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Looking into the future through the eyes of someone who is uncertain would evoke anxiety, worry, and stress. Looking into it through the eyes of a believer who has surrendered His life to God and trusts His will would be completely different. You’d probably see how they envision everything working out according to God’s plan in quiet confidence. They both share the fact that neither knows when they will die or if they will be raptured in this lifetime. Neither can predict with any greater certainty what is to come, outside the believer trusting in what is written in the Word of God of course. The circumstances on the surface are the same on multiple levels, but on the most important layer they are different. The layer of where they place their faith is either correctly placed in God or misplaced in some poor substitute. Some people place their confidence, faith, and security in such things as wealth, friends, sturdy structures, and the like. The believer on the other hand, while aiming to be a good steward and still likely having friends, quietly confides in God. The believer knows that it doesn’t matter if they’re net worth is $0 or $1,000,000,000. They know that grand calamity can cause them the misfortune of losing it all and they’d still be called to trust on God, likewise if they are already low net worth individuals they trust God as is to provide daily for them. One has the artificial illusion that their money can buy them safety and convenience beyond what God can provide, but apart from some level of comfort or convenience this isn’t short of deception. No matter if you invest a great fortune in the best security systems, safety teams, and safety measures that money can buy – one day or night your life will be demanded of you.
The Christian knows that if they’ve laid up for themselves Heavenly treasure and focused on the work of God in this life that they are in a good position. They have received the free gift of eternal life, they believe in Jesus Christ. They know His rising from the dead 3 days after his crucifixion. They know he ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. If you know all this, you read His word, and you prayerfully seek His guidance He will never let you down. We let Him down still often, I would venture to say even on a regular basis, but we still know that He will never leave us or forsake us.
As He draws near to us we try to draw near to Him. A non-believer has no such rest. They have the opportunity to accept the greatest gift ever given because of the most valuable price ever paid. The only Son of God had to die on a cross for our salvation. Despite this reality they live in their own bubble, not desiring to know God but instead drawing nearer to the appetites of the flesh. They are constantly trying to feed the bottomless pit of sinful desire that no amount of money, compromise, or dead ends actually ends up satiating. The only way to close off these desires of course is through the strength of Jesus Christ, turning away from sin as we repent for the glory of God by His grace.
A believer has rest even if He is working harder or more constantly than a non-believer. He knows that this life is temporal and that His eternity in Heaven is where He can enjoy true solace. We may taste moments of peace and comfort in this life, but the permanent is yet to come. That’s why a believer who is mature in faith knows that sacrifice in this life for eternal rewards and God’s glory is a beautiful aspect of our mission that should be openly embraced. We take comfort in knowing that live or die we live in the hands of God. We are citizens of Heaven, only here to accept God’s mission for us or deny that mission for our own selfish ambitions and desires. Meanwhile those of us who are saved know that the maximum pleasure, joy, and peace is found in a win-win scenario as we serve the Lord. We know this both because we stand on His word and because experience in life has taught us that this always rings true. I actually believe that I am blessed beyond measure to be able to get a taste of God’s love, mercy, and presence this side of Heaven.
I could imagine a situation where a believer was called to a higher level of suffering because God knew they could handle it. He knew they could handle it, that they would still glorify God in the midst of their suffering, and that ultimately this would work out for the best in the grand scheme of things. When we seek the best of God’s glory and satisfy ourselves inside of His will we are automatically seeking the best for ourselves as well. We don’t have the depth to always understand how this is the case, but the ones who are givers, delight in Godly wisdom, and fulfill God’s calling are the ones who are first in Heaven. In order to be first in Heaven we need to make ourselves last on earth.
That’s why God’s word tells us how difficult it is for a rich person to get into Heaven. (V*1). What a serious warning, and one that we all should take heed. We may not be rich in our own eyes, or even poor in them, but the reality is that we’re among the most wealthy people in the world. If you live in a situation with the means to have purchased a computer to read this text, you are among the most blessed and elite of the world. We are called to be good stewards of the wealth, talent, time, and gifts God has entrusted us. That includes being faithful at the present time, but also in consideration of the future. We need to plan in consideration that we’ll be here tomorrow because we don’t know when we’ll be leaving earth. We cannot squander all we have today or give away every cent and item of utility. We need to approach these things like giving, use of our devices, exercising our blessings, and utilizing our time with a prayerful eye towards what God wants of us. There’s a place and a time for everything, but we need to realistically know that even if we’re unable to accomplish what we wanted to do in our hearts that God knows what we intended.
