alarm for so many people today. What truly troubles God’s heart are inner signs of immaturity.
Consider the following Scriptures:
Written to a church where many are new believers, I Peter 2:2 encourages -“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
Addressed to those who are older in the faith, Hebrews 6:1 urges -“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ, and go on to maturity…”
Speaking to believers at all stages of their spiritual development, II Peter 3:18 says – “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”
When God looks at our lives, He wants to see signs of maturity! Of course, the maturity that interests God is that of the spirit, not that of the body. Consider the words God spoke to the prophet Samuel in the second half of I Samuel 16:7: “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
To gain a greater sense of what God is looking for in our hearts I encourage you to pick up your Bible and prayerfully consider the marks of maturity described in the following passages:
I Thessalonians 3:12,13
II Peter 1:3-11.
-written by Gary Finley, Director of Development at IDES