Dr. Stanley says, “You’re young and useful at any age.” It’s a principle that’s guided him through decades of productive service. He also shares several other key principles to living a life marked by vitality and fruitfulness. Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start trusting God and growing young.

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male announcer: “In Touch”
with Dr. Charles Stanley,

celebrating 45 years
of God’s faithfulness

and sharing
the gospel worldwide.

Next on “In Touch,” “How to Stay
Young and Useful All Your Life.”

Dr. Charles Stanley:
“How to Stay Young And Useful

All of Your Life.”

That’s what I want us
to talk about.

And somebody says,
“Well, is it a drink?”


“Is it a pill?”

“Is it like a course
of exercise?”


“Well, what is it?”

That’s what I want
to share with you.

And I want you to turn to
the ninety-second Psalm.

And in this ninety-second Psalm,
I think the Lord lays out for us

an idea of how we can indeed
live young and useful

all of our life.

Many people just want
to live long.

If you’re not useful, what’s
the use of living long?

How do you remain youthful and
young all the days of your life?

Look at this ninety-second Psalm
and let’s begin in the

twelve verse.

The Scripture says, “The
righteous man will flourish

like the palm tree.

He will grow like a cedar
in Lebanon.

Planted in the house of the
Lord, they will flourish in the

courts of our God.

They will still yield fruit in
old age; they shall be full of

sap and very green, to declare
that the Lord is upright.”

Now, I believe in this passage
of Scripture is a key to being

useful at any age in our life.

And you’ll notice how
he begins this.

He says, “The righteous man,”
not just anybody, “The righteous

man will flourish like
the palm tree.”

What does he mean by righteous?

That is a person who is godly;
not just anybody, but a person

who’s godly will flourish.

That is, will be abundant in
whatever’s going on in their

life, like the palm tree,
like a cedar in Lebanon.

Now, the palm trees that they
were talking about were date

palms and they’ll go fifty
or sixty or more feet high.

And if you’ll think about a palm
tree that produces dates, it has

fruit, and they use the leaves
to build fences, part of their

house, on the roof of their
house and so forth.

And then the cedars of Lebanon
will grow and can grow up to

a hundred and twenty feet tall,
thirty feet around, and all of

their limbs are straight out.

It’s a majestic sight to see
one of those trees.

So he says, “The righteous man
will flourish like a palm tree,

grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Planted in the house of the
Lord, they will flourish in

the courts of our God.”

That means there will be

There’s something going on,
awesomely going on, “They will

still yield fruit in old age;
and they shall be full of sap

and very green.”

They’re going to be growing and
they’re not going to look all

that old, “Full of sap and very
green,” speaking of strength,

fruitfulness and healthy,
“to declare that the Lord

is upright.”

So the question is, how many of
you really believe that God

expects you to be useful
all the days of your life?

All right.

So, how do we do that?

What I want to do is I want to
give you what I believe is the

key to making that truthful.

So, I want you to jot down these
simple phrases I’m going

to give you.

And I want you to think about
them in your own life.

So, I don’t want you to think
about this as a sermon.

I want you to think about it as
a word of instruction: how you

can live longer and
be more useful.

Now, I know that God is the one
who makes the final decision

about how long we live, and some
people not meant to live

as long as others.

But let’s just say you’re who
you are and you don’t know when

you’re going to die.

And so, as long as you and I
are alive, we have the

responsibility of being fruitful
all the days of our life.

And I wonder sometimes if some
people shorten their life

because they’re not useful.

They come to the point in life
and they say,

“Well, I’m fifty-five
and I’ve got–

sixty-two, let’s see, I’ve got
seven more years to live and

then I’m finished.”

Let me tell you something, when
you tell your body that you’re

finished, your body begins to
break down because your mind

sends your body a message,
“In seven years I’m finished.”

Finished doing what?

God created you and me to be
fruitful all the days of our

life, ever how long that is, and
I do believe that if you’re

fruitful, it’s going to lengthen
your life, humanly speaking.

So, the question is: what is
essential to making your life

useful all the days
of your life?

And the first one is very
important and that is

keep learning.

When you cease to learn,
you cease to grow.

When you cease to learn,
you sort of begin to decay

a little bit.

You are to learn to,
how to stay healthy.

And you say, “Well,
how do I do that?”

With a proper diet and exercise
and rest; that’s part of it.

In other words, we’re not
healthy by accident.

It’s by learning some key things
in life that really make

a difference.

And when we keep learning,
something happens in our life.

For example, you and I are
living in an age when we’ve had

to keep learning.

Because when I was born, there
were no computers that I knew of

in nineteen hundred and
thirty-two, so we go back and

you look at your life and think
about all the things that

you’ve had to learn that your
predecessors and your parents

didn’t have to learn because
they didn’t even exist.

So if you’re going to be useful
all the days of your life,

you’ve got to be willing
to keep learning.

