By Jill Briscoe
I have to ask myself some hard questions. As I take stock of my “love life,” what do I find? Am I more patient now than when I was a young mother battling the odds against raising and keeping my kids Christian in a non-Christian world? Am I better at responding to suffering? How am I doing with pride? Do I enjoy too much the small acclaim I receive as a Christian writer and speaker? Has it gone to my head? How do I do with dissension? Am I a peacemaker or a warmonger? Am I seeking those I have offended and trying to make amends? And what do I want that I don’t have? Have I really come to grips with the constant separation that Stuart and I cope with? After all these years, why do I still struggle with the enemies of resentment, self-pity, and indignation? Just how mature am I? Seeing I am in the autumn, or even the winter, of my life, the time is running out to wage war against my intrinsic selfishness.
Christ calls me to His side. He sounds the battle cry. I hear Him say, “Don’t give up; go on and grow till I call you home. See how much like me I can make you before you walk through my front door!” So how can I pick up my sword and shield and soldier on?
- I can refocus my life on a daily basis. I can determine to talk to Him before I talk to anyone else.
- I can thoroughly investigate what it means to meet with Him face-to-face. I can take my calendar off the wall and put an appointment with Him down day after day, and then show up!
- I can be bold in my asking. I can hold on to Him as Jacob did when he wrestled with Him, saying, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen. 32:26).
- I can ask for the outrageous thing – like overcoming fears of things I have no right as a Christian to be afraid of things that have beaten me all my life. I can say, “No more!”
- I can cling to Him until I can honestly say, Look in my heart, Lord; I trust You! At last, I trust You! I want to trust Him when the battle is at its fiercest. I want to trust Him to be all that I need Him to be when I need Him to be all that I need.
- I can decide to live the latter part of my life with more intensity for Jesus than I have ever lived before.
- I can battle to let all my selfish desires and demands lie at the foot of the cross. For example, my desire that my adult children love each other. The only thing I need to demand is that I love my kids. That is enough. I hope that my loving them will cause them to love each other!
- I can talk my head off for Christ and His kingdom, all day long and far into the night. I can decide never to shut up!
- I can write 50 more books, at least! Words are weapons for good or evil. I can determine to use them for Christ and His kingdom.
- I can win the weary war, and the worry war, and the whining war. (Lord, did I hear You say, “It’s about time!”?)
- I can search and find the joy in knowing that I do His will every waking moment of every day.
- I can love somebody today whom I decided to stop loving yesterday. Yes, I can! And I will! I will love my world in a way I have never loved it before in my life – more patiently and kindly, more sweetly and extravagantly, in more ways than I can count!
All this I can do. I can do these things because He calls me to do them. He calls me to His side, and one day He wants to hear me say, “I was there!” As I do all these things, I will become more like Him. An old Keswick praise hymn puts it this way:
Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord,
Oh, to be lost in thee;
Oh, that it may be no more I,
But Christ that lives in me.
“Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord!” If that is not in your heart, then ask for it. It is as Christ lives His life in and through me that I find I am loving, kind, patient, and humble. He supplies the need.
Paul writes, “Love will last forever” (1 Cor. 13:8) and then says at the end of his magnificent poem of love, “There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (v. 13). It follows then, that if love will last forever, and if forever is in heaven, then heaven must be full of a whole lot of love!
So in the light of all of this, the most important thing that should totally absorb our lives down here is the practice of real love. Why? Because love lasts! Love will be the only thing that matters in all eternity!