November 18, 2014

An interview with pastor Bill Hybels on the secrets for living life with more energy, focus, and peace. Bill is the author of Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul.

BILL HYBELS:  I’ve loved being a pastor all the years that God’s enabled me to be in this role. But there’s one part of my job that’s pretty tough and that is to be with people near the end of their lives. When you’re near the end with someone, it can be quite dramatic. There some people and I’m sure many of you have seen this, that are so afraid to die, they’ll grab onto peoples arms, bedsheets, tables. They are terrified to go into the next reality. And I’ve been with many people in their final moments and I saw a level of fear that takes a while to get over.

On the other hand, I’ve been with a lot of people whose final minutes are beautiful. They’re like a little graduation event, in miniature, where they graduate from this life to the next. Where they’re holding the hands of loved ones gently. Where they’re smiling. Where the verse about the peace that passes human understanding – you know you think of that when you look at the peace on their face and in their spirit.

If you follow God’s Word and you make the decisions that the scripture exhorts us to make, it’s going to lead you toward a path of reconciliation with God. You’ll be good with God at the end of your life. You’ll be in a relationship with Jesus Christ. You’ll believe His promises. You’ll know that He has a place prepared for you. You’ll anticipate it and that leads to that sense of peace.

But for that to happen, at the end you gotta back up weeks and months and years to these days. The days right here and right now where every day you have decisions to make at the intersections of life.

The Word of God says over and over again, “Please my son, please my daughter – choose the path of wisdom, choose the path of truth, choose the path of faith, choose the path of faithfulness. Because it leads to a kind of harvest that honors God and that is deeply satisfying throughout the rest of your life and certainly at the end when you look back at your life and you realize it was well lived. It wasn’t perfect, but even those imperfections get covered by your Savior. When you simplify your life, in essence what you’re trying to do is to remove the clutter so that you can live in freedom and with focus on things that really really matter.

God’s the kind of God who is eager to bestow His honor and blessing on His kids. If we were to make those kinds of courageous decisions at these critical intersections, I think God would just open the windows of heaven and pour out that kind of blessing on your life. And it would affect not just you; it would affect your children if God graces you with children. It would affect their children and this is the way God’s blessing has been designed through the ages from one generation to the next and the next. I wish that for all of you.

See Part 7, Your Life Verse from our interview with pastor Bill Hybels.