If God allows us to live long enough, every one of us will one day look in the mirror and realize age is getting the better of us. We may try to fight it, and we may try to hide it, but eventually aging is inevitable.
Instead of boring you with a sob story about my early stages of decline, I will write of my resolves — resolves that every one of us should make the moment we get our first wrinkle or spot our first grey hair.
#1 I will be content.
Surely there is a place for taking good care of our skin, eyes, teeth, body, and health. But there’s never a place for complaints or discontentment when the years take their toll.
I suppose you could direct your aging frustration to sin — sin brought death, and eventual death implies an inevitable deterioration of our bodies. But all the thoughts that revolve around wishing we were younger so we could be prettier and feel better about ourselves are simply not helpful. It’s just plain grumbling and that is sin (Philippians 2:14).
We must embrace the reality: we aren’t getting younger, and we need to be content in each new season God brings us through.
#2 I will see aging from God’s perspective.
Proverbs 20:29 says,
The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
There is something good and valuable about aging. Even just the reminder (given by our grey hairs) should make us grateful we’ve been granted so many years! In fact, Proverbs 16:31 says “Gray hair is a crown of glory”!
Though our culture doesn’t value age, in God’s economy, those with age are to be esteemed. Leviticus 19:32 says,
“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Clearly, getting old (and it showing) is not supposed to come with shame, but with honor. As we age, and it shows, we should keep this biblical perspective in mind.
#3 I will increase in wisdom (not just years).
The best part of aging has to be increased wisdom. Surely an 73 year old Christian should have more skill in living a godly life than an 17 year old Christian. However, this is only the case if we grow in knowledge and obedience to the Lord each opportunity that we get. It’s possible to actually become more stubborn, more hard-hearted, and more selfish as time goes on— and we can expect that we would if that’s what we’ve been practicing year after year.
If we want the benefit of wisdom as we age, we must make wise choices today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Then, day by day we will increase in wisdom — but better yet, let’s aim to have our wisdom surpass our wrinkles and gray hairs!
#4 I will focus on God’s version of beauty.
We all know we’re surrounded by an impossible standard of worldly physical beauty. Images everywhere sell some version of perfection that no real woman can attain (and increasingly so as we get older). But the good news is, that’s not God’s definition of beauty. As we know from 1 Samual 16: 7, “… the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Beauty in God’s eyes is connected to who we really are, it’s about whether we are living to please the Lord (Proverbs 31:30), and it’s about whether we are godly women (1 Peter 3:4). So let the outer beauty fade as it inevitably will, and let’s focus on intensifying the beauty that is imperishable.
#5 I will use every stage of life for God’s kingdom.
Ultimately we can’t slow down the clock and all it’s physical implications on our body. But more importantly, we can’t be slowed down by focusing on ourselves (and how we look and feel); Instead, we should focus on eternal things. We must resolve to use this season for God’s purposes.
Lord willing, age will perhaps bring new opportunities and new relationships in which God can use us. Or maybe it will just get harder to do what God wants us to do— and we can please God with our whole-hearted effort. Regardless, let’s resolve to make the most of every day we have, trusting in God to give us the strength, and asking him to give us the desire to get our eyes off ourself so we can use our lives for him.