Growing Older and Growing Godly: Are You Caleb or Asa?
The older I get the more intense I feel about this. I think we do things backwards in the Christian church. We do these amazing things for God when we’re 18 to 25 years old. But as we get older we tend to mellow out. We get more comfortable, and we do fewer things by faith. I look at that, and I think that’s so backwards.
We’re in a race. There’s no time to celebrate, there’s no time to fight. Anything could slow us down. That’s what our lives should be like. But we do it backwards. We slow down as we get older. I get some of this. When we’re 18, we have nothing to lose. But as we get older, we get married, we have a career, we have some kids, and we don’t have the energy we had earlier in life.
I don’t want to slow down.
I don’t want to get comfortable.
I want to take bigger steps of faith every year.
To me, “Happily ever after” starts at my death, standing before God. That’s when I can celebrate.
Look at Caleb.
He was over 40 when he was sent to spy on the Promised Land, and he was one of only two who came back who was convinced that Israel could take the land. 45 years later, he’s 85, and he was ready to march in and take the land. That’s who I want to be.
2 CHRONICLES 16:9 – “The eyes of the Lord roam to and fro throughout the Earth, looking to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”
Do you believe this? God is looking throughout the Earth. He knows my heart. He knows my mind. He knows yours. He’s actively looking to give support to those whose heart is blameless towards him. He’s looking for someone to support. We ask, “God, please support me!”
And he’s saying, “I’m looking. Is anyone’s heart really for me? Are you really seeking my kingdom?” Do you want my will?”
God sees that.
I want to be that person where God stops and says, “Okay, him. I’m going to strongly support him, like Caleb and Joshua. They just kept believing God and serving Him confidently and faithfully!
What I love about this verse is the context — the real story of this verse. These words were spoken to a king named Asa. He was an amazing king. When there was a good king, good things happened. But that was rare.
Early in King Asa’s reign, a prophet said to him, “Take courage. Do not let your hands be weak. Your work shall be rewarded.” As soon as Asa heard these words, he took courage. Think about that. “Take courage.” It’s something we have to take.
We see in 2 Chronicles 15 what Asa does. He rebuilds the altar, he removes the idols, and he makes a covenant with the Lord along with all the people. He even removed an idol that his own mother had made. Don’t you want to be a man or woman of God like that?
God rewarded his faithfulness. For 35 years, there was no war.
But in the 36th year, the King of Israel started a war.
At this point, Asa made a deal with the King of Syria, to help defend his kingdom. Most of us would think that this was a good idea. But in verse 7, Hananiah the prophet came and told Asa that because he had relied on the King of Syria and not on God, that Asa had acted foolishly and that there would never be an end to war.
Asa had changed his ways from his earlier years because he had gotten a little success. He’d gotten comfortable. It wasn’t like the early days when he cried out to God, and this prophet was reminding him of that. God’s looking for people who always seek him throughout life, but what does Asa do?
He’s been a king for 35 years, and he’d made other king buddies, so they’d join him. Asa was told that this was a very stupid thing to do. He would be at war from then on. The really sad thing is, after hearing this, did Asa change his ways? No. He got angry at the prophet and had him imprisoned.
In Asa’s 39th year, God gave him a disease in his feet. He still refused to pray to God, and he died. I’ve seen this happen in my life.
I speak to so many college-age kids, and they’re all longing for an elderly mentor whose life makes sense to them in light of the Gospel. I want my kids to model the same intensity that they see in me. I want my two-year-old to see an even more intense me than my 18-year-old did.
If I can hear “Well done” from God, that’s all I want. I want that for you. Is there anything you’re going to care about that’s more important than when Jesus says, “Well done”?
Older saint, Join me!
I’m going to take courage.
I’m going to turn around.
I’m going to live for God for the rest of my life, and I want to hear God say, “Well done.”
God will say, “You know I had something better for you, so come in and enjoy the riches of my kingdom.” There’s that “Happily ever after.” Live life faithfully and seek God’s rewards.
Taken from “Finish Strong: Caleb” by Francis Chan