Remember that God doesn’t need any of us, but we are blessed beyond measure to be used by Him. We are used even though we’re not needed by the Creator of the Universe. What an honor, but also what a freeing thought to think. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, live out what God designed you to be and take it one day at a time. Ask God to reveal to you what your calling is in the work for His Kingdom, and then delve into it to the extent that He puts in your heart and mind. Answer God’s call and continually pray that He would guide your steps in that mission. Some of us are in a phase of our lives where we may not know what our mission is yet. Don’t worry if God has not revealed it to you, you may be involved in a season of preparation. The importance of these seasons is to maximize the preparation God has placed before you, and treat it as a lesson for the long term. While you look at how the tasks at hand can help you in the future, be sure not to undermine them in the present. What I mean of course is you don’t want to mishandle a situation right in front of you because you were day dreaming about what’s coming. Let each step come to pass as God’s will leads us. Don’t question if your status in the world is reduced or if people look down upon you as if you had regressed in your success. Your success in the eyes of God is the only success that really matters. The world and it’s expectations for you can take a hike. It’s a pretty serious danger to succeed at what you weren’t meant to do in God’s plans, so be careful not to let your own selfish plans interfere with what God may want you to do. Don’t be in a hurry to get rich because God punishes those who are. (V*2). Also be sure that you don’t spurn the correction of God, because He corrects those that He loves and He loves us all unconditionally. (V*3) and (V*4).
Don’t look too far in advance at what is to come. Let each day worry about itself as the Bible instructs us to do. It says that each day contains enough trouble of its’ own. (V*5). When days seem easy, don’t take them for granted and look to how they can be utilized efficiently for God’s plans or drawing nearer to where God wants you. The Bible elaborates on this concept as well, the days are evil so we need to redeem the time. It instructs us to walk circumspectly, or in other words to be cautious and considerate of many possible consequences. (V*6). I believe what is being said about the days being evil regards them being treated as distractions or time only meant to aim to satisfy our own insatiable appetites. When they are treated in such a manner we are not being circumspect, but instead struggling with our own foolishness. When we aim to fulfill God’s plans we are operating on His higher standards and we’re not falling for the short-sightedness and foolishness that the patterns of this world would have us buy into. Make sure you’re consistently reminding yourself that even though you’re in the world, that you’re not of the world.
You may even be troubled by some of the environments you interact in. Don’t allow anyone to bring you down, extinguish your hopes, or kill the passion that you have to serve Jesus Christ that is burning inside of you. Let that light shine even to those who consistently seem to walk a crooked path. You may be surrounded by people like this. People who try to steal your joy, to lead you astray or even worse to try to dismantle what you try to honor God with. Don’t worry, God sees all this and He’s the one that keeps absolute score not us. Keep walking the straight and narrow path that leads to Heaven. God knows the intentions of your heart and if you keep seeking Him and putting Him first He will cause all things to work out for good in a greater sense. This doesn’t mean you won’t have any failure or have a stumble once in a while, what it means is that overall things will work out for the best. That’s why we need to put the future in God’s hands. None of us has the capacity to understand even our own personal future, let alone that future as it pertains to interacting with others to come.
Don’t try to figure out all the angles, or even most of them, God has it all under control. This is one of the issues I face once in a while. I try to figure out too much of what is to come, and I need to remind myself “Hey Victor, remember who you serve. You may not have everything in the order you think you’d like right now, but God knows what you need.” God knows what we need, we only know what we think we want. God knows that what we need is infinitely better than what we want sometimes. Often times what we want is actually close to the worst thing we could find, let God open and close the doors of the present and the future as He wills it. Remember your past once in a while too, recall that God has never let you down and He never will now or later either. What an enviable place to be!
Don’t envy sinners, envy worldly wealth, or waste your life chasing the wrong kind of blessings. Let God bless you as He sees fit and remember that He knows what we can and cannot handle. There’s a reason for everything whether it seems good or bad for us in the context of our lives and everyone around us. Sometimes tragedies will strike or otherwise unexplicable circumstances, don’t get mad and hold a grudge at God. Don’t let the sun set on your anger, try to release it immediately and forgive those that wrong you. If we don’t forgive those that wrong us, how are we supposed to expect God to forgive us? Furthermore, if you’ve sought forgiveness for a transgression, or many transgressions for that matter, don’t be stubborn enough not to forgive yourself. If God has forgiven you, you absolutely need to forgive yourself. Your forgiveness isn’t of higher value than God’s forgiveness. Be quick to forgive, slow to anger, and patient as possible as all these things come together for the best of God’s will. It assists us in a great way to practice being better listeners in order to achieve this. The verse also serves as a warning that when one is easily angered, one isn’t very far from sin. (V*7) and (V*8).
V*1- “25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:25 (NKJV).
V*2- “20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 28:20 (NKJV).
V*3- “11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12 (NKJV).
V*4- “8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV).
V*5- “34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NKJV).
V*6- “15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (NKJV).
V*7- “19 So then,[a] my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 (NKJV).
V*8- “17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated.” Proverbs 14:17 (NKJV).