I’m afraid to grow old. But not for the reasons one might think.
I don’t care about getting gray hair. I don’t care about degrading physically. I don’t care about being out of touch with culture. I don’t care about driving slowly. I don’t care about terminal sickness. I don’t even care about death.
What I worry about most is growing older and having my heart growing colder towards God.
I worry about being content in my faith. I worry about having a house, two kids, nice cars, and being absolutely bankrupt spiritually. I worry about being an old and stale Christian. I worry about being the guy who just shows up at church. I worry about being so cold that I just begin watching God’s work from a distance, excluding myself from participation. I worry about believing that doing crazy things for Jesus is just for young, naive, uninformed people, and not for older people who have more to lose. I worry about loving life, loving me, loving the world more than Jesus one day. I worry about forgetting my first love, the one true love, the one true reward in this life.
That’s why I’m so afraid of growing older. I’m afraid of growing older if it means dying…dying in my love for God.
One of the recent revelations I had while revisiting my old journal and blogs is, “Man, I feel like I used to be so much more passionate for Jesus.” Like I didn’t care what people thought; I didn’t care if I came across as offensive or harsh–my eyes were so focused in on the person of Jesus.
In one of my blogs, I wrote about what I thought young people needed to see from the older generation and this is what I wrote:
What I believe the younger generation of believers need to see from their parents, their pastors, their elders, the older families in their churches, etc… is an actual passion for the man Jesus Christ.
They need to see older people going hard after God. They need to see someone over the age of 30 who is actually passionate about their faith. They need to see that at age 40, your walk with Jesus still excites you. They need to see that at 50 you can still be filled with the Spirit and dance and praise Jesus with all your heart.
As I read it, I felt the arrow of young Phil piercing me now.
Here I am–I’m married now, I work at a desk job, I get a steady income, I have all these household things from my wedding. Whether I like it or not, I am a “grown up.” The responsibilities of life are here and will never decrease. And with that the precipice of my faith.
I don’t want to be old and stale in my heart.
I want to be alive in God! Now, more than ever. I want to be dynamically alive in Jesus’ love. It’s too easy to settle and to be comfortable. It’s too easy to be the rich young ruler who couldn’t trade any riches away from the kingdom of God. I want to still, in my 40’s, weep at the name of Jesus. I want to be singing even more loudly, even more uncontrollably, even more undignified, because my heart has been growing steadily over the years in the revelation of Jesus’ love and the worthiness of his name.
Father, let that be true in my life. Let the embers of your love never dissipate in me; but let them grow. In this season, in the season after that, and after that. Let my heart be full. Let the garden of my heart be watered by the power of your love. Let the weeds of bitterness, offensiveness, unbelief, and jadedness be pulled out, and let my heart be pure and child-like. Let me love you more at the end of my life from when I first started following you and so give you the greatest gift when I see you in heaven one day–a heart full of love for you, and a life without compromise.