Dr. Stanley says, “You’re young and useful at any age.” It’s a principle that’s guided him through decades of productive service. He also shares several other key principles to living a life marked by vitality and fruitfulness. Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start trusting God and growing young.
start your day off. Right with the free in touch, devotional Subscribe today In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness in sharing the gospel worldwide. Next on in touch. How to stay young and useful all your life. How does the young and useful? All of your life? That’s what I wanted to talk about. And somebody says, well, is it a drink? No? Is it a pill? No. Is it a course of exercise? No. Well what is it? That’s what I want to share with you And I want you to turn to the 90th 2nd song. And in this 92nd some I think the Lord Lays out for us an idea of how we can indeed live young and useful all of our life. Many people just want to live long. If you’re not useful, what’s the use of living long? How do you remain useful and young? All the days of your life? Well, look at this 92nd song. And let’s begin in the 12th verse the scripture says, The righteous Man will flourish like the palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord. They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age. They shall be full of sap and very green to declare that the Lord is upright. I believe in this passage of scripture is a key to being useful at any age in our life and you’ll notice how he begins this, He says, The righteous Man, not just anybody. The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, what does it mean by righteous? That is a person who is Godly, not just anybody but a person who is Godly will flourish that is will be abundant in whatever is going on in their life. Like the palm tree, Like a cedar in Lebanon. Now the palm trees that they were talking about were date palms and they will go 50 or 60 or more feet high And if you think about a palm tree that produces dates, it has fruit and they use the leaves to build fences to be part of the house on the roof of our house and so forth. And then the cedars of Lebanon will grow and can grow up to 120 ft tall, 30 ft around and all of their limbs are straight out. It’s a majestic sight to see one of those trees. So he says the righteous Man will flourish like a palm tree, grow like a cedar in Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord. They will flourish in the courts of our God, that means there will be abundance, there’s something going on awesomely going on. They will still yield fruit in old age and they shall be full of sap and very green, they’re gonna be growing and they they’re not gonna look all that old, full of sap and very green. Speaking of strength and fruitfulness and healthy to declare that the Lord is upright? So the question is how many of you really believe that God expects you to be useful all the days of your life? Alright? So how do we do that? What I wanna do is I want to give you what I believe is the key to making that truthful. So I want you to jot down these simple phrases I’m gonna give you and I want you to think about them in your own life. So I don’t want you to think about this as a sermon. I want you to think about it is the word of instruction how you can live longer and be more useful. Now I know that God is the one who makes the final decision about how long we live and some people not meant to live as long as others. But let’s just say you who you are and you don’t know when you’re gonna die. And so as long as you and I are alive we have the responsibility of being fruitful all the days of their life. And I wonder sometimes if some people shorten their life because they’re not useful. They come to the point of life and they say well I’m 55 I’ve got 60 to let’s say I got seven more years to live and then I’m finished, let me tell you something when you tell your body that you have finished, your body begins to break down because your mind sends your body a message in seven years, I’m finished finished doing what God created you and me to be fruitful all the days of our life ever. How long that is. And I do believe that if you are fruitful, it’s gonna lengthen your life. Humanly speaking. So the question is what is essential to making your life useful all the days of your life. And the first one is very important. That is keep learning. When you cease to learn, you cease to grow. When you cease to learn, you sort of begin to decay a little bit. You are to learn how to stay healthy And you say, well, how do I do that? Well, the proper diet and exercise and rest, that’s part of it. There was, we’re not healthy by accident. It’s by learning some key things in life that really make a difference. And when we keep learning, something happens in their life. For example, you and I living in an age when we had to keep learning because when I was born, there were no computers that I knew of in 1900 and 32. So we go back and you look at your life and think about all the things that you’ve had to learn that your predecessors and your your parents didn’t have to learn because they didn’t even exist. So if you if you’re gonna be useful all the days of your life, you’ve got to be willing to keep