So, I would simply say that a
lazy brain is an aging brain.

You don’t want to learn,
what happens?

You start decaying.

And so, there’s something
interesting and exciting about

learning things in life no
matter who you are and no matter

what your age might be.

So, I would say at the top
of that list is learning

the Word of God.

Learning to quote a verse of
Scripture, if you can’t do any

better, just learn this one.

“Jesus wept.”

If you can’t learn that one,
you can’t learn anything.

So, the first step, this–

remember we’re talking about
remaining useful all the days

of your life, number one,
keep learning.

Secondly, keep loving.

Love is a very important
part of our life.

And in the Old Testament in
Deuteronomy, the–God commands

us to love Him.

We’re to love God with all of
our heart, with all of our soul,

with all of our strength.

And Jesus talked about
loving one another.

And I believe that the very
experience of loving someone is

like a flow that’s in your life.

And it’s like loving is an
expression of something on

the inside of you that you
don’t ever want to stop.

For example, if there’s no love,
there’s bitterness, resentment,

hostility or hatred, all of
which damage a person’s

emotional and their mental life.

God made us to love one another.

He made us to love Him.

Loving is a very important part
of staying young all the days of

your life and of having
the spirit that promotes

a good health.

Then, of course, there is the
whole idea of keeping laughing.

Now, somebody says,
“What does that have to do

with being useful?”

When a person is laughing,
something’s going on in the

inside of them.

It’s like everything flows.

And when you laugh, for example,
you just laugh from your belly:


You laugh and laugh and
laugh and what happens?

Something happens to you.

And when there’s laughter and
there’s love and there’s joy,

your body is going to
respond accordingly.

But if you’re uptight, and
you’re not laughing, and–

If you’ll just think about what
happens to your whole nervous

system when you can’t laugh.

And somebody says,
“Well, I don’t have anything

to laugh about.”

Well, yes, you do.

If you’d think about it, you do.

There are times we don’t feel
like laughing; but there ought

to be the joy of the Lord
in our life.

When you have the joy of Jesus
in your life, you’ve got

a lot to laugh about.

In fact, Christians have
more to laugh about.

And when you think about all the
good things that God has done

in your life and is doing in
your life, you could counter

some tough things, but there’s
much to be laughed about.

But if you can’t laugh, let me
put it this way.

If you can’t laugh, I’m not too
sure you’ve got many friends.

Who wants to be around
a grouch all the time?

Always frowning.

There’s always something wrong.

And when you say, “Well, let me
tell you something good happened

to me.”

I’m not interested.

Well, when people have that
attitude, I believe your

nervous system is affected.

Your whole system is affected.

I think there are some simple
things God placed in our life

and the process of exercising
them, we’ll live longer.

Now, you say,
“Can you prove that?”

Well, so far, I can.


So far I can.


And one of the things I love
about my friends is we’re always

jabbing each other, and one of
my friends and all, I think

all of them are sitting
here this morning.

Not all my friends, but we’re
always jabbing each other

about something.

We’re always laughing.

And I think that frees up
your nervous system.

So, you may say, “Well, I don’t
have anything to laugh about.”

Well, make something.

Get something going and watch
something that will help

you laugh.

And you find people
sometimes who are just,

they’re just stiff.

It’s like they think
it’s a sin to laugh.

Christians ought to be the
happiest people in the world

because we’ve got more
to be grateful for.

And then, there’s another one,
and that’s keep leaving.

You say, “Well, leaving what?”

That’s very important.

Keep leaving your cares behind.

Don’t drag yesterday’s
problems in today.

And don’t drag situations and
circumstances and conversations

and incidences that have been
in your past.

Now, I could think of things in
my life that were not the most

pleasant of all, but you don’t
have to think about it.

And I love what Peter said in
that first chapter, or the

fifth chapter and the seventh
verse in First Peter, he said,

for example, “Cast all your
anxieties on Him because

He cares for you.”

In other words, God says when
you have cares and burdens

and heartaches or whatever it
might be, He says,

Cast them upon the Lord.

In other words,
just lay them down.

And so, when we talk about
leaving, there are people

who live with a rear-view mirror
in their life.

Well, let me tell you
what happened.

They can always bring up
something, and I think

oftentimes they’re looking
for sympathy or

whatever it might be.

“Well, back yonder–”

All of us can bring up some junk
in our life, but we’re to live

every day with that behind us.

We don’t have to
think about that.

God doesn’t want us thinking
about all the difficulties

and hardships.

There may be times when a word
of testimony about how God’s

brought you through that,
but you don’t

drag it along with you.

So, let me ask you a question.

Is there something in your past
that you drag with you?

If you do, it slows you down.

It affects your attitude.

It affects your whole
emotional system.

And I believe it
affects your health.

God intended for us to leave
our burdens behind.

And some people project,
not just things that have

happened in the past.

“Well, it’s going to get worse,
you know.”

No, you leave all that behind
you and you think about what God

is doing in your life.

Then, of course, not only keep
leaving, but keep longing.

Well, what in the world
do you mean by that?

Well, simply this.

You’ve got to keep dreaming.

A person who doesn’t know how to
dream is not going to enjoy life

very long.

You’ve got to keep dreaming,
that is, about the future,

and never stop.

Somebody says, “Well, you know,
at this point in my life,

I don’t see anything
to dream about.”

Well, start thinking about it.

It’s a matter of attitude.

Nobody can keep you
from dreaming.

And you say, “Well, I just don’t
think I can do thus and so.”

Well, why don’t you stop
thinking about that and think

about the things you can do?

And it’s not a matter of just
having a positive attitude;

it’s a matter of being,
watch this, a child of God.

You would agree with that, amen?

And you’re indwelt by
the Holy Spirit, amen?

So all power exists
within you, amen?

So don’t live in the past
thinking about what

you can’t do.

You can do anything God
calls you to do.

And don’t underestimate God.

If you agree that the
Holy Spirit is living within

you, if you agree that God is
within you, then don’t chalk God

off as to what He can’t do
because He can do anything

and everything that it is
His will for your–

Somebody says, “Well, that’s not
the will of God for my life.”

Well, how do you know it’s not?
Have you asked Him?

Now, around my computer,
I have all these little sayings

that have impressed me and
affected me, and I counted them

the other day and
I had twenty-five.

Well, here’s one of them.

“You’re young and useful,”
listen to this, “You’re young

and useful at any age, if you’re
still planning for tomorrow.”

You ought to write that down.

Listen, you’re young and useful
at any age, if you’re still

planning for tomorrow because
that means you’re dreaming.

That means you’re planning.

It means you’re looking ahead.

And so, whatever the age is,
don’t give up, don’t stop,

don’t quit.

Just think about,
“What would I like to do?

What do I believe God
would have me to do?”

So you keep longing.

And then keep looking.

Well, you say, “What,
looking at what?”

Well, look your best.

You’ve heard me say that:
look your best, do your best,

be your best.

I think that; in other words,
watch this, if you think you

look your best, you are going
to act differently, right?

Ladies, is that true or not?


If you think your hair’s just
right, and you’ve got on

just right, you’re looking
just right, you’re going

to act differently.

So you look your best,
do your best, be your best.

Then, of course, keep laboring.

That is, keep working.

One of my favorite seminary
professors was teaching in

his early nineties.

I loved him, I–first time I
ever saw the man I loved him

because he just kept going.

Now, he didn’t run.

He’d walk slowly, but he was
an awesome man, a godly man.

And here he was at that point
in his life.

And I remember Bertha Smith, who
was a missionary to China for

forty years; when she was in her
late nineties, she already had

on her calendar times that she
was going to speak, up to the

age of a hundred and five.

And I know that to be
absolutely true.

I tell people they shouldn’t
retire if that means you stop

and do nothing.

You may change something.

In the Bible, only the
priest could retire.

They start at twenty-five and
they, fifty, there was–

they’re finished.

But the Bible doesn’t
teach retirement.

The Bible teaches us
to be fruitful.

And as we said, all the days of
our life, if our life is to be

counting for something
in somebody’s life.

And so, we keep laboring.

When you say in your mind and
you think it, and you say,

“Well, that’s it, I quit.

No more work.

I’m just going to–”
you send your body a message.

And that message is,
“It’s all over.

I don’t need to function the way
I’ve been functioning.”

That’s not of God.

We’re to live it out through
the last day of our life.

And so, keep laboring is
a very important part.

And if you’ll think about this.

The longer you live, your
faith should be greater.

Our confidence
should be stronger.

The things that we do, we would
do maybe better than we’ve

ever done before.

So, laboring; keep laboring.

And then, of course,
keep leaning.

And we lean on the Lord,
which means we rely upon Him.

We trust in Him.

He answers our prayer.

He answers our needs.

We keep leaning on Him.

That is, we should live every
day trusting Him, depending

upon Him.

And acknowledging the fact:

Lord, I’m trusting
You for today.

What you’re saying is, “I’m
leaning on You to give me wisdom

and direction for my life,
and guidance.”

And so, when I think about that
and think about what the Bible

says in the thirty-seventh Psalm
three times, “Fret not,

fret not, fret not.”

As believers, we have Christ
living within us through

the Holy Spirit.

We do lean on Him.

We do rely upon Him.

We do trust Him.

So, that’s what God
wants us to do.

He wants us to lean upon Him.

He wants us to rely upon Him.

He wants us to trust in Him.

He wants us to come to Him
acknowledging that we’re

dependent upon Him.

Because He wants to be
everything for us that we need

in our life.

