20 Lessons to Learn Before You’re 40

Dec 16, 2021 | Blogs

It can sometimes take us many years to learn what seem like simple truths. And, sometimes, even after we’ve learned them, we still struggle to practice them. For example, we may know that God will never fail us, but do we live our lives as if we know that? Below we’ve outlined 20 lessons that we have personally learned throughout our adulthood. Take a moment to consider each one, reflecting upon how living your life in view of these truths would impact your life today.

  1. Jesus is the only Savior. As much as you may want to and be able to help others, remember you don’t have the power to save anyone; only God can do that.Your job is to point others to Him by proclaiming the truth of the gospel; by loving them and forgiving them as Christ has loved and forgiven you; by praying for them; and not being a stumbling block to their coming to know Him.

  2. A life well lived has its focus first and foremost upon loving and serving God, and secondly, upon loving and serving others. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve others. We have been called to follow in His footsteps, and true joy is found in ‘dying to ourselves–our selfish will and desires–and living to please the Lord by loving Him, which we demonstrate we do by obeying Him, which means by loving others. 

  3. Be intentional and faithful to have a morning quiet time where you meet with the Lord. Spend your time worshiping Him, thanking Him for all He has done for you, reading His Word to you, pouring out your petitions to Him, and make time to listen to Him  speak to your spirit. He will give you His wisdom and insight and guide your steps throughout your day, leading you in His ‘paths of righteousness’. (Psalm 23)

  4. Live for an audience of One! Fear God wholly, and you will be released from every unholy fear. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Psalm 111:10 NIV  The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.Proverbs 29:25 

  5. Walk in humility; ‘humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up’.(James 4:10) There is so much wisdom in the adage: ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.’ If you want to be on the high road in your relationship with the Lord, always be willing to walk in the path of humility with others. 

  6. Do not be easily offended. Assume that others’ negative reactions have more to do with their current emotional state than something you may have unknowingly or unintentionally done.’ When in doubt, check it out’, by lovingly asking the person if you have done something to offend them, apologize if you did something offensive,and seek to make amends. 

  7. Don’t allow vain imaginations to fill your mind with fearful thoughts. Most of what we fear will never take place, and even if it does, our dwelling on the ‘what if’s’ doesn’t put God into the equation and what He is able to do ‘to work all things together for our good and His glory’. 

  8. Always pray in faith, expecting God to show up! Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24 ESV) God hears your prayers, so pray without ceasing about all things, in all situations, and at all times. Prayer is what will keep you in communion with God, Who knows your every need and alone is able to meet those needs, and prayer is what will enable you to have an intimate relationship with God.

  9. Choose your companions carefully. Cultivate friendships with those who know God’s Word and will help you to live according to it. Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20 ESV. Look to be mentored by someone further along in their faith journey; to come alongside someone as your peer; and to serve as a mentor to someone else who may not yet have learned the faith lessons you know. 

  10. Difficult times will make you either ‘better or bitter’, depending upon your response to them. Choose to praise God in the midst of your trials, knowing that He is at work to refine your faith, to give you perseverance, and to build your character. Like an athlete who must exercise his or her muscles, trials are the instruments of God’s grace in your life to grow your  faith and conform you more into His image. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV

  11. Always forgive others, keeping in mind that no matter what they have done to you, it does not compare to your sin against our holy God. Never forget that while you were a sinner, Jesus gave His life for you! (Romans 5:8) For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15 ESV

  12. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians 4:26) Unless it is a righteous anger against that which God has called evil– and even then we are called to ‘pray for our enemies’– our anger is almost always rooted in pride or self-protection. It is due to someone doing something with which we don’t agree, or something that has hurt us. Pride is a sin that never serves us, and always puts barriers between us and God, and between us and others. We are to turn our hurts over to God rather than to allow them to fester in our souls, because He alone is able to bring true healing. 

  13. Always feed your faith and seek to extinguish your fears. Even a tiny amount of faith—faith the size of a mustard seed– is powerful and able to move mountains! (Matthew 17:20) Remain confident and watch for the Lord to do what He promises to do in His perfect timing, and be sure to praise Him when He does.

  14. You cannot save yourself by your ‘good works’, but you sure can get burnt-out from trying! Our salvation is not based on works, it is through faith alone in what Jesus did by dying the death we deserved to die due to our sin.If we truly believe that Jesus gave His life in our place on the cross, we will desire to do works that demonstrate our love for Him. If we love Him, we will obey Him, and it will be a duty of delight to serve Him through our ‘good deeds’ to others rather than a burden we think we must carry, erroneously thinking our works without faith in Him please Him and will somehow ‘earn us’ a place of favor with Him, and/or a place in Heaven.

  15. ‘Go to the throne before you go to the phone’. In other words, go to the Lord and pour your heart out to Him, ‘casting your cares on Him’ before and instead of “venting” to your friends. Go to godly friends to seek godly counsel, encouragement, and prayer, but never to gossip about another person. Go directly to a person if they have sinned against you or against the Body, in hopes of bringing reconciliation, and only involve others– who also have a heart for restoration of the relationship–if the person refuses to listen to you.( Psalm 62:8; 1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 18:15) 

  16. Choose to always obey God, knowing that obedience demonstrates your love for Him and is what will keep you abiding in Him. And if you  abide in Him, you will produce the fruit that lasts–which is His fruit at work in you– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (John 15:1-17; Galatians 5:22-25) That is the life of purpose, contentment, peace and joy that God longs for us to have and that He has given us the power to have through His Spirit at work in us! 

  17. Never do anything you wouldn’t want others to know about. Remember, God is omnipresent and omniscient, meaning He sees all and knows all, so nothing you do is ever hidden from Him. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Luke 8:17 ESV

  18. And when you do disobey, confess your sins to God, trusting in Him to always be faithful to forgive you. When you have wronged another, confess your sins to them and pray for one another so you will be healed and set free.(1 John 1:9; James  5:16)

  19. Be thankful in all things! God inhabits the praises of His people, and He is pleased when we praise Him in all circumstances–especially the hard times–because it demonstrates our love for and trust in Him. Do not grumble or complain, which is always an affront to God, instead always look for God at work in your life and praise Him for His goodness, His faithfulness, His provision, and how He can make ‘beauty even from ashes’!

  20. At all times, and especially when you feel overwhelmed by life in this fallen world and your circumstances, fix your eyes upon Jesus and what awaits you in and for all eternity.(Colossians 3:1-4)  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 

Join Jamie and Julie for their “Faith Your Fear Forum” on Thursdays at 8 p.m. via Zoom to study the Bible and experience encouragement. 

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