I remember when I thought people who were the age I am about to turn on my birthday were . . . really old. Something about these big birthdays soberly reminds us that we likely have fewer years ahead of us than behind us. But do we have to so easily absorb the world's attitudes about aging? Doesn't the reality of Christ change everything about our lives, including the growing older part? If "to live is Christ," shouldn't that make a difference in the way we face these big number birthdays?
It is not at all lost on me that my "outer self is wasting away" (2 Corinthians 4:16). But because I have Christ, my "inner self is being renewed day by day." All flesh is like grass, and let's just say this grass is showing signs of withering. But the Word of the Lord remains forever (1 Peter 1:24-25). So here are 50 reasons I'm having a happy birthday.
1. I am made in the image and likeness of God, my life has been given great meaning and purpose by God, and he has breathed into me the breath of life (Genesis 1:26).
2. Anything and everything that someone may have intended for evil in my life, I know that God has intended for good. He has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction (Genesis 41:52, 50:20).
3. God has delivered me from my bondage to sin and is feeding me with the Bread of Heaven, quenching my thirst with Living Water, and guiding me through this life in the wilderness with the light of his Word (Exodus 3, 13, 16, 17).
4. Though I was defiled and unclean, God has made me clean through the sacrifice of his Son and is even now making me holy so that I will be fit for an eternity in his presence (Leviticus 11-19).
5. The Lord has blessed me and kept me. He has made his face shine upon me and been gracious to me. He has lifted up his countenance upon me and given me peace (Numbers 6:22-26).
6. God has graciously given me his law so that I can know his divine nature and see how far I have fallen from his righteous standard. And best of all, he has given me Christ, who has fulfilled the law in my place and transferred to me his own perfect record of obedience (Deuteronomy 5).
7. God has given me an inheritance in his Promised Land, an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade---kept in heaven for me (Joshua 14, 1 Peter 1:4).
8. Though I often live like I do not have a king who rules over me, and I do what is right in my own eyes, Jesus is now seated on the throne of the universe, and he rules over me, having made me right in God's eyes (Judges 21:25).
9. My Redeemer has spread his robe of righteousness over me and made me his bride so that I am no longer a stranger and alien, but a fellow citizen with the saints and member of the household of God (Ruth, Ephesians 2:19).
10. I have a champion who has gone out alone against the enemy of my soul who threatened to enslave me forever, and he has crushed his head. So thanks be to God, who gives me victory through my Lord Jesus Christ (1 Samuel 17, 1 Corinthians 15: 57).
11. Though two of my children will not return to me in this life, I will go to them (2 Samuel 12:23).
12. My citizenship is in a kingdom where I will eat and drink and be happy forever enjoying the riches and beauty of my all-wise king (1 Kings 4, Matthew 12:42).
13. The Lord is using ruined stones---people like me who have been burned by sin---to build a city he intends to live in forever (Nehemiah 4).
14. The king ruled that "the wages of sin is death." But someone has interceded for me who was willing to perish, so that the king has issued another decree that will be my salvation: "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Esther 4, Romans 6:23).
15. God has revealed himself to me in unmistakable, unavoidable ways through the storms in my life so that I can say, "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you" (Job 42:5).
16. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God so that I can sing: The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places . . . You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16). Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:6). And when my birthdays have run their course I'll be able to say, "Into your hand I commit my spirit" (Psalm 31:5).
17. I can be sure that Wisdom cries aloud in the street calling not just to me, but to my beloved son, to fear the Lord (Proverbs 31:25).
18. I am confident knowing that the day of my death will be better than the day of my birth. I will leave a world of fading, vanishing pleasures for a world of substantial, durable joys and delights (Ecclesiastes 7:1).
19. My beloved, David, is mine, and I am his. And his desire is for me (Song of Solomon 2:18, 7:10).
20. Christ was pierced for my transgressions; he was crushed for my iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought me peace, and with his wounds I am healed. I have gone astray; I have turned to my own way; and the LORD has laid on him my iniquity (Isaiah 53:5-6).
21. He has made me a partaker of his New Covenant having written his law on my heart. He is my God, and I am his. (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
22. I have hope because I know that the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is his faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-23).
23. No matter what I may face in the future, I know the God whom I serve is able to deliver me. But if he does not, he will give me the grace I need to refuse to bow down to the gods of this world (Daniel 3:17-18, 1 Corinthians 12:9).
24. He has loved me though I have been unfaithful, and he has redeemed me at great cost. Though I deserve no mercy, he has shown me mercy. Though I deserve to be called, "Not My People," He says to me, "You are my people"; and I say to him, "You are my God" (Hosea 2:23).
25. He has given me the sign of Jonah---in the belly of the earth for three days and then resurrected to life---so that I will know that one day I too will rise. On that day he will transform my lowly body to be like his glorious body (Jonah 2:9, Philippians 3:21).
26. I have a God who pardons iniquity and passes over transgression, who does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He has compassion on me and has cast my sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19).
27. Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).
28. Jesus has opened his arms and invited me to come to him, to take his yoke upon me and learn from him, and I am finding rest for my soul (Matthew 11:28-29).
29. Jesus has offered me the bread of his broken body to take and eat, and the cup of the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many, including me (Mark 14:22-24).
30. God was good to give me earthly parents who knew how to give good gifts to their children, yet how much more my heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit when I ask him! (Luke 11:13)
31. Jesus did many signs which are not written in this book; but these are written so that I may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing I may have life in his name (John 20:30-31).
32. In him I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28).
33. There is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me; he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to my mortal body through his Spirit who dwells in me. The Spirit helps me in my weakness. For I do not know what to pray for as I ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for me with groanings too deep for words. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give me all things? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord (Romans 8).
34. For now I see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).
35. God is giving me opportunity to proclaim not myself, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with myself as a servant for Jesus' sake. And I carry this treasure in a jar of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to me (2 Corinthians 4:5, 7).
36. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
37. I was dead in the trespasses and sins in which I once walked, following the course of this world. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved me, even when I was dead in my trespasses, made me alive together with Christ---by grace I have been saved---and raised me up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward me in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7).
38. Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).
39. God has canceled the record of debt that stood against me with its legal demands, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13-14).
40. God has not destined me for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
41. God has given me a passion and the opportunity to do my best to present myself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
42. I have been given eyes to see the Son who is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, who upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:1-3).
43. I do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with my weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as I am, yet without sin. So I can draw near to the throne of grace, confident that I will receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
44. While I lack wisdom, I ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it is given to me (James 1:5).
45. Though I have not seen him, I love him. Though I do not now see him, I believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of my faith, the salvation of my soul (1 Peter 1:8-9).
46. His divine power has granted to me all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called me to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to me his precious and very great promises, so that through them I may become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
47. If I confess my sins, he is faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
48. He is able to keep me from stumbling and to present me blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy (Jude 1:24).
49. One day I will be part of a great multitude from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in our hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9-10). Loud voices in heaven will say, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15). And a loud voice from the throne will say, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God" (Revelation 21:3)
50. He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20).