Generational StrategiesLesson 2 - Stages of Life
The prophet is describing different stages of our spiritual growth and teaching us how we must learn to depend on God for our strength. The only one who doesn’t grow weak or weary is the Everlasting God. Isaiah shows us that the strength of youth is no match for the challenges of life. We must seek God for His divine energy. When Isaiah tells us to “wait upon the Lord” he wasn’t using passive words. This doesn’t mean to sit around doing nothing, but rather that we actively seek God for His power. The word translated “renew” can also be translated to “exchange.” When we seek God we learn how to exchange our natural strength for God’s supernatural power. If we will seek Him, God will give “power to the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29) It’s impossible for us to do ministry properly in our own strength. Beware of failing to move into the next stage of life.
We must learn how to fly. “They shall mount up with wings like eagles.” We were born for flying but like the eaglet we must be taught how to escape the power of gravity. Small birds learn to fly by flapping their wings, but this requires great energy and only the little birds fly this way. The big birds learn to fly by capturing the power of the wind and allowing the forces blowing against them to lift them higher and higher. They seem to fly so effortlessly. We must learn the secrets of the wind to overcome the power of gravity, and it’s important that we learn to do this in our youth. It takes a lot of strength or a lot of wisdom to overcome the downward pull of gravity. We need a redemptive lift.
Flying is an exciting experience but it’s also dangerous. Many a pilot has crashed and burned on the mountains of life because they failed to appreciate the awesome power of nature. We must learn a great appreciation for the laws of God to overcome the storms of life and be able to fly safely. We cannot fight the storm or the mountain and win. Instead, we learn to respect God’s laws and live within our boundaries. The law of gravity is so unforgiving and if we treat it lightly we’ll pay a great price for our foolishness.
We must learn to fly without falling.
The second stage of life is learning to run to win. We must learn not to compete with each other. Instead, we’re in competition with ourselves to be our very best for God. “They shall run and not grow weary.” Running requires strong legs and high stamina. We must not only be in good physical condition but we must also be disciplined in our minds. Many runners have lost their race because they failed to control their thoughts.
The danger of running is becoming weary or exhausted. When we’re exhausted we are in danger of making foolish mistakes which can cost us the race. The apostle Paul said he wanted to “finish (his) race with joy.” (Acts 20:24) The only way to finish with joy is to be able to celebrate the victory won.
We must learn to run without fainting.
Our goal in life should be to finish well. The secret to aging gracefully is by learning how to “walk and not faint.” Just as a child learns to pull himself up out of the floor and begin walking, as we grow older we must learn how to spiritually rise above the physical challenges of this life to keep moving forward. The secret of finishing well is reinventing the way we do ministry. We are no longer young and don’t have the energy to do the things we once did. We must find new ways of doing the work God called us to do.
We discover it’s not wise for us to walk alone and how to gracefully accept the assistance of others. Both our strength and balance have been affected by the aging process and if we aren’t willing to allow others to help us we cannot finish well. As they grow older many people fall because they lose their balance or quit because of lack of strength. We must learn how to spend time in the hammock without feeling guilty. We’ve run a good race and have fought a good fight. It’s now time for us to learn how to celebrate the victories our sons and daughters are winning.
We must learn to walk and not fail.
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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton
Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry.
He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.