Chapter 25: A Long Life
The Bible speaks many things about living a life unto God and when we do this we experience good fruit.
Today I’m outlining just five principles that lead towards a long and prosperous life.
1. Honouring the Elderly
We will begin where the Bible begins, with one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses for the People of Israel. In Exodus we have record of the Ten Commandments with the fifth commandment,
“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 ESV
In Ephesians 6:1-3 we find this commandment repeated and noted as the first commandment with a promise.
We find that honouring our parents is critical to our future satisfaction with life for honour is of God. God honours all individuals, and there is a special honour for those who have lived life before us.
The essence of this command ties into the law of sowing and reaping. For instance,
“The one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8 ESV
The law of sowing and reaping determines that when we sow (plant) honour, we will reap (receive) honour ourselves one day.
While we may in our flesh want to ignore our parents, despise the elderly and simply get on with our lives, we are told that this does not please the Lord. Dishonour does not work in the Kingdom of God.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7 ESV
Learning to reap unto the Lord begins as we grow a deep respect for the Lord.
2. Deep Respect for the Lord
It is our honour of others that shows whether we have a deep respect for the Lord, or as it is said in Psalms 128, as one who fears the Lord.
“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” Psalm 128:1-2 ESV
A fear of the Lord is all about understanding that one day we will stand before God and answer for our life. This is not something to be afraid of, so much as something to understand and realize with much sober mindedness.
The fear of the Lord spurs us on to live a life pleasing to God, a life that is ordered around the Lord’s principles and heart. What God loves we love, what hurts God’s heart we stay away from.
In a very simple way it is the same deep respect that we would give to a family member, a good friend and our marriage partner.
It is about living in such a way that we do not purposefully break fellowship with our Lord. A fear of God compels us to make good decisions, to weigh choices carefully and to walk in honour of our Lord.
When we do this we will “be blessed, and it shall be well with you”
3. Integrity and Truthfulness
Our deep respect for the Lord begins to show up in our speech and the attitudes of our hearts. God is all about integrity and truthfulness.
“Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace and work to maintain it.” Psalms 34:12-14 NLT
God asks here, ‘Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?’ Then here is what you do:
• do not speak evil
• do not tell lies
• refuse to participate in evil
• be a peacemaker
Peacemaking comes into this conversation because where there is evil there is no peace.
Where we tell lies we cause trouble for ourselves and for others. And when we speak evil we agree with the enemy and not God.
God has taken the initiative to overcome evil with good, and we are called to do the same.
This is the way to a “long and prosperous life”.
4. Obedience to the Lord
All of these things so far, are the very ways we are to obey God. Obedience is not often about what we do and where we are going. While our physical choices are certainly an element of obedience, the core of following the Lord is:
• to live in a manner where our hearts are, I. Honouring our parents and the elderly.
• where we have a, 2. Deep respect and holy fear of God
• where we, 3. Walk in integrity and truthfulness
“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” Jeremiah 7:23 ESV
Walking in God’s ways is not about the letter of the law, but rather in the spirit of the law and the change that must come to our hearts. When we do not pay attention to what is important to God and go our own way, this is what we experience,
“But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24 ESV
The good news is, that our lack of obedience, our inability to hear God’s heart, our lack of honor and the lies we live and the truths we avoid, can all be confessed and renounced.
We bring ourselves to the cross of Christ and we find healing and wholeness.
While we know how to live, we are unable to live it. In and of ourselves we will violate every single one of these principles.
This is why Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. To become our righteousness.
5. Trusting on Christ for our Righteousness
“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 ESV
It is the work of Jesus Christ that saves us, that makes us holy, and that restores us unto righteousness (right living). It is Christ that we serve.
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 ESV
“Jesus we welcome you into our lives today in a new and fresh way. Where we have dishonoured our parents and the elderly around us, please show us honour, teach us to honour, may we have new habits of honour.
Where we have not respected you or sought your ways, we ask that you would show us who you are in a fresh way. Enable our hearts to understand your might and your holiness. May we learn a holy fear of who you are, and may we not disregard the amazing opportunity and invitation to do life alongside your ways.
The times we have operated out of falseness and in lies, where we have lacked integrity and truthfulness in our dealings with others, we bring ourselves to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We lay down our dishonesty today and renounce it in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Build in us new sensitivity to truthfulness and honesty. May we not manipulate or lie to get our own way. But rather may we trust you with our lives as we live in honesty.
And where we have heard your voice and felt your compelling on our lives, but have not taken action, where we have not obeyed we simply bow to you today. We are sorry. Restore to us the ability to walk with you, to hear your voice clearly and to follow you.
May we simply be obedient people, those who show the heart of you in everything we do, the ways we talk and the ways we love others.
In all this, we declare our dependence on our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our salvation and the one who makes possible our life unto God. Jesus we thank-you today for making a way for us to walk with our God. Holy Spirit, please breath through our hearts and thoughts and lives today. We invite you.
With all glory and honour to God and God alone, amen and amen.”
Are you honouring your parents?
Have you forgiven them?
Are you caring for him or her if they are very old and frail?
Have you visited them lately?
Is your spouse free to minister to his or her parents?
God do what is right.
Ask God to show you one thing today that you can do to honour your parents.
Summary – a long life
We honour the elderly. Exodus 20:12
We respect the Lord and we walk in His ways. Psalm 128:1-2
We obey God. Jeremiah 7:23
We trust Christ for our righteousness. Philippians 3:9