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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of December 20, 2021

I don't want to get to the end of my one and only life and realize I've wasted it.

Probably everyone wants his or her life to count for something and to matter; there are certainly very few people who want to waste their lives.

But what does it mean to waste your life? And what does it mean for your life to count, to matter, and to be meaningful? Really, both of those questions boil down to this: Why do you exist? What are you here for? Isaiah 43:6-7 makes it clear that God created us for this purpose: to glorify Him. Humanity was intended to reflect praise and honor to God; we were designed to make much of God. In other words, you exist to point praise and glory to God.

If your life doesn't fulfill its purpose, then it was wasted. Specifically, a wasted life is one that fails to make much of God.

Given the purpose of our lives—as stated in Isaiah 43:6-7—it should be no surprise that Paul gives this command: whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In other words, everything you do should be done to fulfill your purpose, which is giving glory to God.

The Apostle Paul determined not to waste his life; instead, he set his heart on glorifying God by spreading the message of Christ: I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24).

Paul was determined not to get tangled up in little dreams and small visions; he knew that the single purpose of telling everyone about Jesus is greater than every distraction. Because of his vision, passion, and purpose, Paul's life was not wasted. Compare what Paul said in Acts 20:24 about his desire to "run the race" with what he wrote decades later in 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Paul's life was not wasted; he lived every day purposefully for the glory of God.

Take Paul's example and try writing a "mission statement" for your life. Then, live a life driven by that mission. When you get to the end of your life, don't let your reflection on life be "I've wasted it." Instead, leverage your life in every way possible for the glory of God.

Use your words as building blocks not battering rams.

Every word you say will have an affect on others. Positive words will encourage and strengthen other people, but negative words will tear down and harm them. You must decide whether to speak positively or negatively. Please understand that speaking positively requires a deliberate decision, whereas speaking negatively comes easily—for it is human nature. Therefore, actively strive to speak positive and encouraging words to others.

It is no surprise that the Bible instructs us to say beneficial things about others: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29). Furthermore, Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt ..." Speaking positive, uplifting words is extremely important. Indeed, Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."

In Psalm 19:14, David prays, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." David clearly knew the importance of words, and so he prayed that he would speak words that were pleasing to God.

We must deliberately choose to speak positive words; otherwise, we will instinctively complain and be negative—for that is human nature. Thus, it is no surprise that Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." Similarly, Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Usually when you "hold" your tongue, you'll catch yourself before you say nasty things about others and cut them down with your words.

Lastly, it is important to understand that whatever you say is a reflection of your heart attitude. Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (also see Luke 6:45). In other words, your words are simply an overflow of what's in your heart. If you think poorly about others, you'll speak poorly about them. On the other hand, if you think positively about others, as the Bible instructs us to, then you'll speak positively about them.

Since words carry power, make a decision to use your words as building blocks not battering rams.