There are several things that many Christians do not seem to come to the understanding of until much later in their walk with Christ, and although it is never too late, for every moment of this life that what we have been blessed with counts, when the realization of these truths finally becomes known to us, many times we can see behind us, at least in part, a wasted life.
The life of the born-again believer has one purpose, to glorify Jesus Christ, all other considerations are secondary. Did you notice I did not say “are to be secondary,” for that would infer adherence to the commandments against our free will, a works-based theology that has no place in the believer’s life. We should place Christ first in all we do, say or think because we love Him, not because we are compelled to for any other reason. One of the main things that the mature Christian begins to understand in the flowering of that spiritual maturity is just how much time he wasted in the time before Jesus became all to him, a life that he now knows was not devoted to His service. Time spent in the pursuit of the things of the world, the pleasures that it offered, the excitement of the new and unexplored, what was over the next hill was much more important than what was being formed in his heart.
One of Satan’s great ploys is to set the world before the born-again believer and entice him with all its pleasures, he is very good at this, and we are so easily led astray. Our gracious Lord though is long suffering, He knows our frame, (Psalm 103:14) and He directs the steps of His children. (Prov. 16:9) Even though the weaker brothers faith is growing, he rarely grows into what our Lord desires, or perhaps better said, the opportunities that are available to him are never sought out with a fervent desire, his heart is true, his abilities are intact, but he will not submit to the Lord with the fulness of his life. The cares of the world come after the pleasures, those who will not look back on their lives to see how and where the Lord has been merciful to them, will see nothing but the continuing cares of this world ahead of them. The loss of income, or at least the slow depleting of it, the frailty of the flesh that awaits with old age, watching as long known friends reach the ends of their lives, knowing full well that their own time is at hand. As the old saying goes, “youth is wasted on the young,” but my brothers and sisters in Christ, it is never wasted on the wise.
Few there are that find spiritual maturity in their youth, and although we will never attain here what we desire to be for the Lord, the younger we are when He blesses us with wisdom, the greater our service to Him can be. The man who truly realizes that his entire being is in the capable hands of Christ is indeed a wise man, and the cares of the world flee from before him, circumstances are of no consequence to him, he is in the Master’s service, and he serves with honor and integrity. The servant who longs to be pleasing to his Lord will not look back on a wasted life with fleeting and fickle friends, people who have drawn him out of the way, enticed him to take the forks in the road that lead him off the path that is clearly set before him. Friends, he used to call them, good people, fine acquaintances, in the eyes of the world fine men and women, but in the eyes of God wicked individuals who deny the name of the most Holy One. We followed after them, we desired their companionship, to be ostracized from them was inconceivable, but they were not of the Lord, they would have none of your words of the Savior, His truths to them were as fables, and the preaching of the cross to them was as foolishness. (1 Cor. 1:18) And we called them friends.
People need people, it is how our Lord created us, but the man or woman who desires to serve the Lord cannot surround himself daily with those whom the wrath of God abides on, (John 3:36) he must set himself apart, and those “friends” must know that we are devoted in our service to the Lord. Oh, that we would know these things in our youth, that we would apply ourselves to the will of God continuously from the moment of our salvation, that we would trust without question. Our closest friends, our family members, all must know that it is Christ that will always come first in our lives, they must be made to know that He whom we serve is worth serving well, not only sacrificially in our deaths if He asks of us, but in every moment of our lives, “in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1:75)
To the man who has been saved thirty years I write this, to the woman who has known Christ as Savior since her youth this letter is written, can you look back on your life in Christ and truly say with all honesty that you have lived your life in service to the Lord, can you say that you have run a good race, (2 Tim. 4:7) are the moments few and far apart that you strayed off the path, that you remained faithful in all matters, that you were spiritual and not carnal. No my friends, you cannot and neither can I, but we can change that, we can begin today to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, (2 Peter 3:18) to leave the world and all its pleasures, cares and worries behind, leave them to those who are still lost, leave them to those who will only reap rewards that the world has to offer. The man who has decided these words are truth, must set himself apart from all that is in the world, must trust that the Creator of the world will bring to us all those things that we need from the world, and will give thanks to Him for them, but his eyes are always on the prize that is Christ.
Those who are maturing in Christ see themselves as weaker than a newborn babe in Christ, they see that the spiritual road is much, much longer than we ever anticipated, that they have yet to scratch the surface of who Christ is. But one thing they do not do, they do not look back, they strive continually for the prize that is Christ, they know no other purpose in life that holds any eternal value. The life of a Christian should not end in regret my friends, seek His face today with all your heart, stay on the path though it is troublesome and tiring, He is worth every step.