Perhaps you’ve seen an interview with an older person in which they’re asked their secret to longevity. You might hear a variety of answers—everything from staying calm and serene and not letting anything get to you, exercising regularly, paying close attention to your diet  and some odd ones like taking an ice-cold bath every day!

I’m not old enough for lots of  people to start asking me my secret to old age. I recently turned 83. But once in a while I get asked. If I live to be 90 or 100, I would assume I’ll be asked more. But I do think a fair amount about what contributes to living to a ripe old age. 

One thing I’ve done for 40 years or more is to take a monthly block of time to do some soul searching, soak in scripture and seek to hear from God. 

I love Proverb 3:6 in The Message. 

“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” 

I find it easier to hear from God when I take a block of time for a few hours and just focus on listening, praying and worshipping. I don’t know about you, but for me there is too much noise all around me as well as in my own head that at times can drown out the voice of God. I need to step out of the traffic of life, quiet myself and allow Him to speak to my heart.

Here is a link to a great post by Brad Jenkins on Taking a personal retreat. You will get some great ideas on how to profitably spend extended time with the Lord.

I took such a “Personal Retreat” on December 29th of last  year which was my 83rd birthday. Interestingly enough, at 1.30a on the 29th I woke up with one verse blazing in my mind. 

“Loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of Days.”

~Deuteronomy 30:20 ESV

I have a hand full of verses which I call life verses. Passages of Scripture which have special meaning for me. I like to think of them as BFF—best friends forever!  When I got up later on the 29th to begin my personal retreat, I turned to this verse, spent some time thinking about it and then added it to my collection of BFF’s.

I decided that this verse, for me, would be my answer to living a long and fruitful life. 

The verse is encouraging me to do three things:

  1. Love Him
  2. Obey His voice
  3. Hold fast to Him

The verse is telling me two things about who He is for me:

  1. He is my life
  2. He is the length of my days

He is both the quality of my life and the length of my life. The three and the two go hand-in-glove.

We are admonished in Psalm 90:12 (ESV) , “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” 

It’s not just a matter of counting my days  (the quantity of my days ), but also of making my days count (the quality of my days.) 

As I move beyond 83 and get asked “What’s my secret,” I’ll quote this verse and say that both the quantity AND  the quality of my days are because of Him. Not that diet, exercise and  keeping a calm spirit are not important, but not as important as, by His grace, growing in loving Him, obeying Him and holding fast to Him.

A New Testament passage which has similar thoughts is Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV) :

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Deuteronomy 30:20 is telling me that He is my life and length of days

Colossians 3:4 is telling me that He is my life

My life is not success, or money or stuff or applause, but HIM!