THE PERFECT AGE IS OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER BUT YOUNG ENOUGH TO DO IT ANYWAY
You were born to fight the war between the inner man and the man you see in your mirror. Your war will have many battles. You know you are winning when you are able to say, 'I am old enough to know better - but young enough to do it anyway.
Everyone has a physical age. You were born on a certain day in a certain year. Your body is aging from the day of your birth, and it will eventually become too old and worn out to continue living. No matter what your age, time is running out. You are going to die.
Fortunately for Christians, the physical body is just temporary. It is only necessary while we are locked in time and a physical place. For the Christian, to die is to be separated physically from our families and friends, but it is to be present with the Lord. In fact, the term 'death' means 'separation'. While we live, we are physically separated from God. When we die, we are present with God, but separated from those we love here on earth. Eventually, God will destroy death, and there will be no more separation from our God or our loved ones. Praise the Lord.
Today, we are all trapped in time. We face situations every day that are difficult. Our experiences shape our lives. Disappointment shapes our lives. A material mind set shapes our lives. Hollywood shapes our lives. Music shapes our lives. Over time, we are trapped by our experiences. The older we get, the more sorrow and disappointments we have faced. It may appear that more prayers have gone unanswered than have been answered.
Through all the heartaches and disappoints, we gradually become 'old enough to know better'.
We become old enough to know better than to expect a miracle.
We become old enough to know better than to think our hard work will bring us success.
We become old enough to know better than to think that those who hear the gospel will respond.
We become old enough to know better than to think that those who claim to be Christians will really act like Christians.
The disappointments and cares of this world have weighed heavily on all mankind since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Our shoulders often become so bent with the weight of our burdens that we cannot look up to our Creator. We know that our Redeemer lives, but He seems so very far away. It often seems we have been abandoned to walk through this world alone.
This is not the way it has to be. Even when we are old enough to know better, through Jesus Christ and His power, the inner man can be young enough to do what God asks us to do anyway. It only requires the faith of a child.
The Bible is full of examples of those who were old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway.
Take David for example. He was a shepherd. He bravely fought wild beasts in hand to hand combat while he was but a youth. David was old enough to know that a lion or a bear could easily kill him. But David's inner man was strong with faith in God. This made David young enough to fight the bear and lion anyway. David fought the beasts. He won.
David was old enough to know that a giant could easily kill a small youth. Yet in child like faith, David bravely faced the giant in the power of the Living God. He was old enough to know better, but he was young enough to do it anyway. The inner man relied on the power of the Living God instead of what his age and experience had taught him.
Three Hebrew brothers faced the king of the world and refused to obey him, choosing rather to be faithful to the God of their fathers. These three brothers were certainly old enough to know better. They had seen their nation defeated; their families and homes destroyed; and their lives reduced to slavery in a foreign land filled with pagans.
They knew better than to expect a miracle. I am sure the wondered why God had allowed all their tragedies to happen. They could have easily turned from God in anger. Instead, they chose to serve God even though they didn't understand exactly why their trials had come.
Their experiences made them old enough to know better than to trust in God. But their inner man was strong enough to trust God anyway. They bravely trusted God to either deliver them from immediate death, or deliver their souls into heaven.
Daniel 3:17-18 tells of their trouble. It says, 'If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it know unto thee, O king, that we will not serve they gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.'
The brothers had doubtless prayed for the deliverance of their country from Nebechudanzer's army. God had not answered that prayer.
The brother's had doubtless prayed for the safety of their family. God had not answered that prayer, and had instead allowed them to be taken captive and made slaves in the king's palace.
Yet they still had faith that God could deliver them, but they did not know that God would deliver them. In spite of everything, their inner man refused to worship the king, and chose to stand up for their God.
God not only delivered them from being burned alive, He walked in the midst of the fire with them. (v25) The brothers walked out of the fire without even a hint of smoke on their clothing, and the king gave them promotions. (v36)
Abraham was someone who was really old enough to know better. But his inner man was young enough to believe God anyway. Through faith, Abraham and Sarah had a child when they were nearly 100 years old.
Daniel was old enough to know better when he refused to change his prayer habits in order to please the king. He was old enough to know better than to expect hungry lions not to eat him when he was thrown into their den. But Daniel's inner man was young enough to trust God anyway.
Jonathan and his armor bearer were old enough to know that one warrior and his armor bearer could not slaughter twenty men in one battle. But their inner man was young enough in spirit to know that they could not fail when God personally delivered the enemy into their hand. (I Samuel 14:14)
Noah was old enough to know better than to believe that it would rain, since it had never rained since the creation of man. All those around Noah were also old enough to know better. I am sure they told him so continually.
They probably said something like, 'You big dummy. We don't even have a dictionary definition of 'rain', 'ark', or 'boat'. You are totally crazy. You are probably just trying to get some sort of state pension for lunatics.'
Noah suffered their taunts 100 years before God brought the destruction of the flood. Noah's inner man had enough faith to believe God and be obedient to God in spite of what his eyes and ears and the years of his life told him. He bravely continued onward in the task God had given him. Lonely are the brave, for Noah had no converts beyond his immediate family. To be truly brave requires an inner man with the strength of a giant.
