The recognition of our mortality is a sobering experience. When we’re young we don’t give much thought to death, however, this past week I attended two funerals. As we consider the brevity of life it causes us to reflect upon our lives – are we living with no regrets? The Apostle Paul is an example of an individual who lived with no regrets,
In view of this, I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men. (Acts 24:16)
Paul’s manner of life reflected a conscience that was blameless. The word blameless literally means having nothing to strike against or not causing one to stumble. It is used metaphorically of not leading others to sin by one’s mode of life. Paul reveals in this verse how one may have a blameless conscience.
You can have a blameless conscience as you place God at the center of your life. This was Paul’s example as he realized that God is sovereign and acknowledged God as the moral compass of his life.
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:9)
When your life is pleasing to God that implies that you are following God. A problem arises when we want to follow our own way and stay in our comfort zone rather than stepping out in faith. Following God involves walking by faith and walking by faith can be adventurous (i.e. frightening) at times. Take a look at my blog post What If You Could Live Your Life Over? as people were asked if they could live their lives over what changes would they make? They responded that they wished that they had taken more risks. Getting outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
When you are following God you demonstrate His love toward one another. Paul had a blameless conscience before God and before men because his vertical relationship with God influenced his horizontal relationships with others. Paul lived a life without regret because he was following God’s will and that affected his relationships with others.
You must understand that living without regret does not imply perfection. All of us have situations in our lives we wish we could do over, hindsight is often 20/20, but we don’t need to live our lives through the rear view mirror. Paul had aspects of his life that he put behind him,
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13)
If you don’t let your past die then it won’t let you live. You can live a life free from any regrets. William Borden was an individual who had no regrets. He was an heir to the Borden family fortune and his parents gave him a trip around the world. As he traveled through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world’s hurting people. Bill Borden told others of his desire to be a missionary. Although some of his friends thought he was throwing himself away as a missionary, Borden wrote two words in his Bible: “No reserves.”
Borden attended Yale University and it was evident that he had given his heart in full surrender to Christ and God’s will for his life. As he surveyed the empty, humanistic philosophy and moral weakness of sin-stained lives he was determined to make a difference. Borden started a small morning prayer group that gave birth to a movement that soon spread across the campus. By the time Borden was a senior, one thousand of Yale’s 1,300 students were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer. Borden’s outreach extended to hurting people on the streets of New Haven. He also presided over the student missionary conference held at Yale and served as president of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation from Yale, Borden turned down high-paying job offers and wrote two more words in his Bible “No retreats.”
He did graduate work at Princeton Seminary and then set sail to Egypt to study Arabic to fulfill God’s calling his life. While in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis. Within a month, 25-year-old William Borden was dead and the announcement was carried by nearly every American newspaper. Some people said his life was a waste, but Borden’s example was an inspiration to many who would take up the call.
Do you think Borden’s untimely death a waste? Prior to his death, Borden had written two more words in his Bible. Underneath the words “No reserves” and “No retreats,” he had written: “No regrets.”
You too can live a life of no regrets. May we be able to exclaim with the Apostle Paul,
Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” (Acts 23:1)
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
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