It’s a Dylan song title, a worldwide clothing store chain and a desire in the hearts of many – to remain young. Of course those of us who can no longer claim “youthfulness” for our bodies still covet an inner vitality. So, are there any real keys to staying young?
As lovers of God we can expect to find such keys in our Life Manual – His Writings. What is the wisdom of Heaven regarding this inexorable process? The Scriptures are not silent on the meaning and value of our “sunset years”. In fact, there are clear clues for living richly even as our physique might be sagging.
1. Be as a child. Don’t take yourself so seriously. “Whoever does not receive the kingdom as a little child will by no means enter it” (Mark 10:15). Having a good time and retaining a curiosity about life may seem frivolous. But maintaining a youthful approach to one’s existence, instead of carrying the heavy baggage of regret, adds years and brightens the countenance.
|A young Bob Dylan
(wikiphoto by R. Scherman)
2. Don’t let the fire go out. At the center of Israel’s camp the altar fire was never to go out (Leviticus 6:13). I believe this is a picture of our heart, our passion for the Living God and His Messiah, Yeshua. Luke-warmness shortens and darkens our days. His life in us is as a fire to be stoked and tended.
3. Friendship and Forgiveness. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). The authentic support and camaraderie of established friendships is of greater value to me now than ever. At the same time, after decades, we have often gathered unresolved relationships. People have come into our lives and departed. We have loved and we have lost. We have flourished with friends and also failed in conflicts. “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15). Grudges age me. Forgiveness renews me. A sure recipe for staying young on the inside is to genuinely forgive those who’ve hurt me. “God gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34). Keeping short accounts emotionally with others is vital if I’m to live youthfully.
Here is one more key to staying “forever young”. Give your life away. Pour yourself into others. They will love you for it. And you will be enriched beyond measure. Whatever your age, you cannot go wrong by investing your time in the lives God places before you.