learning. So I would simply say that a lazy brain is an aging brain, you don’t want to learn what happens. You start decaying and so there’s something interesting and exciting about learning things in life no matter who you are and no matter what your age might be. So, I would say at the top of that list is learning the word of God. Learning to quote a verse of scripture. If you can’t do any better, just learn this one, jesus wept. If you can’t learn that when you can’t learn anything. So the first step is remember we’re talking about remaining useful all the days of your life. Number one, keep learning secondly, keep loving. Love is a very important part of our life and in the old testament and did around him, that God commands us to love him. We were to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul with all of our strength. And jesus talked about loving one another. And I believe that the very experience of loving someone is like a flow that’s in your life and it’s like loving isn’t is an expression of something on the inside of you that you don’t ever want to stop. For example, if there’s no love, there’s bitterness, resentment, hostility or hatred, all of which damage a person’s emotional and their mental life. God made us to love one another. He made us to love him, loving is a very important part of staying young all the days of your life and of of having the spirit that promotes a good health then of course there is the whole idea of keeping laughing that somebody says, what does that have to do with being useful? When a person is laughing, something’s going on on the inside of them, it’s like everything flows and when you laugh, for example, you just laugh from your belly. Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! You laugh and laugh and laugh. And what happens if something happens to you? And when there’s laughter and there’s love and there’s joy, your body is going to respond accordingly. But if you’re uptight and you’re you’re not laughing. And if you just think about what happens to your whole nervous system when you can’t laugh. And somebody says, well, I don’t have anything to laugh about. Well, yes, you do. If you think about it, you do. There are times we don’t feel like laughing, but there ought to be the joy of the Lord in their life when you have the joy of jesus in your life, you’ve got a lot to laugh about. In fact, christians have more to laugh about. And and when you think about all the good things that God has done in your life and is doing in your life, you can count on some tough things, but there’s much to be laughed about. But if you can’t laugh. But this way, if you can’t laugh, I’m not too sure you’ve got many friends who wants to be around a grouch all the time. Always frowning. There’s always something wrong. And when you say, well let me tell you something good happened to me. I’m not interested. Well, when people have that attitude, I believe your nervous system is affected, Your whole system is affected. I think there’s some simple things God placed in their life and the process of exercising them will live longer. Now you say, can you prove that? Well, so far I can so far I can. And uh and one of the things I love about my friends is we’re always jabbing each other and one of my friends and all of I think all of us sitting here this morning, not all my friends, but we’re always jabbing each other about something. We’re always laughing and I think that frees up your nervous system. So you may say I don’t have anything to laugh about. We’ll make something, get something going and watch something that will help you laugh and you find people sometimes who just, that just stiff, it’s like they think it’s a sin to laugh. Christians ought to be the happiest people in the world because we’ve got more to be grateful for. And then there’s another one and let’s keep leaving. You say, well leaving what that’s very important, keep leaving your cares behind, don’t drag yesterday’s problems in today and don’t drag situations and circumstances and conversations and incidences that have been in your past. I could think of things in my life that were not the most pleasant of all but you don’t have to you don’t have to think about it. And I love what Peter said in the that first chapter of the fifth chapter and the seventh verse uh and first Peter he said for example cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. In the words God says when you have cares and burdens and heartaches or whatever it might be he says cast them, cast them upon the Lord in other words just lay them down and so when we talk about leaving there are people who live with the rear view mirror in their life, Let me tell you what happened. They can always bring up something and I think oftentimes they’re looking for sympathy or whatever it might be well back yonder. All of us can bring up some junk in their life but we have to live every day with that behind us. We we don’t have to think about that. God doesn’t want us thinking about all the difficulties and hardships. There may be times when the word of testimony about how God has brought you through that but you don’t drag it along with you. So let me ask you a question is there something in your past that you that you drag with you if you do it slows you down, it