All these people walked by faith, not by sight. The inner man who is continually seeking God never grows old; he just grows stronger. He remains eternally young enough 'to do it anyway' (whatever God calls him to do).
Now Christians are facing a world that grows increasingly hostile and frightening with each passing day. Jesus Christ, the Hope and Salvation of all who believe, is being pushed out of the public eye as though He were a leper instead of the Redeemer.
Even very young Christians are old enough to have seen the seeming defeat of Christian morals and principles in every level of social, political, and religious arenas. The current response to the ineffectiveness of Christianity is to change Christian teachings to something that is more suited to the so called 'needs' of today's society. The plan is to 'get people into church' and then throw a little gospel in with the entertainment. Christian leaders are old enough to know better than to preach the gospel according to Jesus Christ. Their inner man has the strength of a two day old baby.
Adoniram Judson was old enough to know better than to refuse the offer of pastoring a church in Boston in order to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Burma, but his inner man was strong and his spirit was young enough to do it anyway.
That young missionary who came to our church was headed for the Philippines. He played the viola in a manner worthy of a great concert hall. He sounded like a full orchestra all by himself. I know he was old enough to know better than to give up a career in music to go to the Philippines where missionaries are being murdered by Moslems. Those who hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ because of this missionary will be eternally grateful that he strengthened his inner man, and ignored the message of the world.
There was a father who was so tired and worn that he thought another day on the job would surely kill him. It was a dead end job; bills were piling up; his wife was restless; life was very hard. His experiences told him nothing would change.
He thought, 'This is reality; get used to it.' But his spirit was young enough to know that God can change things in an instant. He got up; did his job; studied his bible; and asked wisdom of the Lord. The Lord changed his attitude, and then He changed his life. His Christian brother, facing the same set of problems, continued to live by sight. His inner man was starving. His life never changed
There was a Christian mother who was deserted by her husband and family. She was on welfare with no one to help her. Generations of those around her were living the same life. No one ever escaped such poverty and hopelessness.
She thought, 'This is reality; get used to it.' But her spirit was young enough to know that God can change things in an instant.' She got on her knees and asked wisdom and understanding of God. She believed His promise that he would help her. God strengthened the spirit inside her. Her life improved. By faith she glimpsed a better life. She began walking in the hope that comes from God. Her life improved. Welfare became a thing of the past. Although she was a single mother, she managed to raise her children to love God and keep the commandments. She was old enough to know that joy and success do not come to people in her station in life. She was young enough in spirit to believe that God had something better for her and her children. She was not disappointed.
Sometimes, the help God provides does not come in the form we are expecting. Often times, help from God is strength to endure what trials we face as we go through them. Sometimes He delivers us speedily. Sometimes, we must endure until he delivers us eventually. The ageless spirit that walks by faith will remain young enough to do what God calls us to do regardless of what our experiences tell us, or the length of time God takes to solve the problem.
Dear Christian brothers and sisters, is there some desire in your heart that God has put there?
Do you want to do something for Jesus, but are you to old?
Do your life experiences tell you it is impossible?
Have you stopped praying for a lost brother or sister because your experience tells you it is impossible for them to be saved?
Have you given up being delivered from a particular sin in your life because your experience tells you that it is impossible to be delivered?
Have you been sidetracked from a calling God gave you, and now your life experiences tells you it is impossible to return to God and begin a new walk with Him?
Forget what your eyes see and what your ears hear.
Forget self condemnation, for with repentance there is forgiveness of sins. You have a clean slate on which to begin again.
Forget your old hurts and disappointments.
Forget the things of the world without which you think you cannot live. These are the things that keep you 'old enough to know better'.
Listen instead to the ageless spirit born of God in your heart.
Strengthen the inner man.
Then you will be young enough to do what God calls you to do in spite of circumstances or physical age.
In Ephesians chapter 3:16 Paul prays that the inner man be strengthened with might by His spirit.
II Corinthians says, 'but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
Make the time to feed the inner man.
Read your Bible.
Listen to godly sermons daily. Good sermons are readily available free on the internet. Repent of what you know is wrong in your life.
Ask God to show you what is bothering Him about your life, and then repent immediately.
You have permission to boldly approach the throne of grace with your prayers. (Hebrews 4:16) Jesus will intercede for you. (Hebrews 7:25)
The Day of the Lord is approaching. Trials for every believer are on the horizon. The outer man cannot bravely face even the every day trials of life, much less the open persecution that is going on in the world today. Even America is telling Christians they cannot pray in the name of our Redeemer Jesus Christ in public. It seems like we are living in the last scene of a tragic movie where the light of goodness is obscured by the shadows of evil covering the land.
Yet, Christians still have tasks to do. The world, and our personal experiences in our lives, are screaming:
'That is impossible!'
'And if it WERE possible, YOU are too old to do it anyway!'
What the world is forgetting is:
Your spirit is eternal and without age, so you can never be too old (or too young and inexperienced) to do what God wants you to do.
With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27).
With God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).
So there you have it. The absolutely perfect age is:
Old enough to know better, but young enough to trust God to help you do it anyway.
Thank you for reading my article. God bless you.
Books by Barbara Henderson available on kindle
Oh Worship the King (fiction)
Soul Wars Trilogy - books one and two (fiction)
Everyday Prepping for Beginners
Christian Self-Help and Encouragement 2012