“If you could do life over again, what would you do differently?”
Tony Campolo asked people aged 95 or older this question and most responses fell into three categories:
- Reflect more
- Risk more
- Do more that will live on after I’m gone
What would it look like to live life from the other side? If you could say now: I will risk more, reflect more and work toward things that will outlast my own life.
I desire to live like this. A risk-taking, faith-stretching, all-in kind of life.
In Dare to Desire, John Eldredge says:
God has rigged the world so that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, when we live by faith. All attempts to find a safer life, to live by the expectations of others, just kill the soul in the end… If you had permission to do what you really want to do, what would you do? Don’t ask how – that will cut your desire off at the knees. How is never the right question. How is a faithless question; it means ‘unless I can see my way clearly I won’t venture forth.’
A life of risk denies the pursuit of a “safer life”, a life seeking comfort, the easy way out. Interesting the way Eldredge puts it: this way of life kills the soul in the end.
How many Christians are dead men walking, so to speak? How often do I kill my soul by trying to live a ‘safer life’? After all, Jesus himself said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:34-37)
How often do I attempt to save myself from pain, suffering, trials, hardships, tough circumstances… [insert your heartache here]?
This must mean that a life given up to the Lord, lived out in faith – risky and foolish to the world – is one that God honors, one that God desires for His people.
In The God Ask, Steve Shadrach describes a faithful life as one that is focused on Jesus and allows Him to be the drive in daily life:
Hebrews 12 calls us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith”. This helps get me up in the mornings. It helps me work through challenges and setbacks. Every morning I reflect on a painting in my office that depicts the scene in Revelation 7:9. Christ as the Lamb of God is sitting on the throne in heaven and believers from every tribe, tongue, nation and people are worshipping Him for all eternity. This is the culmination of history, the finish line, the final exam to show what we exchanged our lives for. My goal is not only to be there worshipping the Lamb myself, but to spend my life bringing as many with me as I can!
I long to have this vision in mind always. Above all bad circumstances, ill feelings and poor attitudes is the mission and goal of seeking God’s kingdom. I pray, Lord Jesus, that you would help me to keep you at the forefront of my mind, my heart and my life; that your glorious purpose would stand out from the mire of this life and I could see you turning ashes into beauty, redeeming lost souls and healing broken hearts. May your kingdom come, first within my own heart and here on this earth.