Today I turn 31, and I gotta tell ya, 31 feels a lot like 30 but without the orderliness of being divisible by 10. I will receive phone calls, cards, texts, and posts on my Facebook wall today from caring people who God has given me the privilege of knowing. I will receive gifts from some of these same people and a birthday dinner at the restaurant of my choice with my family tonight. At the thought of all this I must admit I’m excited, but I want to make sure that this excitement comes from the right heart and points to the right end. So, here’s a list of truths I’m going to preach to myself today to keep my eyes fixed on God:
- Today is not my day – I know this is contrary to popular belief, but the idea that my birthday is a day when I get to indulge myself, do what I want, and essentially abuse God’s grace because it marks the day I was born is a form of popularity I want my heart to fight against. God made me and caused me to be born on this day 31 years ago, and he has given me every day and every breath since then by his grace. Therefore, just like every other day, this is God’s day and I want to celebrate the love he has poured out on me.
- There is another birthday that is more important than this one – Although I cannot tell you the exact day that God converted me through faith in Jesus, I know that day is more important than the day of my physical birth. God’s creation of physical life is most certainly to be celebrated, but Scripture tells us that God’s creation of spiritual life is what causes the angels in heaven to rejoice before him (Luke 15:10). This life is fleeting, but eternal life with Jesus is… well… Eternal!
- There is a gift that is better than all other gifts – I am humbled and blessed that God has put people in my life that will take the time and money to purchase a gift for me… or give me money to spend on books at Together for the Gospel. But all of those gifts are shadows of the gift God has given me in sending Jesus to die in my place for my sins. The gifts I receive today should point me to that gift and I should use them to worship Christ and serve him more joyfully.
- Today marks another year closer to eternity with my Savior – The older we get the more it seems that birthdays become days we wish would sneak past us so we don’t have to think about getting older, the reality of getting closer to the grave, and all the opportunities we’ve missed along the way. But for the Christ-follower birthdays should be marked by more celebration and excitement because getting closer to death means getting closer to life without sin in the full presence of our King in a perfect world with brand new bodies.