There is a quotation I’ve heard in a variety of slightly altered ways over the years and even attributed to a variety of individuals. Several reasonable sources believe George Bernard Shaw (while others have suggested Oscar Wilde who Shaw often quoted or even Mark Twain) to have said, “Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.” It was meant in humor, but it has a serious side to it as well. Having children spread from twenty-nine to six, I can attest to being quite a bit wiser and more patient in many ways now than maybe twenty-some years ago, but also not having near the energy that I did then.
The simple truth is that as we grow in knowledge and understanding over the years we also seem to lose a step (or two or three or even more) in other areas. Hiking last weekend with the Scouts demonstrated quite remarkably for me just how may steps I had lost, though with some more regular exercise and better conditioning not necessarily all of them for good.
One thing that wisdom and weakness share is an awareness of our need for help and guidance. And the ultimate source for that wisdom is our God who is perfect in His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. It is He who promised to give it to us liberally if we would ask Him, and do so believing, knowing that if we waffled in our belief we would be also tossed to and fro by the winds of whatever thought might be pressing in. In James 1:5-8 we read,
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5–8, NASB95)
While growing in knowledge and understanding is something God does in us, it is also not something which is restricted to those with miles on them. The apostle writing to Timothy, who Paul had taken under his wing years earlier after hearing of him as a young man trained in faith by his mother and grandmother, encouraged him in his assignment in Ephesus:
“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Prescribe and teach these things. Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:6–16, NASB95)
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14–21, NASB95)
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (10/20)
I am your living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know. The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down. Even the most superb athlete cannot maintain his fitness over many decades. Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone. Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body. Instead, view it as the prelude to My infusing energy to your being.
As you identify more and more fully with Me, My Life becomes increasingly intertwined with yours. Though the process of aging continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years. Those who live close to Me develop an inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years. Let My Light shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me.
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14, NASB95)
“For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” (Colossians 1:29, NASB95)
“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7, NASB95)