Recently, in addressing a group of university students, I mentioned the joy I was experiencing in walking with Christ for over a half a century. A young man attending that meeting called to have lunch. "Dwight, as I look around I cant find men still walking with God as they reach their senior years. Including my dad. Am I going to fall off the cliff too? How have you been able to sustain your walk?"
One of the things I mentioned to him is the fact that we learn to live victoriously and close to Christ a day at a time. A lifetime is the composite of thousands of daily lives. We dont one day just "fall off the cliff"! Remember Jesus instruction? "Don’t worry about tomorrowToday’s trouble is enough for today." (Matt. 6:34b)
Hopefully, the following questions will prove helpful in ascertaining whether or not we are on the right track:
What are your goals?
+ That is, what do you want most in life? Is it all about you and your career? Impressing your peers? Proving to yourself that you can "make it?" Is your life all about the here and now? Or are your goals primarily about things eternal? Consider Jesus word of caution, "And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?" (Matt. 16:26)
What do you think about?
What captivates your thoughts, emotions, and passions? That which dominates your thought life determines your very essence. "As [a man] thinks within himself, so he is." (Prov. 23:7b) Is that a comforting truth, in light of Jesus warning, "There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." (Lk. 8:17)
How do you spend your money?
Do your spending habits reflect selfish indulgence or sacrificial generosity? For example, does your checkbook indicate a genuine concern for the less fortunate? (Prov. 19:17) And a genuine concern for the advancement of the Gospel? Do you harbor a secret desire to be rich? "Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be." (Matt. 6:21 NLT)
What are you pursuing?
How, for example do you spend your leisure time? Are your quests wholesome and honoring to Christ? Were he to show up would he be pleased? Would you be comfortable or embarrassed?
Who are your friends?
Who are the people you hang out with? Do they inspire you toward a life of nobility and excellence? Do they raise the bar in terms of your thinking and aspirations? Or do they cause you to slog along in mediocrity? Solomon reminds us, "Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm." (Prov 13:20) (See Heb. 10:24)
What grabs your attention?
Whom and what do you admire and appreciate? Is it the beautiful people who have "made it" to the top? Or those who have sacrificially invested their lives for the Kingdom of God? (The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive!) "Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people." (Rom. 12:16b NLT)
What amuses you?
How about your humor? Is it uplifting, gracious and disciplined, or dark, degrading and off-color? It is incomprehensible that Jesus would tolerate debased humor. "Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful" (Eph. 4:29b NLT)
+ Key ideas adapted from an article by A. W. Tozier