Friday, December 18, 2009

NO REGRETS -- Devotional for December 19, from "Good Seeds"

According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. (Philippians 1:20)

What is your goal in life? A rather personal question, you say, and difficult to answer. No, not really. Regardless of the specifics of what you want to accomplish before you die, or what you want to be remembered for, I can state in two words a life goal that would be as meaningful to men on earth as it is pleasing to God in heaven. Actually, I’ve already stated it: NO REGRETS. As many mistakes as I’ve made – and will yet make, should God give me more moments and years to live – I still want to be able to say with my last breath, “I am not ashamed of the life I have lived.” Oh, I’ve sins a-plenty to be accounted for, but that’s just it, they have already been accounted for, all of them, paid for, by Jesus, on the cross. That out of the way, I can proceed with my life’s goal, or as Paul calls it, “my earnest expectation and hope,” which is to exalt Christ in my body, as long as I live. A man may have all kinds of aspirations as his life flows, but when it begins to ebb, those many aspirations are reduced to one: respiration. He is desperate to keep on breathing; his life’s goal has mutated to mere survival; his life’s song has become, “Stayin’ alive!” But we don’t see this in the Bible. No, the goal of the God-pleaser is not to stay alive, or to live a long life, but to exalt Christ. What does it take to do this? Faith. But faith is weak and useless apart from boldness. The motivation of our faith is Christ, but the mechanism of it is boldness. And what is the source of such boldness? The answer may surprise you: logic. It just makes more sense to step out boldly on what you believe, than to hang back in doubt and fear. When I think of holy boldness, I think of Jim Elliott, the young missionary to the Aucas of Ecuador. His boldness landed him, in an airplane, along with four buddies, on a river where they were killed by these headhunters, before having a chance even to communicate the gospel to them. Jim Elliott didn’t live long, but he lived boldly for Jesus. He died with no regrets. He died with a legacy not only that those who followed him could emulate, but that led to the salvation of the very men who killed him, and many of their fellow tribesmen. Jim wrote something in his journal that reflects the logic to which I refer: “That man is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” What did Jim Elliott give? His very life, as it turned out. What could have saved it? Nothing but cowardice and complacency. And what did he gain? Many souls, as it turned out. I, too, want to gain souls for Jesus, that cannot be lost. I, too, want such a life, short or long, of no regrets! How about you?

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