Looking at Life

James 4:13-15

Snap a telescopic lens on your perspective for the next few minutes. Pull yourself up close . . . close enough to see the real you. From the reflection in your mental mirror, pay close attention to your life. Try your best to examine the inner “you” on the basis of time.

The only way we can do this, of course, is to look in two directions . . . backward and forward. In many ways what we see in our past and visualize in our future determines how we view ourselves today . . . in that third dimension we call “the present.”

As we look back, one overriding thought eclipses all others. It’s not new nor very profound, but it’s the truth: LIFE IS SHORT. That’s not only a valid observation from experience . . . it’s biblical.

Psalm 90 is loaded with reminders of the brevity of life. Life is short . . . like yesterday when it passes by . . . as a watch in the night . . . like grass, it sprouts and withers . . . like a sigh, soon it is gone. Life is indeed short.

As we look ahead, we again see one major message. And it’s neither new nor profound, but it sure is true: LIFE IS UNCERTAIN. A single adjective could precede most every event in our future: “unexpected.” Unexpected surgery, transfer, change, accomplishment, loss, benefit, sickness, promotion, demotion, gift, death. Life is indeed uncertain.

Well then, since life is so brief and uncertain, how should we view our present?

I suggest there are three words that adequately and accurately describe the present. They do not contradict either lesson we have learned from time, nor do they require rose-colored glasses. Neither do they agree with philosophy’s futile meanderings. For as we look at the present, we discover: LIFE IS CHALLENGING.

Because it is short, life is packed with challenging possibilities. Because it is uncertain, it’s filled with challenging adjustments. I’m convinced that’s much of what Jesus meant when He promised us an abundant life. Abundant with challenges, running over with possibilities, filled with opportunities to adapt, shift, alter, and change. Come to think of it, that’s the secret of staying young. It is also the path that leads to optimism and motivation.

With each new dawn, life delivers a package to your front door. When you hear that ring tomorrow morning, try something new. Have Jesus Christ answer the door for you.

Life’s most challenging opportunities are often brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.

Life's most challenging opportunities are often brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.

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Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.