A lot of times in life, we (humans) tend to get caught up in the past. Now, before I go any further, let me simply qualify that: There is nothing wrong with savoring memories and holding those near and dear. We capture pictures and video footage. We create albums. We hang pictures up on the wall in our living rooms. Some even write books and recount the stories around a dinner table. Nothing at all wrong with that.
But problems begin when we build altars around the past. When we say, think, or communicate: “It hasn’t been done like that before, so it just won’t work.” Even worse is when we give in to fear – fear of the present, fear of the future. The message from Jesus Himself was, “Fear not!” As we look at the Word itself and dig into the Gospel records, we see the Master working out the Kingdom in the present. Doing things that were viewed by some with raised eyebrows and discontent. Eating with tax collectors. Talking with Samaritans. Offering hope and light to a prostitute. Jesus knew when, and where, to recall the past. He references some of the OT names and accounts: Abraham, David, Solomon. He read from Isaiah. He honored the Passover. Yet, a new day of hope and restoration had come. He brought it in.
The term “Focus Forward” places emphasis and priority on the whole concept of the present and what lies ahead. You know, not long ago one of my dear friends, Brother James Spruill, shared a very insightful view – a view that God had given him while he and his wife, Mary, were driving their R.V. to spread the Gospel on one of their journeys. Brother James said that it’s like looking through the windshield of the R.V. The windshield is much, much larger than the rear-view mirror. He went on to explain that is how our view should be in life – it shows how much larger, and more important, focusing forward is compared to what is behind. A great analogy – and of course, he presented it so much more eloquently.
It is true friends. What God has done, for us, to save us and set us apart is real amazing love and amazing grace. We did not deserve it. It was by Him, and through Him, and of Him that we have received life, and hope, and joy. Now, He is calling us out. Now, He is presenting the question, “What are you going to do with My Son?” Most know what they ought to do. Most know what they are called to do. But what are we going to do? That is the question that matters – and there can only be one answer.
We have to focus forward on what He has for us, today. We have to give Jesus away to others and we have to find practical, creative, life-giving ways (and methods) to give Him away. The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5, v.1, these words: “For freedom Christ has set us free, so stand firm and do not submit again to a teaching of slavery.” People today, in all walks of life and at every location that we will find them, are in need of this freedom. Desperate need. Freedom from alcoholism – freedom from high maintenance family members – freedom from work demands and to-do lists – freedom from depression, anxiety, and fear – freedom from wallowing and laziness – freedom from finding every excuse that they can give.
As we focus forward, let us remember: If the Son has set us free…we are free in deed!
In joy, with love,