GASP! “You’re 30 already! You’d better hurry up and have kids!”
I rolled my eyes and responded defensively, “Oh please!” My friend’s comment implied that my physical age did not coincide with where I was supposed to be in life—or at least where he thought I should be in life.
As amused as I was by his not-so-subtle commentary, I realized that our society struggles against getting older, especially in trying to thwart the physical evidence of our real age. All the sarcastic jokes about aging or being “over the hill,” wishing for the “good ole days” of youth, and buying “anti-aging” products to hopefully present an image of a younger me. But regardless of what society thinks about aging, couldn’t we, as children of God, celebrate aging? Could we not instead celebrate that God has given us another precious year—this annual milestone that we have lived yet another year in His love and grace?
And then it dawned on me. There are two fraudulent lies that have been sent from the Enemy that roam around constantly trying to steal our joy, especially when our birthdays come around. Unfortunately, they are pretty good at sabotaging it sometimes too. They cause us to resent and bewail the thought of getting older.
The first fraud is called Comparison. Comparison loves to constantly turn our eyes and thoughts to what others have around us to remind us of what we don’t have. We look at those who are younger than us, especially those who’ve supposedly accomplished more in life already than we have. The lie is that we’re late in life—like we’ve somehow missed the opportunities to accomplish certain things and can never catch up.
Comparison also directs our attention to the people who have things that we think we want or should have, and whispers that we’ll never get those things. Perhaps we do not deserve enough (not good-looking enough, not smart enough, not loving enough, not ambitious enough, etc.). Comparison loves to hold us in bondage with the endless “You’re not and they are” and the “They’ve got, but you don’t” lies.
The second fraud is Regret. When a birthday comes around, rather than celebrate the past 365 days that God has given us (as well as looking forward to the year to come), Regret instead causes us to think on all the things we didn’t do, all the things we wish we had done, and all the things we did wrong and wish we could change. Regret reminds us that we’re another year older, but we’re still not where we thought we would be by now. The lie whispers that we’ve wasted another year. Regret depresses us and holds us in bondage by pointing out a bleak past of mistakes and wrong turns. Birthdays only serve to remind us that yet again, more time has passed by, but we haven’t gotten any closer to where we think we should be.
But now that we’ve stripped away the masks of these two frauds, we know now to watch out for them. They will try anything to hinder God’s truth about our day of birth—about our lives in general—because actually, we’re not getting older, we’re getting eternally younger!
I recently turned 31. I may be 31 in this physical life on earth, but in this physical life, I’m just passing through. The real life is still to come as an eternal child of God. And since eternity is forever, I’m really only 31 years young in eternity! If I were to die when I’m 90, I’d still only be 90 years young compared to eternity! Laugh if you may (as the Rod Stewart song plays in the background), but consider it. We are truly forever young in comparison to the reality of eternity.
So for our next birthday, we can truly celebrate! Don’t let Comparison and Regret come as uninvited guests to your birthday to ruin it. Celebrate by saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made! I will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)
We can then be fixated on living out our true identity as an eternal child of God through Jesus. We may not be ready still to throw out that anti-aging cream, but we can rejoice always that we have Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us for eternity.