And then, of course,
keep listening.

And this is one of the most
important ones: keep listening.

Learn to listen to God.

And many people go through their
life saying, “Well, God

never said anything to me.”

Yes, He did.

You may not have listened.

You may not have obeyed.

He did not speak to you audibly,
but God speaks to us.

And He wants us to
listen to Him.

For example, how do you
find the will of God?

You have to listen to Him.

How do you know what to do in
making critical decisions in

your life, or simple decisions?

You listen to Him.

And how do you listen to Him?

You be quiet.

How do you listen to Him?

You get in the Word and you ask
God to speak to your heart.

And I think it’s the most
important lesson in the

Christian life, is learning how
to listen to God and know that

you’re getting direction for
your life; the confidence to

know what to do next.

Learning to listen to Him is
absolutely essential to living

a godly life, a useful life,
a profitable life,

listening to Him.

You can know some of these other
things, but learning to listen

to Him.

What is God saying?

How is He giving me direction
for my life at this point?

Learning to listen to Him.

And so, if I’m going to stay
on the right path, watch this.

If I’m going to walk
in the will of God,

I’ve got to listen to Him.

If I’m going to make wise
decisions, I’ve got to

listen to Him.

If I’m going to have right
relationships with other people,

I’m going to listen to Him.

If I’m going to avoid yielding
to temptation, I’m going

to listen to Him.

If I’m going to have my needs
met, I’m going to listen to Him.

You can ask any question you
want to, but learning to listen

to God is absolutely
the basic one of all.

How are you going to be saved?

Are you going to be saved by
listening to the conviction

of the Holy Spirit who convicted
you of your sin and said that

if you die without Christ,
you’re going to be lost.

You listened–you got saved.

You listened to Him when it came
to convicting you about your sin

and you want to go to heaven
when you die.

Well, we listen to Him
about everything.

And when you start the day off,
every morning you should be

listening to Him.

Lord, speak to my heart; give me
guidance for today; make me

sensitive today to what’s
going around me.

Make me sensitive, Lord,
to the people I meet,

how I’m to respond.

If there’s a need, something I
could say or do, Lord, help me

know how to listen so that I–

some things I need to avoid.

Learning to listen to Him is
absolutely essential because,

you see, you don’t have a
discerning spirit, really,

unless you know how
to listen to Him.

Should I do this
or should I not?

Listening to Him.

And so, we’re talking about
being useful all the days

of your life.

Learning to listen to God
is absolutely essential.

Because what happens?

Well, for example, let’s
say you’re married.

How are you going to build an
intimate relationship with

your wife or your husband?

You learn to listen to them.

How are you going to raise
godly children?

You learn to listen to them and
teach them to listen to you and

teach them to listen to God.

Listening is essential to every
single aspect of our life.

And certainly, if we’re going
to be useful all the days

of our life, we’re going
to learn to listen to God.

Because He’s going to tell us
what to do, what not to do;

what to avoid
and what to pursue.

God is always speaking
to His children.

And in light of what we’ve said,
look at this verse,

“The righteous man will flourish
like the palm tree,” date palms,

“grow strong like a cedar
in Lebanon.

Planted in the house of the
Lord, they will flourish in

the courts of our God.

They will still yield fruit in
old age; they shall be full of

sap and very green,” that is
strong and fruitful and healthy,

“to declare that the Lord
is upright.”

And I’ve simply said to you
today, I do believe this is the

way you stay strong and healthy
as possible, and useful

all the days of your life.

It doesn’t make any difference
where you are now.

You can start today and ask God,
“Lord, I want You to make me

sensitive every day to all of
these attitudes because that’s

what I want in my life.”

It’s a decision you make.

And it begins with trusting
Jesus Christ as your

personal Savior.

That’s the beginning.

That’s when you start learning
to listen right then.

And if you’ve never trusted Him
as your Savior, you’re probably

not even going to attempt
what I’ve shared with you

this morning.

But asking the Lord Jesus Christ
to forgive you of your sins,

surrendering your life to Him,
and then saying, “Lord, I want

my life to count every day.

I want to be useful all
the days of my life.

Show me how to do that.”

And I trust that if you’ve never
trusted Him as your Savior,

you’ll be wise enough to make
a decision this morning.

Jesus forgives all sin.

He will take you right where you
are; and if you will trust Him

as your personal Savior today,
and listen, begin with this

list today.

Your life will change beginning
today if you’re willing to allow

Him to work it in your life.


And Father how grateful we are
that you’re more than willing

to give us your best.

I pray that every person who
hears this message will remember

carefully listening to you and
obeying you, that’s the key

to life at its very best
no matter who we are.

So, we want to say we love you
and praise you for being patient

with us.

For guiding us, for helping us,
for providing for us, and giving

us this awesome, indescribable
gift of eternal life.

We say bless your Holy Name,