affects your attitude, it affects your whole emotional system and I believe it affects your health, God intended for us to leave our burdens behind. And some people project not just things that have happened the best. Well it’s gonna get worse, you know? No, you leave all that behind you and you think about what God is doing in your life then of course not only keep living, but keep longing. What in the world do you mean by that? Well, simply this, you gotta keep dreaming. A person who doesn’t know how to dream is not gonna enjoy life very long. You gotta keep dreaming, that is about the future and never stop. Somebody says, well, you know, at this point in my life I don’t see anything to dream about. We’ll start thinking about it. It’s a matter of attitude. Nobody can keep you from dreaming. And you say, well I just don’t think I can do this and say, well why don’t you stop thinking about that and think about the things you can do. And it’s not a matter of just having a positive attitude. It’s a matter of being watched this, a child of God, you would agree with that Amen. And you’re in to help with the Holy Spirit Amen. So all power exists within you, Amen. So don’t live in the past thinking about what you can’t do, you can do anything God calls you to do and don’t underestimate God. If you agree that the Holy Spirit is living within you, if you agree that God is within you, then don’t chalk God off as to what he can’t do because he can do anything and everything that it is heels will for you. If somebody says, well, that’s not the will of God for my life, how do you know it’s not? Have you asked him Now around my computer? I have all these little sayings that have impressed men affected me and and I count them the other day and had 25. Well, here’s one of them. You’re young and useful. Listen to this. You’re young and useful at any age. If you’re still planning for tomorrow, you write that down. You listen, you’re young and useful at any age. If you’re still planning for tomorrow, because that means you’re dreaming. That means you’re planning, it means you’re looking ahead and so whatever the age is, don’t give up. Don’t stop, don’t quit. Just think about what what would I like to do? What what do I believe God would have me to do? So you keep longing and then keep looking when you say what? Looking at what? Well, look your best. You heard me say that, look your best, do your best to be your best. I think that no words, watch this. If you think you look your best, you are going to act differently right, ladies, is that true or not Absolutely. Do you think your hair is just right and you’ve got them just right. You’re looking just right, you’re gonna act differently. So you look your best. Do your best be your best then of course keep laboring. That is keep working. One of my favorite seminary professors uh was teaching In his early 90’s. I loved him the first time I ever saw them and I loved him because he just kept going. Now he didn’t run. He walked slowly. But he was an awesome man. I a godly man. And here he was at that point in his life and I remember Bertha Smith who was a missionary to China for 40 years When she was in her late 90s, she already had on her calendar uh times that she was going to speak up to the age of 105. And I know that to be absolutely true. I tell people that shouldn’t retire. If that means you stop doing nothing may change something in the Bible. Only the priests could retire. They started 25 and 50 that that was their finished. But the Bible doesn’t teach retirement. The Bible teaches us to be fruitfulness. We said all the days of our life, our life, our life is to be counting for something in somebody’s life. And so we keep laboring when you say in your mind and you think it and you say well that’s it. I quit. No more work. I’m just gonna you send your body a message and that message is, it’s all over. I don’t need to function the way I’ve been functioning. That’s not of God were to live it out through the last day of our life. And so keep laboring is a very important part. And if you’ll think think about this the longer you live, if faith should be greater, a confidence should be stronger. The things that we do, we would do maybe better than we’ve ever done before. So laboring keep laboring and then of course keep leaning and we lean on the Lord which means we rely upon him. We we trust in him, he answers their prayer, he answers their needs. We keep leaning on him. That is we should live every day trusting him depending upon him and acknowledging the fact Lord, I’m trusting you for today. What you’re saying is I’m I’m leaning on you to give me wisdom and direction for my life and and guidance. And so when I when I think about that and think about what the bible says in the 37th psalm three times fret not fret not fret. Not as believers. We have christ living within us through the Holy spirit. We do lean on him, we do rely upon him, we do trust him so that’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to lean upon him, he wants us to rely upon him, he wants us to trust him, he wants us to come to him acknowledging that we are dependent upon him because he wants to be everything for us that we need in their life. And then of course keep listening and this is one of the most important