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Years ago someone told me about a study of old people. The question asked was if they could live their life over again, what would they do differently. I was so impressed by the question and their answers that it became a template for how I wanted to live my life. Their top three answers were…
I took their responses and ran them through a biblical grid and came up with the following life plan:
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Taking risks without biblical guidance could be the errand of a fool. Taking biblical risks are godly. Christians are not passive or impulsive. Christians are intentional and informed risk takers. It reminds me of Peter who was standing on a boat during a dark and stormy night (Matthew 14:28-33).
Christ was asking him to take a biblical risk. Peter was nervous about the offer for obvious reasons. Who walks on water? Peter was willing, but he needed assurance. Thus, he asked, “Is that you, Lord?” An important question.
Christian decisions are faith-informed decisions. Once you inform your faith through the means of grace the Lord provides, there is nothing left to do but get off the boat. There are four means of grace for faith-informed decisions.
You don’t want to come to the end of your life with a boatload of “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve” regrets.
Risk Question – What is God asking you to do but you’re afraid to do it?
The eternally minded person does not care if he gets a statue erected downtown for pigeons to do their business on but he does care about impacting lives for eternity’s sake. And there is no better way to impact lives than those who are closest to you.
This concept is where the stay-at-home mom can refocus. She has the opportunity around her knees to shape little lives that will impact eternity. She’s doing eternal work in her home, as she evangelizes and disciples her children for Christ.
Spouses have similar opportunities. We married damaged goods. The fall of Adam damaged our spouses. Other people and poor decision making also damaged them. One of the greatest calls of a spouse’s life is to cooperate with the Lord in the ongoing restoration of the person they married.
Eternal Questions – How are you doing at cooperating with the Lord in the restoration of your spouse and children? Have you made the ministry or work mistakes?
The scattered brain is the bane of our culture. Our world has succeeded in dumbing down our brains to a tweet, quote, infographic, or video clip. Sitting before the Lord lasts as long as the “water grab-and-go” of a marathoner runner.
We feed our brains with continuous noise, to the point that there is no such thing as quiet anymore. And if there were a quiet time, it’s more of a crash time. We’re too exhausted to think. We ramp ourselves up to where it’s either 100% on or 100% off.
I’m not talking about praying. I’m talking about spending time thinking. You take a thought and roll it over and over and over in your mind like a cow chewing cud until that thought masters you. You take your thoughts captive by bringing them to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). That kind of mental discipline is rare for the post-modern mind.
Thinking Question – Do you have a quiet mind? Like Jesus, can you rest in the storms of your life?
Here are a few ways you can apply these three ideas to your life. Ask the Father to give you your thoughts. Make it personal to you. These are suggestive preferences. I’m sure the Lord would love to direct you in a more personal way.
Risk – Write down three things you’d like to do, but you don’t know how to do them. Maybe it’s overcoming a sin pattern, building a relationship, paying down debt, or making a life change. What are those three things?
Eternity – Who are the closest people within your sphere of influence? How do you need to change to help them change? Write down their names and a few bullet points about what you need to do to better position yourself in a cooperative effort with the Lord to serve them.
Reflection – What hinders you from finding adequate time thinking? Without becoming a legalist, how can you change this bad pattern in your life? I changed by journaling. That may not be a good fit for you, but it worked for me. The process of writing forces me to stop and think. If you don’t learn to stop and think for adequate periods of time, you will be overcome by the active noise all around you.
If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently? Since you are alive, what if you mapped out a plan to do those things? Please let us serve you in this adventure.
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).