As we close out 2020, I think many of us will not be sad to see it go. For us collectively, it has been a most difficult and uncertain year. We have been faced with adversity on a national and a personal scale that has tested our endurance, our joy, and even our faith.
We have been faced with a seemingly out of control virus that has threatened every aspect of our lives. In fact, it is a virus that has threatened life itself on a global scale.
At this point, most of us know someone who has suffered from the virus. Many of us know someone who has lost a friend or family member. It has impacted every demographic of society. No group has been spared
We have been forced to think about death in starker terms than we would like.
And if we are honest, that has been very unsettling and upsetting to most of us. While we may have full confidence in, and even anticipation of, our eternal destinies, we still want to preserve and protect our lives here as long as we can.
Many of us can identify with the line of the country song that says “Lord, I want to go to heaven, but I don’t want to go tonight”.
That is natural. That is normal. That is a God-given desire.
THIS LIFE MATTERS
Evangelist Billy Graham was once asked in an interview what had been his biggest surprise about life. His response was “the brevity of it”.
As I get older, I more fully understand the sentiment of that statement. I understand the reality that each day brings me one day closer to the end of this earthly life. As a believer in Christ, I know that when this door closes the next one opens. I know that door will usher me into an eternal perfection that I cannot even imagine. I have full confidence and peace in that regard.
That is a peace and confidence that you can have also IF you have placed your trust in Christ as your Savior. Key word “IF”.
But even with this confidence and peace, age brings regrets.
There are things in my life that I would do differently if I had the chance. If I could have seen the outcome of some of my decisions, actions, and attitudes ahead of time, they would have been different. There are entire seasons of my life that could have been vastly better had I known then what I know now.
As we look back over our lives, our regrets will revolve around what we either did or didn’t do with the time that God gave us
Time is the one thing that we can never replace; only God can give us time. And the biggest tragedy of life is the waste of precious time because of decisions, actions, or attitudes that could have been better.
When we begin to understand our limited time in this life, it should help us to focus on what is truly important. And when we understand what is truly important, it should help to direct our attitudes, actions, and decisions to line up with those important things.
Unfortunately, often that does not happen.
THE GREAT DISCONNECT
There is often a complete disconnect between what we say is important and our decisions, attitudes, and actions.
We may say that our health is important to us, but our decisions and actions do not line up with healthy habits. We might say that our relationship with God is important to us, yet we make no real effort to grow in that relationship. We may say that our family is of utmost importance, yet we continue to make decisions, exhibit attitudes, and do things that undermine those relationships. The list goes on and one.
We fail to “connect the dots” from our decisions, actions, and attitudes to the outcomes that will occur. And our regrets inevitably multiply.
So how do we make better decisions, demonstrate better actions, and exhibit better attitudes? How do we develop a lifestyle of decisions, actions, and attitudes that will lead to fewer regrets?
I don’t have a magic formula, but I do believe the answer to fewer regrets is TO SEEK TRUTH about our decisions, actions, and attitudes.
And that seeking of truth requires some uncomfortable questions:
1. What is the truth about our decisions, actions, and attitudes versus our excuses?
2. What is the real reason for our decisions, actions, and attitudes versus the reasons we use to justify those decisions, actions, and attitudes?
3. What is the truth about the predictable outcome of our decisions, attitudes, and actions versus our hoped-for outcomes?
4. Are we accepting future regrets for immediate satisfaction?
Brutal self-assessment can lead to better decisions, attitudes and actions and result in fewer regrets. If we are willing to face the unvarnished truth about ourselves, we can improve our odds of fewer regrets.
Even so, our decisions, attitudes, and actions will never be the best that they can be without the genuine source of truth.
Jesus said, “I am the Truth” (John 14:6).
Either you believe that, or you believe Jesus lied. Your choice.
We can never know the ultimate truth that will lead us to better decisions, attitudes, and actions without knowing Jesus. I spent decades of my life running from Jesus. I knew what THE Truth was, but I didn’t personally know the one that is THE Truth.
Those are years that I cannot replace. Those are years that I regret.
As we head into a new year, my prayer is that every single person reading this would discover truth and would personally know THE Truth. He is the ultimate answer for better decisions, attitudes, and actions.
He is the ultimate answer for fewer regrets.
The clock is running.
Seeking truth would be a great New Year’s resolution. Seeking THE Truth would be even better!
“Teach us the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)