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Living Without Regrets

Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God.
–Ephesians 5:17 PHILLIPS

How can you make sure that you do not end your life with a long list of regrets? One of the best resolves you can make right now is to focus on those things you believe God would have you to do regardless of how long He has left you here on earth.

Here is an exercise you can do that would honor God. Think through five major areas of your life: your relationship with God, your relationship with family, your relationship with friends, your career, and your finances. Then ask God to help you identify three things you would like to accomplish in each of these areas before you go to Heaven. Ask yourself, “What are the three things God would like me to concentrate on during the remaining years I have on earth?”

That is what Paul had in mind in Ephesians 5 when he encouraged believers to live with a sense of purpose: “Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God” (Ephesians 5:17 PHILLIPS).

I encourage you to think of resolves for each of these major life areas. For example, when it comes to your relationship with God: “Resolved: I will glorify God so that He will say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” Or regarding your family: “Resolved: I will appreciate, enjoy, and value the mate God gave me.” Or regarding your children: “Resolved: I will endeavor to point my children to Christ, to earn their respect, and to celebrate their uniqueness.” Or with your friends: “Resolved: I will treasure my friendships by praying for and spending time with those people who enrich my life.” When it comes to your career: “Resolved: I will choose a life work that utilizes my giftedness and my passions.” When it comes to your finances: “Resolved: I will make sure that my finances are in order and my family is provided for when I die.”

One way to minimize your regrets in life is to focus right now on what God would have you spend the rest of your life doing. But part of dealing with regrets is dealing with past mistakes. You cannot erase your past mistakes, but you can allow whatever mistakes you have made to be stepping stones to make significant changes in your life that will affect your tomorrow and your eternity. That is the way to deal with past mistakes so that you do not have regrets.

When Paul was facing death, he knew he had made terrible mistakes. He had persecuted Christians. He did not come to the end of his life without mistakes, but he came to the end of his life without any regrets. In 2 Timothy 4:7, as Paul prepared for his execution, he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Prepare For My Journey To Heaven?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. ( Scripture quotation marked PHILLIPS is taken from The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.

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