There is a lie that's been going around for centuries that even some Christians believe. It's that we have no influence over how long we live on this earth. Perhaps you have heard someone say, "When your number is up, it's up!" I used to hold this fatalistic view myself, until I began studying the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Let's look at a few Scriptures here, to try to get God's perspective in the matter.
Proverbs 3 says, "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity." (Proverbs 3:1-2 NIV) Notice the part that says that obeying God's instructions will "prolong your life many years." What are we to do with these verses if we are to buy into the lie that we have no control over the outcome and length of our life?
We see this principle showing up in the Word of God repeatedly. Proverbs 10:27 (NIV) says, "The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short." God says that you can "add length" to your life by maintaining an attitude of reverential fear toward Him. Why? Because His principles are life-giving principles, and they are designed to enable and encourage us to obey the laws He instituted in this universe to benefit us most.
Proverbs 9:11 (NIV) says, "Through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life." Worldly wisdom will tell you to live it up, to do what feels good, and to do whatever it takes to succeed in the eyes of the world. But godly wisdom is different. It tells us to live according to God's teachings and ways so that "years will be added to your life."
Look at the Amplified translation of Proverbs 3:1-2: "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life [worth living] and tranquility and prosperity [the wholeness of life's blessings] they will add to you." Extending our lives simply for the sake of living longer isn't always desirable if we aren't living well. In fact, if most of us were honest, we would have to admit that we have seen some people living long lives who were absolutely miserable. That's not what the Lord is talking about here. Instead, He is saying that if we will walk in obedience to Him on a consistent basis, He will lengthen our years of a "life worth living" - a life filled with peace, prosperity, and "the wholeness of life's blessings." Hallelujah!
I read an article about a doctor in New Hampshire who had been a coroner for more than 20 years, and who had to perform so many autopsies on people who had overdosed on illegal drugs, that he finally couldn't take it anymore, and quit his profession. He enrolled in seminary to become a minister, so he could try to prevent as many people as he could from throwing their lives away. Do you really believe that all of these people died because their "number was up"? Absolutely not. They died prematurely because they never knew God, or His promise of long life for those who devote themselves to Him and follow His ways - and they saw their lives as meaningless.
The bottom line is that while God is ultimately in control, He has given us the power to make good choices over bad. In fact, He says in His Word: "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that...[the Lord] will give you many years." (Deuteronomy 30:19,20 NIV) Every day, we are faced with choices that will lead to life, or to death. If we will find out what God says in His Word about what to say "yes" to, and what to say "no" to - and do our best to obey Him - we will experience, not just a longer life, but a life worth living!
Prayer: Lord, help me to never buy into the lie that nothing I do can influence the outcome or length of my life. Fill me with a passion for Your Word that moves me to read and study it on a regular basis. Grant me revelation knowledge that will help me to live according to Your wisdom, instead of the world's. Thank You that as I reverence and obey You and Your Word, I will experience "the wholeness of life's blessings!"
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