I know you want to make a difference with your life. One day you want to look back at your life having no regrets. Apostle Paul had his day of reflection. He said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). It seems there is something in all of us that want our lives to count for something important, something lasting, and something that leaves some good part of us behind. What we really want is to live a life of no regrets.
When I was a teenager, my father took me for a ride around town showing me a particular property he was very proud of owning. An opportunity arose that he took advantage of. During this drive, he wanted to teach me something about life. He said his father had also driven him around town when he was a young man but taught a very different lesson. In his ride, my grandfather pointed to various properties he could have bought but didn’t. In other words, my grandfather had a long list of missed opportunities. My grandfather’s failure to seize the opportunities presented to him made an emotional impact on my father who vowed never to live a life of would-have, could-have, or should-have. My father’s lesson to me that day was not about real estate but missed opportunities. He was trying to teach me to learn from our family’s mistakes and to live a life with no regrets.
I thought it might be useful to consider some qualities that it would take to live a life of no regrets. Here are a few for you to think about. I’m sure you can think of others to add.
- Passion. To live a life of no regrets requires passion. Passion is a strong emotion. Passionate people pursue while the apathetic give up. Caleb demonstrated to us what passion is like. “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)
- Determination. Determined people make up their mind to take action. They stir up the gift of God in them with a bull dog tenacity to get it done. Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift of God in him. “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6)
- Faith. Faith in God for a better tomorrow. Those that live a life of no regrets see things getting better tomorrow. They might have some setbacks today, but they know tomorrow is on the way. “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)
- Positive Attitude. A positive attitude is a matrix of positive beliefs, feelings, values, and vision. To live a life without regrets requires developing a good attitude. Those with a good attitude are fun to be around. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you never have a bad day. We all do. Having a positive attitude means your presence creates a great we- can-do-it environment. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15)
- Right Motives. Right motives are key to having a life of no regrets. Right motives ask, “Why are you doing what you are doing?” Those with right motives do everything “as unto the Lord.” “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Value Others. Those that live a life of no regrets value others. To them, everyone is important and have something to contribute. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
- Fruit Minded. There is a difference between activity and productivity. Those that live a life of no regrets are action and results oriented. They understand that God has created them to bear fruit. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
- Reflection. Reflection means to consider your ways. To do this is to answer several questions such as: “Am I doing something meaningful? Am I doing anything for God? Am I self-centered? Are my motives right? Am I kingdom of God minded? To live a life of no regrets is to be honest in evaluating yourself. “Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:5)
- Real. Those that live a life of no regrets are real and transparent. They are not fakes, frauds, hypocrites, pretenders, or phonies. No matter the environment, work or home, in church or out of the church, they are the same. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.” (Luke 18:10)
- Serve. Serving others is the lifestyle of those that live a life without regrets. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)
- Commitment. Commitment to the Word and leading of Holy Spirit. To live a life of no regrets requires a rock solid commitment to being governed by the Word of God and leading of the Holy Spirit. The key is to continue learning, growing, and changing. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
- Grateful. Gratitude to God for everything is a common trait for those that live a full satisfied life. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
One of our points was reflection. Reflection helps us step back and take a look at our lives. It’s important to understand that success in life is not comparing yourself with others, the size of your bank account, man’s admiration, or any such thing. Success in life is measured by doing what God has called you to do. The bottom line is, obedience to God is the key to living a life without regrets. When we finish our course these are the words we want to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark