Saturday, April 26, 2014

Principle 29: Know Your Future

If someone were to ask you today to describe what you see as your "future", what might that be?  Do you know where your future lies?  Today's decisions impact tomorrow's outcomes, but we don't control ALL the possibilities of the "what if", do we?  We can "manage" as much as possible, but there are just "unknowns" we cannot really plan for.  Knowing our future is important - especially in terms of where we are headed spiritually.  If we haven't really made an "about-face" from doing things our own way, under our own terms, and for our own benefit, we might just be "play-acting" at this "Christianity" thing.  Our future is as secure as our focus - that which we set our eyes on the most becomes the direction we head and it also becomes what fills our "head".  

Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked.  Those people have no future at all; they’re headed down a dead-end street.  (Proverbs 24:19-20 MSG)

Too often we allow things to fill our heads with ideas and images which really don't do a lot to help us move forward.  In fact, focus on what gives you the greatest worries or problems in this life and that is what you will be constantly heading toward.  If we want to move beyond those worries or problems, we have to change our focus - do an about-face.  Unless you truly have eyes in the back of your head, that about-face maneuver will bring things into a new light simply because we cannot look forward and still be looking back.  Truthfully, focusing on our worries and problems leaves us with a pretty miserable future.  

We get all "bothered" a lot of times by the things which really don't matter. The braggart boasts about what he thinks makes him look important - things he uses to puff up his pride and show off.  The wicked get along pretty well, seeming to avoid all the pitfalls which should await them because of their dishonest ways.  All the while we get a notion in our mind that life isn't fair and we somehow were overlooked for the blessings or the goodies.  Why do we get this way?  It is a matter of focus.  We see the one with the goodies and we begin to wonder why it isn't possible for us.  We see the one with all the success and realize the "littleness" of our present position.  Focus on them long enough and you will learn to live a pretty dissatisfied and ungrateful life.

This is our warning today - to keep our focus on the things and the ONE who really matter in the long run.  Why?  Our future depends on it!  Once we realize how important focus is in determining our ultimate future state, we begin to consider making  change in our posture.  Right now I am recovering from total knee replacement and my gait is a little different from what a "normal" knee would be.  I find myself looking down to see if I am placing my foot correctly, extending my knee fully, etc.  The problem with looking down at my step is that I miss the obstacles in my path!  I don't get a clear picture of where I am heading, just of every step I am taking.  This is not all that productive, because I can "feel" my gait.  I know when it is "right" or "wrong" simply by the "feel" of it.  I don't need to make a continual effort of focusing on each step.

The same is true in our daily lives.  We can focus so intently on each "step" in our journey, but in so doing, we often fall head-over-heels into the obstacles in our path.  We need a broader perspective which only comes by looking at the objective out in front of us.  Today's objectives will differ from last week's because we are taking steps forward.  If you are trying to develop in your intimacy with Christ, you don't need to focus so intently on the "steps" such as Bible reading, prayer, and the like - you have to focus on him - he helps you take the steps without even realizing you have taken them.  Some of my best walking right now is done when I am not even paying attention to my gait!  Maybe some of our closest experiences with Christ would come if we just kept our eyes intently on him and not so consumed with whether we read two chapters a day, prayed fifteen minutes, etc.  Just sayin!

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