Spiritual that is. December 14, 1972, Berwyn, PA, 10:30 AM. The man came to my house and preached the gospel to me. I believed and was baptized. While the ride has been wild, to say the least, I have never once looked back. For that I am most grateful.
My gratitude for getting to be this old in Jesus recently got a jolt of intensity thanks to Facebook. An old prof from seminary found me through the friends network. I emailed him to get caught up. He commented how good it was to hear from a former student noting his joy whenever he discovers someone who has gone on with the Lord over time. “More often than we would like that doesn’t happen,” he said.
To what should I or any aging believer attribute staying power in the spiritual life? There can be only one answer for surely there is nothing particularly devoted about my flesh. The amazing keeping power of God alone keeps one persevering toward the finish line. Consider verses like 1 Peter 1:3-5 for example:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (emphasis added).
Or Jude 1 where the writer calls us kept for Jesus Christ and in v. 24-25 where he concludes his letter with this doxology:
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (emphasis added).
So I appear thus far to be among the kept of God. That makes me a blessed man. By God’s grace I, the kept of God, intend to go on keeping myself in His love (see Jude 21) unto my 40th, 47th, and whatever7th birthday He may allow should I enjoy length of days.
I’ve got my eye on the reward. I am one day closer to hearing, I trust, Well done good and faithful servant! I long to finish well. The vision of the end I imagine is not unlike this lovely section of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress:
After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant–for–Truth was sent for by a summons, by the same party as the others. And he had this word for a token that the summons was true: ‘The pitcher was broken at the fountain’ (Eccl. 12:6). When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then said he, ‘I am going to my Father’s house; and though with great difficulty I have got here, yet now I do not repent me of all the troubles I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles, who will now be my Rewarder.’ When the day that he must go home was come, many accompanied him to the riverside, into which, as he went down, he said, ‘O death, where is your sting?’ And as he went down deeper, he cried, ‘O grave, where is your victory?’ So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.
Trumpets. I really like trumpets.