The key to a long and productive life is found in 10 essential attitudes:
Keep Learning. When we cease to learn, we stop growing, because a lazy brain is an aging brain. So much has changed over the course of the years. As technology advances, we must continually learn skills our parents and grandparents never had to know. But the most important pursuits in life are learning the Word of God and memorizing Scripture.
Keep Loving. The first and foremost commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and might (Deut. 6:5). And Jesus taught and modeled love for one another as well. When we stop loving God and other people, bitterness, resentment, hostility, or hatred take up residence within us and damage our emotional, mental, and spiritual health. God created us to love Him and others. That’s why maintaining a loving spirit promotes good health within us.
Keep Laughing. Laughter affects every part of the body, including our nervous system, and sets us free from discontentment and grumbling. Of all the people in the world, Christians should be the happiest because we have the joy of the Lord within us and the greatest reasons to be grateful.
Keep Leaving. To stay youthful and productive, we must leave yesterday’s cares and problems behind us instead of dragging them with us into the next day. Since past experiences and situations have the potential to discourage us and pull us backwards, we must learn to cast all our anxieties on the Lord, knowing that He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). Hanging on to past hurts, disappointments, and discouragements negatively affects our bodies, minds, and emotions. And if we’re anxious about the future, we must also leave these concerns with Jesus and trust Him to handle them.
Keep Longing. As we get older, we must keep dreaming about the future. Instead of looking at all the things we can’t do, we should concentrate on what we can accomplish and look forward to what awaits us in the future. As children of God, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to do whatever He desires. Though we may not feel adequate, we should never underestimate what the Lord can do through us when we’re willing and obedient.
Keep Looking Ahead. We should plan for tomorrow even if we don’t think we have many active years left. Looking forward to what God would have us do and pursuing activities we enjoy energizes us to continue being useful and productive.
Keep Looking Your Best. There’s something about looking and doing our best that stimulates us and encourages us to keep going.
Keep Laboring. Although we may not be able to do what we once did, retirement from a career is not a time to cease working. It may be a time to change what we do, but telling ourselves that we no longer have to work sends a message to our bodies that they can stop functioning. In the Christian life there is no retirement because we can still bear spiritual fruit and make a difference in people’s lives until the day we die.
Keep Leaning on the Lord. Each day should be lived in dependence upon and trust in God. He’s the One we rely upon for wisdom, direction, and provision. There is no need to fret when we lean on the Lord in prayer. We can trust Him with all our concerns, knowing that He is always present and faithful. Hudson Taylor, the head of the China Inland Mission, once said, “Bear not a single care thyself; one is too much for thee. Thy work is Mine and Mine alone; thy work is to rest in Me.”
Keep Listening. The most important thing we can do is listen to the Lord. Though we cannot hear Him audibly, He speaks to us in our hearts through His Word and His Spirit. As we open the Scripture and pray for guidance and wisdom, He’ll answer us. But if we don’t listen to Him, we’ll be spiritually crippled throughout our lives and unable to discern His will. However, if we heed His voice, He will help us make wise decisions, guide us into the right relationships, empower us to avoid temptations, and convict us when we sin.
Review these 10 essentials for staying young and useful throughout your life. Which ones are you already practicing? Which ones do you need to implement in your life? You may not think these practices are essential for you at this point in your life. However, there are advantages to adopting these attitudes as early as possible. So why not start today?
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “How to Stay Young and Useful All Your Life,” which airs this weekend on TV.