No church or ministry has a future unless its dreams are bigger than its memories. I believe that is also true for individuals. If our dreams are smaller than our memories, how will we ever possess our tomorrows?
To get from where we are today to where we are supposed to go, we need the right perspective. Are we looking forward or backward? Is our view eternal or worldly? Is it about me or others? People are eternal; stuff is not.
Our focus makes all the difference. If our eyes are on the wrong things, we will think about insignificant things and argue about unimportant stuff. And we’ll worry about and fear the future.
An eternal perspective always looks forward. It’s dangerous to look behind you when you’re walking. YouTube has videos of people doing that and walking into a pole on the street. It makes us laugh and at the same time say, “Ouch.” But looking back all the time isn’t so funny when it comes to the will of God.
The Apostle Paul tells us to look forward.
Our focus makes all the difference.
PHILIPPIANS 3:12–13 (NLT)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, . . .
From these verses we see that God had gotten hold of Paul to do something. And God wants us to get hold of Him just as strongly as He has hold of us. Doing that will pull us toward what He’s called us to do.
One day years ago as I was reading these verses, the Lord said, “No looking back. No turning back. No going back. No holding back.” Although we recognize the great things that have happened in our past, when it comes to what God wants for us, it isn’t about looking back. We have to keep looking forward and pressing toward His high calling (Phil. 3:14), whatever that means in our lives.
Why was Paul able to finish his course? Part of it was his perspective.
Does God have a good plan for you? Absolutely. Is that plan for your entire life or until you retire at age 65? If you give up on life when you reach 65, you will start to decline. Retiring from a job has nothing to do with God’s will for your life.
The Israelites often looked back because they couldn’t imagine a better future.
Moses painted a vision of the Promised Land and what God wanted them to have. But they didn’t grab hold of what they could have had.
What did they do? Complain. They said, “We should have stayed in Egypt.” Although their past wasn’t that great, they kept looking back and talking about it.
When my wife and I moved to Germany in 1993, it wasn’t easy. It took more money than we had. Everything was different. But we had a choice. We could keep looking forward, or we could look back.
But if you keep looking back, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll go back. And it’s a lot easier to achieve your goals, your dreams, and your tomorrows if you don’t complain. The way forward is always trusting God and walking by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
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