A very good friend celebrates his birthday today. He turns an age that is relatively familiar to me and in as much as there are better qualified folks to give advice, I got to thinking what advice I would share with my good friend to help him enjoy the day and enjoy this stage of his life.
The big piece of advice that emerged, though, was the importance of setting a big vision in front of you. I got married at the age of 25 and at the time we were involved in a number of exciting projects. Those projects were a lot about the vision of others. There was little in the way of a vision for how life in Christ would look like for me and my new life as a married man. I put that to the side to look at the vision of others and learnt a lot from serving under others. The neglect of the personal vision – recognising more who I am in Christ and what He calls me to be – had some negative consequences later on. So a big piece of advice growing up is to appreciate in serving others and loving people in the context of church life and community engagement, having an ever growing vision of who you are in Christ is very important.
That vision will excite and inspire you at times. What I particularly appreciate is how reassuring and consoling it can be in times of confusion, uncertainty, rejection and seeming defeat. I read in Acts of a time where the apostle Paul received encouragement from Jesus whilst in prison that his mission would continue and go on to give God glory even in the challenging circumstances. That degree of engagement with Jesus is not exclusive to Paul and can prove to be a source of great encouragement. That is sourced in a developing relationship between Paul and Jesus where Paul grows in knowing his call and identity in Christ.
That is something I would encourage and advise strongly. It will help considerably to avoid the numerous well meaning demands that seek to drain you of time and energy. It is not going to make everyone happy that’s for sure and some will be upset by your life in the light of that discernment, but it works out better for your growth in doing and being everything pleasing to God.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden