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FIRST-PERSON: How will you be remembered?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- Ever thought about writing your autobiography? Just jot down key dates and events in your life. Beside each date write something. It'll be a treasure to your grandchildren later.

Our words and deeds are actually writing our autobiography every day, creating a legacy for good or ill. Our decisions are blazing a trail for others, setting the course, determining the future of those we love. What kind of legacy are you creating?

It's time to begin "righting" the story of your life. Writing and living your autobiography requires the same handful of crucial elements.


Good writers think through their plots, mapping them out, beginning with the end in view.

Are you an immediate-thinker instead of an ultimate-thinker? As long as everything is status quo in the here-and-now, you don't think much about where you're headed.

Travis, 37, no longer liked his job, his prospects. A friend recommended a counselor who said: "Write the epitaph you would like engraved on your tombstone." That rattled Travis. How would he want to be remembered? What did he want to accomplish?

What would you like your epitaph to read? What do you want to accomplish? What is God's purpose for you on earth? An important question when you want to "right" your story.


Our writing and living also need streamlining. "The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components" (William Zinsser).

Too much "clutter" can choke the Word, making us unfruitful ("the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches" -- Matthew 13:22). Do you have too many things -- debt, distractions, obligations -- for the really important things in life? Remember the "one thing" passages in the Bible:


-- "One thing you lack: ... sell whatever you have ... and follow Me (Mark 10:21).

-- "One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that (Luke 10:41-42).

-- "One thing ... I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God (Philippians 3:13-14).

Are you doing the one thing needed to fulfill God's will for your life, or is your life cluttered with so many trivial pursuits and urgent trifles that you can't get around to doing that "one thing"?


"Righting" your autobiography also requires perseverance. Writers set aside daily time to work -- writing one word at a time.

Do you want to change this world by creating a legacy for those who follow? We live a chapter at a time, day by day, and every moment is an opportunity to persevere in godliness.

If God has called you to do something for Him, don't grow discouraged. Keep at it. Whatever sin God wants you to overcome, whatever project He wants you to pursue, whatever prayer He wants you to offer, whatever ministry He gives you -- don't quit.


The great secret of our living Christian autobiographies is that good writers have good editors. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).

Writing in the original Greek, Paul used the word "poiema" (made, crafted, or composed). It means, "We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago" (New Living Translation).


We are God's productions, His compositions. Your life is really the story of God's life in and through you. It's the story of the grace of the Lord Jesus exhibited daily in your heart. As you remain close to the "Editor-in-Chief," He will form and fashion you. As His Masterpiece, He intends your life to inspire those who follow.

Writing the story of your life requires careful attention to the end of the story, deliberate "clutter"-cutting, a spirit of stick-to-itiveness, and a growing intimacy with your Editor-in-Chief. Keeping these principles in perspective will help you not only write, but also right, the story of your life in a way you will surely want to be remembered.

David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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