The older you get, the more you move from being an astronaut to an archaeologist.
When you’re young, you excitedly launch to worlds unknown. You have all the significant decisions of life before you. It’s a time of exploration and discovery. It’s a time to go where you’ve never been and do what you’ve never done.
In your younger days, you spend much of your time assessing your potential and considering opportunities. But as you get older, you begin to look back at least as much as you look forward.
As you look back, you tend to dig through the dirt that makes up your past, uncovering desires, words, and actions, situations, locations, and relationships. As you do, you can’t help but evaluate how you did or what you could have done differently.
During these moments of personal archaeology, there are two ways to respond: We can either point the finger at something or someone, coming up with a list of “if onlys,” or we can agree with the Bible that we are flawed human beings in need of rescue.
The seductive thing about our “if onlys” is that there is a bit of plausibility to them. We do live in a fallen world. We face hardships of various kinds. We have been sinned against in a variety of ways. None of us has lived in ideal circumstances or perfect relationships. The world is a broken place, and we have been touched in many ways by its brokenness.
The “if only” lifestyle tends to say, “My biggest problems in life exist outside me and not inside me.” The Bible, on the other hand, says that our most significant problem in life is internal. Culture says that we are the result of what our experience has made us. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
To put it plainly: It’s the evil inside us that magnetizes us to the evil outside and causes us to deal with that evil in a way that is wrong. You and I truly need to be rescued from ourselves. We are our biggest danger.
Discouraged? Be humble and honest about the diagnosis, but not discouraged! God offers a cure - the gorgeous promise of his grace, which has the power to change us from the inside out.
When you begin to accept that your most significant problem in life is not what has happened or been done to you, you start to get excited about the rescuing grace of Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it wonderful that we can stare at our deepest, darkest failures and be unafraid? Isn’t it comforting that we can honestly face our most regretful moments and not be devastated? Isn’t it amazing that we can confess that we are sinners to the core and be neither fearful nor depressed?
We don’t have to beat ourselves up. We don’t have to work to minimize or deny our failures. We don’t have to be defensive when our weaknesses are revealed. We don’t have to rewrite our history to make ourselves look better than we were. We don’t have to be paralyzed by remorse and regret.
We can rest because our hope in life is not in the purity of our character or the perfection of our performance.
It’s in the blood of Jesus.
Paul David Tripp
- What are the benefits of living like an astronaut? How can you live with energy and excitement for the Kingdom of God?
- What are the benefits of living like an archaeologist? How can you share life experience with those who need guidance?
- What are the dangers of living like an astronaut? Why should you slow down and ask for wisdom?
- What are the dangers of living like an archaeologist? Are there places in your life where you still hold on to regret, even though God has forgiven you and does not respond to you based on your past performance?