Focus on God's future for you this year
January 18, 2017
Although we actually just went from one day to the next, we’ve just passed into a New Year.
While the 366 days to be remembered as 2016 were filled with tragedy and triumph, it isn’t the focus of this article to list the epic events of the past year, whether good or bad, especially since much of it was rehashed in the media over the last few weeks. That being said, it does seem that we dwell on the tragedies and forget the triumphs.
The Bible encourages us to forget the past, good or bad, and focus on the future with hope. Forgetting the past doesn’t mean that we don’t learn from it. For example, by writing about how the Israelites were punished by God in the wilderness because of their idolatry, sexual immorality and grumbling, Paul warned the Corinthian church and us against falling into the temptations that are common to humankind, including becoming arrogant as God’s people (I Corinthians 10:1-13).
Forgetting the past means not letting our own past sins and other tragedies hold us back by distracting us from the future ahead of us. In regard to sin, this is what repentance and forgiveness and the promise of continual cleansing is all about for Christians (2 Corinthians 7:8-10; 1 John 1: 5-9). While we should never forget that we’ve been forgiven, the only reason we should remember our own past sins is to avoid the possibility of falling back into sin (2 Peter 1:3-11).
In regard to tragedies, although it might take some time to recover, we’re to rely on God and other Christians for support and use each day as a victory that strengthens us to face the next day (2 Corinthians 1:3-1-11). We also shouldn’t let problems we expect to arise keep us from living appropriately in the present (Matthew 6:25-34).
Forgetting the past also keeps us from resting on the laurels of past successes. Paul had been regarded by himself and others as being at the top of the Jewish religious community and as a rising star in the legal system before he became a Christian; however, once he became a Christian, he didn’t consider his past of any value in his relationship with God or his future (Acts 22:1-5; Philippians 3:4-16). This being said, we’re also to live up to what we’ve attained. That is, if we’ve been blessed with success, we should understand that continued service is expected (Luke 12:47-48; Galatians 6:9-10; Revelation 2:10). For that reason, we should build upon each past triumph as an encouragement to continue serving as we have the opportunity with the expectation of future success (Romans 12:1-8).
The most important success we should remember is Jesus’ triumph over sin and death, so we could have life (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). Therefore, as we progress into the New Year, 2017, let’s focus on Jesus and the future God has in store for those who love him (Hebrews 12:1-3; Jeremiah 11:29; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). That will assure our eternal success.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org