Today on my 39th birthday, I took time to reflect back on my life over the last four decades and look ahead to the days ahead. My life is like an hourglass where each grain of sand dripped is never to be regained. When the last grain of sand falls in my life, I will stand before the Lord to give an account about my life lived (Romans 14:12). I want it to be a life lived well for Him.
When considering the past, there are four* primary spiritual markers that have significantly shaped my life in Christ.
- My salvation. Sometime around 1986, I vividly remember asking Jesus Christ to be my Savior from my sins while watching a preacher on television. It was at that time that I became a new creation in Jesus Christ and the start of my journey in Him.
- God capturing my heart. As a college freshmen in 1994, the Lord “flipped the switch” on my heart and drew me back to Himself after several years of wandering and spiritual apathy. At that time He gave me a strong desire to learn His Word and start attending church regularly. WMBI in Chicago was a great blessing as I soaked up hours of teaching each week.
- Joining a church family. Three weeks before our wedding in 2001, Danielle and I were looking for a new church to attend. I distinctly remember the Lord burdening my heart to check out Maywood EFC. As one who grew up as a sporadic church attender in multiple churches, I never had the experience of getting to know others and being known as I have experienced at Maywood.
- Serving in junior high ministry. In 2002 God placed another strong burden on my heart- Danielle and I were to start serving in Maywood’s junior high ministry. While most people were running away from junior highers, He gave us a love and passion for them, which extended over many years. It was during that period when the Lord revealed and allowed me to start using my spiritual gifts of teaching, leadership, and administration. These gifts originally recognized while serving in the junior high ministry have expanded into many other areas since.
While there is no guarantee that the Lord will grant me another 39 years of life (James 4:13-15), if He does, there will be additional spiritual markers to record along the way. I want to live each day with intentionality and for Him, in accordance with Scripture:
So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
Finally, I never want to forget that how I live in this short life will affect eternity. Donald Whitney stated, “as a relatively small rudder determines the direction of a great ocean liner, so that which we do in the small span of time influences all eternity” (Whitney, 162). As the sand of my life’s hourglass continue to fall, I cannot delay in my decisions to live more for the Lord, “deciding to discipline yourself to use your time for the purpose of godliness is not a matter for delay and deliberation. Each hour that passes is another for which you must give account” (Whitney, 166).
Sola De Gloria!
*Of course there are other obvious markers in my spiritual journey such as becoming a husband and a dad, but these four have significantly impacted my roles and relationships.
Whitney, Donald (2014). Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.