Psalm 90:12 says, “teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Wisdom is the highest character ideal in all the OT. Wisdom means right thinking and right living. We don’t get there by accident… but by pausing to consider our daily life. That is, working to “number our days aright”.
At the end of 2015, and the start up to 2016, let’s pause and ask 7 questions to help us number aright and gain a heart of wisdom:
Q1: Is my pace fit for a marathon or a sprint? Is the rhythm of my life sustainable?
Life is a marathon – you gotta slow the pace down if you’re going to make it… Yet so many of us run it at top speed, never feeling like we can take or get a break. Pace is key. How do I know if I’m at marathon pace or sprint pace?
- Are you always tired, but never able to rest?
- Are you unable to shut your mind off?
- Do you lack focus when you try to concentrate?
- Do you look your loved ones in the eyes everyday?
- Is the word “linger” a nostalgic word that we don’t come close to?
How to pace yourself: Rest your body, renew your mind, and reorient your life
- Sleep, relaxation, hobbies, exercise… these all help to rest your body.
- Scripture, silence, face-to-face interaction, novels, journaling, etc. these all help renew your mind.
- And what reorients your life? These 7 questions will be a great help in that!
Q2: What are my goals & targets?
Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time. At the end of this year, and start of the next, have you thought of how you would like to grow next year, what you would like to learn or experience?
- About a year ago, I decided I needed to read the Bible start to finish. My routine on workdays is to get up and spend time with the Lord alone – and I took that time over the past year to read Genesis to Revelation. I hadn’t done it for 5-8 years.
- Last month, I decided I needed to learn more about Islam and radical Islam… and then blog about it for your benefit. I’m in the learning stage. (We’re not going to let Donald Trump define the terms of the debate!)
- I talked to a friend who said, “our goal is to be out of student debt by the end of this year”…and they are: they worked hard, forfeited some fun, and plowed more money… hit their goal. They are debt free. They worked that goal.
Michael Hyatt says the key to reaching a goal is the WHY behind it:
- Why get out of debt? The freedom you will have, the peace you will have.
- Why read Scripture? To grasp more of who God is
- Why learn about Islam? To understand the world better.
What goals do you make? Spiritual goals, physical, family, relationship, financial goals. If you don’t have any targets, you’re not aiming anywhere.
Goals are Different than New Years resolutions. Resolutions are commitments you make to do better. It all rests on you. Goals are changes you make in where you are headed. And you rely on God who leads you there.
Q3: Am I writing checks on the prayer trust fund?
Stick with me: imagine you have a friend who is chronically short of money, but in real ways: Their roof is leaking, and they can’t fix it. Their car is broken down, but don’t have the $ to repair it. But, your friend is a Rockefeller – and he’s got a $100M trust fund that he can write checks on any time he wants. What’s his problem? Why doesn’t he dip into his family resources to carry him through life?
Are you writing checks on the prayer trust fund? Are you dipping into the family resources? God has given us
- God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. (Eph 1:3)
- Since God gave us his son, how will he not also (along with Christ) give us all things? (Rom 8:31)
So, why aren’t you praying? Do you have a regular prayer routine that ensures you bring your life and loved ones, the needs of this world and community before God?
Keep dipping into the trust fund.
Q4: What “foundational things” in life do I need to shore up?
The simple things are the things we all know, but may not address. Would you buy a house with Extensive Termite damage in crawl space? No matter how gorgeous the home, you don’t buy it UNLESS you fix the unseen.
When was the last time you considered the foundational things of living?
- Healthy eating – nutrients, not processed: If it comes from a factory or franchise, it won’t be too good for you!
- Healthy spending – If more is going out than coming in, you’ve got termites. Sooner or later, the house will fall down.
- Forgiving someone – the foundation of freedom is forgiveness. Both for the perpetrator and the one wronged. Who do you need to forgive?
- Being considerate with those closest (how often we treat strangers with greater courtesy than family!)
- Taking time each day with be with God? Are you reading, studying together with your HC, memorizing the eternal, life-giving word? Talk about shoring up your foundation!
- The “screens” in our lives need to be dessert, not the main course, of our time.
Just the simple wisdom of life… which of these do you need to shore up?
Q5: Have you inventoried how God has worked in your life this year?
At the end of this year, take a sheet of paper (or a page in your journal) and write each month (leaving some space after each), and then go back through the year, and jot down what happened, and how God showed up. Did he provide miraculously, did he sustain you through something, did he bring a breakthrough in your understanding/acceptance of something…
When we remember what God has done, we’ll trust what he can do!
Q6: If God could change 1 thing about your character, what would that be?
When’s the last time you asked that: “Lord, what’s one thing YOU want to change?” Then, sit still and listen.
God says in Romans 8:29 that his intention and activity for every believer is that we are each conformed to the image of Christ: His character is overlaid on our character!
Ask God, then, “what are you working on next?” And, ask him again in a week. Reflect on what he’s brought to mind.
Q7: Are you increasingly Grateful?
The more we give thanks, the more…
- We affirm that God is at work, since we are thanking him.
- We are reminded that everything is a gift from him (even the bad things)
- We are formed to respond to God – since we’re affirming his activity and reminded of our receiving, we are spending our lives responding to God’s initiatives.
- We complain less – straight arithmetic proves this: the more of my words are grateful, the less can be murmurings!
Seven questions to help us number our days aright and gain a heart of wisdom… and a life pleasing to God!