“I wish I had been nicer to my mother-in-law when I had the chance.”
“Too bad I didn’t forgive my friend while he was still alive.”
“Why didn’t I pay more attention to the sermons from my youth?”
Have you ever heard someone lamenting their present state, wishing they could go back and have a “do-over”? Maybe you’ve been the one regretting some past action, or lack thereof. We try to live our lives so that when we are in our golden years, we won’t have too many regrets. We will probably still have some, but we try to keep them to a minimum.
Imagine if we were to ask a golden sister (a Christian friend who is in her golden years) what regrets she has. How do you think she would answer? There are so many possibilities. She may regret her choice of a husband. She may regret how she parented. She may regret not participating in the Ladies’ Bible Classes throughout her years.
Today, let’s think about one possible area of regret she may have in her life, along with some practical tips to avoid having these same regrets.
She may have regrets with regard to her relationship with her God.
- Regret #1: I regret not knowing God’s Word like I should.
- Regret #2: I regret not knowing how to pray like I should.
- Regret #3: I regret not drawing near to God, so that He would draw near to me.
These are some huge regrets; huge, but preventable. What are some ways that we can work on our relationship with our Lord NOW, so that we won’t have these regrets in our golden years?
The obvious vaccine for Regret #1 (not knowing God’s Word like I should) is to get in The Book – today. Not just to say you’ve read it, but really get in the book. Memorize it, ponder it, ask questions about it… soak it up! One great source to aid you in this task is www.comefillyourcup.com. This site has lots of new articles each month. Some are really deep studies, while others are more devotional-type lessons (such as the one you are reading now). Read each and every article, with a prayer and an open Bible. Use this as your “jumping off place” and begin to know your Lord through His Word!
You can do this! Effort is required, but the results cannot be measured. You can have a great knowledge of the Bible if you consistently read, study, and meditate upon it! “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).
A vaccine for Regret #2 (not knowing how to pray like I should) is to read the prayers in the Bible. Read Hannah’s prayer. Read our Lord’s prayers. Read prayers in the book of Psalms. Read them and imitate their attitude, their urgency, their trust in the Almighty – start today!
You may find it very helpful to keep a prayer journal or a running list of events/people for which you want to pray. Make it a habit to pray every day. You may want to pray this way: when you have your morning coffee, pray a prayer of thanksgiving; when you’re doing dishes, pray a prayer of petition; when you’re getting ready for bed, pray a prayer of praise. Or you may want to take some time off by yourself to pray. Taking a long walk is good for your body and your soul. You can have a strong prayer life if you pray consistently, believing God will answer!
Your vaccine for Regret #3 (not drawing near to God, so that He would draw near to me) will surely overlap the last two vaccines, for we cannot draw near to God without prayer and knowing His Word. To be near God, make sure you are His friend – today. What do friends do?
Friends listen . . . make sure you hear God’s Word as much as you are able. Do you attend all the services of the church, even Bible classes? Learn from Him through His Word with a humble, submissive spirit. There are sermons you can download; there are entire Gospel Meetings on DVD that you can purchase; GBN is available 24/7; the internet is full of sound sites to help you fill your mind with encouraging lessons from God’s Word. God told the parents of old that they were to teach their children diligently about Him; when they were sitting in their house, when they were walking by the way, when they were lying down, and when they arose in the morning (Deuteronomy 6:7). We should do this for ourselves too. Saturate your mind with all things spiritual! Apply His Word to you and to your life. He is talking to you. Are you listening?
Friends also talk . . . remember that our Lord is anxious to hear from you! Talk to Him freely, honestly, and constantly. Sometimes our prayers may be lengthy, pouring out our hearts with praise or petitions. Sometimes our prayers may be a quick: “Thank you!” or “I praise you!” or “Please forgive me.” The point is to include Him in every aspect of your life. He should be the One you consult first. He should be the One you thank. He should be the One you praise. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a)
Learn from our golden sister: realizing that she has a shallow relationship with God is a hard pill to swallow. It’s a regret.
Will you take the necessary vaccines to avoid this future pain – today? Immerse yourself in God’s Word and in prayer!
Perhaps you are already living in the land of regrets. Don’t fret for it’s not too late to change! In our next lesson, we’ll see our friend’s second area of regret, along with some more preventative vaccines. We will also find the prescription for our golden sister’s current state. Stay tuned!
By Jennifer Jensen
Jennifer Jensen lives in sunny California. She is married to a Gospel preacher and homeschools her two teenaged daughters.