estiny Newsletter   
Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
The Proper Vision

By Dave Breese

Anyone who has driven a car or flown an airplane knows that there is a basic rule which must always be followed. That indisputable rule is possible to state very simply. It is this: “Look where you are going.” All other objects of our attention may be interesting, but they are never to become the preoccupation of the person driving the vehicle. However beguiling may be the scenery and however interesting the ambiance of the trip, the driver, if the trip is to be successful, must watch where he is going. Not to keep this rule in mind could well produce some very unfulfilling results.

As is the case in steering a vehicle, so also it is in life. This is why life is frequently compared to a trip, a voyage, a traversement toward a destination. This being the case, the advice is, therefore, most relevant about life, “Look where you are going.” This simple adage is unheeded by many people, which heedlessness causes many wellknown, adverse consequences.

Where then shall we look if we would be properly informed about the progress of life? The answer of many in our time is, “We shall look back.”

Now, this answer is rarely called by its right name, “regressive thinking,” but rather it is touted as “proper appreciation of heritage.” Much time, therefore, is spent by churches, denominations, organizations of many kinds and, of course, individuals, in looking back. Much of this is done in the name of “remembering our heritage,” “reexamining our roots,” “remembering the faith of our fathers,” and even “learning the lessons of history.” Some of these descriptions may even sound sublime. The memories undoubtedly create for many a wonderful, languid nostalgia. Therefore, to this day there are great numbers of people who walk through cemeteries, examining old gravestones so that pieces of the past may make their lives complete today.

Much of this is done despite the instructions, yes, the prohibitions of the Bible. The Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13,14). Yes, the past should not unduly influence the future. Hope is better than heritage by a thousand times! Try as we will, the past cannot be changed. Conversely, with very little effort the presumed future can be dramatically altered.

The ancient landmarks must be regarded but not worshiped. They are to be respected only to the extent that they are helpful in establishing a course for the future.

Another answer to the direction of our vision is given by many who say, “We must look about us.” Yes, the passing scene through which we are moving is a fascinating thing indeed. This is especially true in our present, amazing world. In these very days and weeks, a tidal wave of things, concepts, events, transpirings has come upon us with attendant, spectacular fascinations. What’s more, interesting events are multiplied by millions via international radio and television and the internet. So much is this the case that the people of our world, especially the untutored young, are wide-eyed with wonder. Looking about them they are seemingly breathless with human anticipation.

To be fair, we must say that an awareness of our passing world is not entirely wrong. Christ spoke to His disciples saying, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). So, we are enjoined by our Lord to be aware of our circumstances. Let us quickly mention, however, that that awareness is not for the purpose of being amazed, but for the purpose of discerning spiritual opportunity. The important thing about our world is not that it has fast airplanes, cellular phones and the like, but that it is white unto harvest.

This being the case, it still remains to be said that expertise on earthly things is not commended in Scripture. People who mind earthly things can become “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18). This because the cross of Christ cancels the validity, the worth of most human things.

Peter had an occasion in his life when he concentrated overlong on his circumstances rather than the Lord who stood above the circumstances. The Scripture says, “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me” (Matt. 14:30). What Christian has not found himself in similar circumstances?

Proper attention to our environment is commendable. Undue concentration is to miss the purpose of life.

“No, we must look ahead,” say others. This is certainly a far wiser object of our concentration because, of course, we are moving “ahead” in life. So Paul helps us by telling that he is “reaching forth to those things which are before.” Again and again we need to be reminded that we are moving out of the past which we cannot change into a future which we can profoundly influence. The purposeful individual, filled with conviction and led by the Spirit of God, can greatly outdistance in success and accomplishment others who are drifting and dreaming. Planning the future and anticipating the blessing of God in that future is a valid and a most necessary course of action.

But, we must also remember that the human future is not the ultimate thing. Plan as we will, we are still subject to the principle that says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). Despite all of our prognostications and our best computer scenarios, we cannot know what finally the future will bring. Our faith does not cancel the uncertainties of the future, but promises that Christ will be with us in all of them. So, the human future should be regarded, but it should never be given the sense of finality which is ascribed to it by so many. In contemplating the future, we must never place the sign, “The end” anywhere along the way. Yes, we are to look ahead, but only looking ahead is not the ultimate thing.

What then is the ultimate outlook? It is—and ah, this is important—to look up.

Yes, looking up should be our main and constant outlook. By so doing, we will find ourselves informed and greatly inspired by contemplating a destination which is available only to the Christian. To the Christian, the Bible says, “If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1-4). Yes, we are instructed, we are commanded to raise our vision above anything that can be viewed on a horizontal level. We are enjoined to perform the deliberate act of setting our affections, forcing ourselves to contemplate things above. Indeed, we are to seek those things which are above. Looking onward and upward, this is the proper object of Christian contemplation. The reason for this is simple—that’s where we are going!

We can never be delivered from the anxieties of time by merely looking back, around us, or simply ahead. The ultimate purpose of life cannot be discovered on the horizontal plane. In the last analysis, there is no final fulfillment available within the historical process. Everything that we can see with our human eyes is a part of the tapestry of earth. That tapestry, those hangings which are the ephemeral backdrop of the human drama, must be torn down and cast away. Speaking about the things of earth and about our eternal Lord, the Scripture says, “They shall perish; but You remain; and they all shall grow old as does a garment; And as a vesture shall You fold them up, and they shall be changed: but You are the same, and Your years shall not fail” (Heb. 1:11,12). That should certainly settle it. Everything that can be seen with the eyes—the earth and even the visible heavens—will perish. The purpose then for which to live is not the acquisition of earthly pieces that perish, but to live for an eternity that is becoming increasingly near.

Speaking about the signs of the dissolution of the things of time, Christ advised us, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). So we have divine instructions, we are to look up.

We Christians will do this! Whatever advice we have from the touters of the things of time, we will look up beyond the trinkets and tinfoil of earth. We will see this world as only relatively important and not to be compared with the realities of eternity. Yes, we’ve long since learned that the things that are not seen are eternal.

Let us, therefore, worry no longer about the disappointments of time. This because—so soon is time gone. Our answer, therefore, to the question, “What will you do in the event that trouble will increase (which it is) and that earth finally will be destroyed (which it will be)?” Our answer is always and ever the expression of our glorious hope—we will look up!

Destiny Newsletter continued