April 23, 2009
Staying Old 

Genesis 47:7-9

Sometimes the best way to understand a concept is by studying its opposite. Yesterday we learned how to stay young while growing old. Today we will take a look at some of the ways that we can age ourselves.

Jacob was a man who made himself old by looking at his circumstances from a negative perspective. Our passage today reveals that he was dissatisfied with his life. Although there are many qualities in Jacob that we can admire, this is not one of them.

Our focus will determine our level of satisfaction in life. Those who stay young in spirit continually look for evidences of the Almighty in their lives—ways He is working, providing, loving, and guiding. Without this perspective, the pain and problems of life can take center stage, which can easily lead to discouragement and grumbling.

We can also age ourselves by carrying burdens that believers are not meant to bear. Jesus Christ invites the weary and heavy-laden to come to Him and find rest (Matt. 11:28-30). He wants us to get under His yoke and let Him carry our load of cares and concerns. Our Savior has a solution for every burden and wants to help us transfer them to Him.

What are you carrying that is aging your body, soul, and spirit? Try Jesus’ solutions: for a bitter, unforgiving spirit, forgive; for guilt, confess; for regret over past sin, believe Christ has forgiven you; and for anxiety, cast it on God, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

EXTRA COLUMN:

C. S. Lewis On Aging

[Senior devil Screwtape to junior devil Wormwood:]

“The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives, and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it—all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition.

“If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is “finding his place in it,” while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home on Earth, which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.”
The Screwtape Letters, p. 132 

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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.