Here’s some perspective—if you drew a timeline 50 feet long that represented all of Earth’s recorded history, your life would cover about the breadth of your hand. But that’s only recorded history—what about the eternity that existed before history started and the eternity that will continue after history ends?
Twice in Psalm 39, David described our brief life like this: each man’s life is but a breath.
So what do we do with our breath-long life? Fortunately for us, David gives us godly perspective in five areas.
- Perspective on the weight of my words and my silence (vv. 1-3)
David had a good start: I will keep my tongue from sin, but what happens when sinful words slip out? I would suggest we count those as a gift. Really?! Yes, because those “slips” make us aware of what’s really in our heart (see Matthew 15:19) so that we can confess them.
David also suggests putting a muzzle on our mouths when we’re around certain people. In other words, don’t get into petty fights with people who aren’t going to receive the wisdom we may have to share with them.
- Perspective on the use of my time (vv. 4-5)
Why do we procrastinate doing good things? Some of our simple cliches reflect this, like TGIF. Why wait until Friday to get happy? Why not say TGIT—thank God it’s today! Do something memorable today… do something life-altering today… do something for God today.
- Perspective on my possessions (v. 6)
David reminds us that we work so hard to accumulate stuff “not knowing who will get it.” Jesus had another word for someone who only wanted to get stuff to make his life easier: fool (see Luke 12:16-21). Use stuff to serve others.
- Perspective on forgiveness (vv. 7-11)
Why oh why, would we spend one minute longer than we have to with unconfessed, unforgiven sin? I blogged last week about the freedom that immediately comes when we receive forgiveness from our confessed sin. Let’s do this quickly!
- Perspective on the purpose of my life (vv. 12-13)
If I only have a breath-long life, I want to make every moment count. I love what C.T. Studd wrote: “Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. … Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in Hell when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.”
Here’s my prayer for all of us—Lord, help me to know how few days I have so I can live every one for Your glory.