Apparently turning 30 is supposed to be a massive event in one’s life. I’m not so sure. But it is a blessing! And every birthday one should take some time to reflect on the gift of life God has given you. And with just a little bit of reflection, there’s a few things I should never do now that I’m 30. I should never eat a plate of loaded nachos at 10PM again. I should never wear a speedo–ever. I should never assume that because I play guitar I’m automatically a rock star on Guitar Hero. I should never attempt a comb-over.
But most importantly, I should never live as though I do not need the gospel, as though I could possibly move on to something bigger and better. The one thing that I enter my thirties with that I didn’t have for most of my twenties is this all-of-life-pervading reality– I am far more sinful and rebellious and messed up than I ever imagined, but because of Christ Jesus I’m also far more loved and accepted and empowered than I ever dared to dream!
So on my 30th birthday, after a wonderful morning with my wife and son and some tasty blueberry pancakes, I went back to one of my favorite entries in one of my favorite books to reflect on what really matters and few things I never want to do.
“The ‘Nevers’ of the Gospel”
O Lord, may I never fail to come to the knowledge of the truth,
never rest in a system of doctrine, however scriptural,
that does not bring or further salvation,
or teach me to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts,
or help me to live soberly, righteously, godly;
[May I] never rely on my own convictions and resolutions,
but be strong in you and in your might;
never cease to find your grace sufficient
in all my duties, trials, and conflicts;
never forget to repair to you
in all my spiritual distresses and outward troubles,
in all the dissatisfactions experienced in creature comforts;
never fail to retreat to him who is full of grace and truth,
the friend that loves at all times,
who is touched with feelings of my infirmities,
and can do exceeding abundantly for me;
[May I] never confine my religion to extraordinary occasion,
but acknowledge you in all my ways;
never limit my devotions to particular season
but fear you all the day long;
never be godly only on the sabbath or in your house,
but on every day abroad and at home;
never make piety a dress but a habit,
not only a habit but a nature,
not only a nature but a life.
Do good to me by all your dispensations,
by all means of grace,
by worship, prayers, praises,
And at last let me enter that world where is no temple,
but only your glory and the Lamb’s.
–From The Valley of Vision, “The ‘Nevers’ of the Gospel”, p. 64.