Life without regret ∙
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. – Philippians 1:21
6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.
18 But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.
20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.
“If you get to the end of your life with no regrets at all, you probably haven’t lived that interesting a life,” Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist at Cornell University, told TODAY about his conversations with older Americans. “But they can’t believe how people waste their time. Petty fights, resentments, and worry.”
Pillemer and his team interviewed 1500 people over 65 about what haunts them most about their life choices. Ranked number seven was not taking more career risk-taking opportunities. Many regretted saying no to possible options because they were afraid of taking a chance or felt too comfortable in their current job.
“Our oldest generation is telling us that we need to live a life with ‘yes’ as our bias,” wrote Jeremy Bloom, the founder of Wish of a Lifetime, a charity that grants wishes to older people.
You are much more likely to regret a career move you did not make than trying and having it not work out so well.
Their advice: Always say yes to a career opportunity unless there is a compelling reason to decline it. Try something new and do not be stuck in a box (https://www.today.com/health/biggest-regrets-older-people-share-what-they-d-do-differently-t118918).
Life in the 21st century seems to be producing more and more cause for a greater and greater sense of gloom and doom. Despair, sadness, fear, and physical and social pandemics are the new normal. Will we allow ourselves to be defined by personal tragedy and hardship, poor decisions and failures, and world events? Is it possible for us to have greater control over our present and future reality?
Paul would answer a resounding yes! He continually faced difficult circumstances and outright persecution. Paul’s response to his circumstances is the direct byproduct of his commitment to fulfill the Father’s dream for his life. The Father’s dream has now become Paul’s dream. Paul has learned to view everything from the Father’s perspective. Paul experienced great joy in the face of harsh and challenging conditions and mistreatment. Paul chose to be joyful and thankful.
How is this possible? What was the source of his joy and overcoming spirit?
He chose to live for Christ and the gospel. It made no difference what happened to him, just as long as the Lord Jesus Christ was glorified and the Gospel was proclaimed. A child of the King is designed to be like “a telescope that brings Jesus Christ close to people. To the average person, Christ is a misty figure in history who lived centuries ago. But as the unsaved watch the believer go through a crisis, they can see Jesus magnified and brought so much closer” (Wiersbe).
REFLECT & PRAY
“God is faithful to finish what He starts. Once we accept Christ as our Savior, there is always more to walking with God than what we’ve known, seen, learned, or experienced” (Stanley).
Father, you are at work all the time. You invite me to participate with you. As much as I am able at this time, I accept Your invitation. I commit myself to Your purpose and leave my anxious heart behind.
Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
“Paul did not want to do great things for God; He wanted God to do great things in and through him. His goal was to serve as the hands and feet and mouth of Christ, doing in Christ’s power what Christ would do” (Stanley).
Paul’s life was defined by the choices he made. A choice was made in a moment in time, and it was a defining moment. He never looked back. In each circumstance, he simply made the same choice repeatedly. Serving the Lord Jesus Christ became the center of his life.
Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Trusting the Father alleviates anxiety and leads us to rest. “When you have the single mind, you will not complain about circumstances because you know that difficult circumstances will result in the strengthening of the fellowship of the Gospel” (Wiersbe).
The American poet John Greenleaf Whittier reflected, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been.”
What should be our goal as children of the King?
We should choose to live so that we will not look back and have regrets. How often do we think to ourselves, “Woulda-coulda-shoulda.” Going forward, the choices we make will not change the past but certainly will impact the future. What would it take to make things better in the future than in the past?
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. We begin by choosing to live the rest of our lives so that we will not have any major regrets.
Good choices enable a life without regret. “Our efforts are useless and futile if we do not partner with God in what He wants, where He wants, and how He wants it. The blessing of the Lord spells the difference between success and failure, satisfaction and regret” (Stanley).
The Father has a delightful way of turning negatives into positives. He loves to take things Satan means for our harm and use them instead for His honor and our betterment.
When we consider whether to engage in some activity, it is better to ask ourselves what is excellent about it rather than what is wrong with it?
Philippians 1:10 For I want you to approve the excellent things, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.
Haggai 2:19 Yet from this day on I will bless you.
Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your lives.
© Dr. H 2022