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Decline and Decay Are Not Inevitable

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MUCH has been written about the aging of the post-World-War-II generation and the underlying expectation that those of us in that generation are heading for decline and decay. I found myself praying rather earnestly about that subject a few months ago. An elderly friend was experiencing more and more limitations, and as I observed her condition, I suddenly felt anxious for us both.

While praying, I remembered from John's Gospel a statement Christ Jesus had made about his ministry. He said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. To me, this meant that our lives don't have to decline into limitation and inactivity. Rather, through our willingness to accept the spiritual view of life Christ Jesus presented, our experience should expand, not contract.

Jesus provided a wonderful summary of what it takes to live this spiritual life. He said, first, we should love God and, second, we should love our neighbor as ourselves. This type of loving involves seeing ourselves in totally spiritual terms, as the offspring of God. When we accept this spiritual identity as our own, we are giving up the belief that we have been born into material bodies that must necessarily decline. We are recognizing our inseparable relationship to God and are taking our first steps

in living in accord with God's moral and spiritual law.

Loving our neighbors is very much a part of such spiritual living. As we learn to love God, to value His tender care for us, we begin to value His whole creation. We recognize that all of God's ideas--His children--are worthy of His love and that no one is condemned to accept material limitations, including aging.

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