by Bill Denton
"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:13, 14, NASV).
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead." - Louisa May Alcott
The Bible encourages us to think ahead. I don't mean simply that we ought to make plans, set goals, or otherwise try to foresee that which we will face tomorrow, although all of that is good and wise. What I mean is that the Bible insists that we live today in anticipation of tomorrow, with a readiness for tomorrow, and in hope of what tomorrow will bring.
When in Hebrews 12:2, the writer tells us that Jesus endured the cross "for the joy set before Him," it has nothing to do with some joy of pain and dying while crucified. It has to do with what lay ahead.The writer urges us to learn the same lesson so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.
Do you know why people give up and quit, right in the middle of their faith walk with the Lord? Because they become too focused on today. The burden is too heavy and there is no prospect of it becoming lighter. The problems are too difficult, the answers too thin, and they become consumed with today.
Do you know why some churches fail; why they never seem to get off dead center, never grow, never accomplish anything worthwhile? It's because they cannot see anything better for tomorrow. Every day looks absolutely the same. They have no dream, no goal. There is nothing worth the effort it takes today to get to where they want to be tomorrow. They've planted their feet firmly in the mud of right now.
There is only one thing that can move us to live today in any sort of productive fashion, and that is the idea, the thought, the dream of tomorrow. I can learn something today that will help me be a better person tomorrow. I can do something today and tomorrow I can reap the rewards and positive consequences of my effort. Whatever I sow in my life today, that is what I will reap tomorrow. If I want it to be good and enjoyable and fun and exciting and uplifting, or if I want it to be comforting and satisfying and joy-filled and rewarding, then I must look away from the past, avoid getting bogged down in today, and learn how to live toward tomorrow.
Paul's words to the Philippians are challenging! Forget the past. Don't make the mistake of simply living today. Understand that we're headed toward tomorrow. Let that idea shape your involvement in life and create in you a burning desire to make today count by its product tomorrow. We're reaching for something that is both beyond us, yet close at hand. Let all your todays prove their value tomorrow.
Copyright 2000, Dr. Bill Denton
All Rights Reserved