ones. Keep listening. Learn to listen to God and many people go through their life saying, well God never said anything to me. Yes, he did. You may not have listened, you may not have obeyed. He did not speak to you audibly, but God speaks to us and he wants us to listen to him. For example, how do you find the will of God? You have to listen to him? How do you know what to do in making critical decisions in your life of simple decisions? You listen to him and how do you listen to him? You be quiet, how do you listen to him? You get in the word and you ask God to speak to your heart. And I think it’s the most important lesson in the christian life is learning how to listen to God and know that you’re getting direction for your life. The confidence to know what to do next. Learning to listen to him is absolutely essential to living a godly life. A useful life. A profitable life listening to him. If you can know some of these other things. But learning to listen to him? What is God saying? How is he giving me direction for my life at this point? Learning to listen to him. And so if I’m gonna stay on the right path and watch this. If I’m gonna walk in the will of God, I gotta listen to him. If I’m gonna make wise decisions, I gotta listen to him. If I’m gonna have right relationships with other people I’m gonna listen to him. If I’m going to if I’m going to avoid yielding to temptation, I’m gonna listen to him. If I’m gonna have my needs met, I’m gonna listen to him. You can ask any question you want to but learning to listen to God is absolutely the basic one of all. How are you gonna be saved? You’re gonna be saved by listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You convicted you of your sin and said that if you die without christ you’re gonna be lost. You listen you got saved. You listened to him when it came to convicting you about your sin and you want to go to heaven when you die. Well we listened to him about everything and when you start the day off every morning you should be listening to him. Lord speak to my heart, give me guidance for today. Make me sensitive today to what’s going around me. Make me sensitive Lord to the people I meet, how to respond. If there’s a need something I can say I do Lord help me know how to listen so that some things I need to avoid learning to listen to him is absolutely essential because you see, you don’t have a discerning spirit really, unless you know how to listen to him. Should I do this or should I not listening to him? And so we’re talking about being useful all the days of your life, learning to listen to God is absolutely essential because what happens? Well, for example, let’s say you’re married, uh how you gonna build an intimate relationship with your wife or your husband? You learn to listen to them how you want to raise Godly Children. You learn to listen to them and teach them to listen to you and teach them to listen to God. Listening is essential to every single aspect of our life. And certainly if we’re gonna be useful all the days of our life, we’re going to learn to listen to God because he’s gonna tell us what to do, what not to do, what to avoid and what to pursue. God is always speaking to his Children. And in light of what we said, Look at this verse, The righteous Man will flourish like the palm tree. Date palms grow grow strong like a cedar in Lebanon planted in the house of the Lord. They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age. They shall be full of sap and very green, that is strong and fruitful and healthy to declare that the Lord is upright and I’ve simply said to you today. I do believe this is the way used a strong and healthy as possible and useful all the days of your life. It doesn’t make any difference where you are now. You can start today and ask God Lord, I want you to I want you to make me sensitive every day to all of these attitudes because that’s what I want in my life. It’s a decision you make and it begins with trusting jesus christ as your personal savior. That’s the beginning as when you start learning to listen right then. And if you’ve never trusted him as your savior, you’re probably not even going to attempt what I’ve shared with you this morning. But asking the Lord, jesus christ to forgive you of your sins, surrendering your life to him and then saying Lord, I want my life to count every day. I wanna be useful all the days of my life. Show me how to do that. And I trust that if you’ve never trusted him as your savior, you will be wise enough to make a decision this morning, jesus forgives all sin. He will take you right where you are. And if you will trust him as your personal savior today and listen, begin with this list today. Your life will change beginning today. If you’re willing to allow him to work it in your life. Amen and father how grateful we are that you’re more than willing. They give us your best. I pray that every person who hears this message will remember carefully listening to you and obeying you. That’s the key to life and its very best, no matter who we are. So we want to say we love you and praise you for being patient with us, for guarding us, for helping us for providing for us and giving us this awesome, indescribable gift of eternal life, we say, Bless your holy name, jesus Amen.