estiny Newsletter   
Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
Our Bright Destiny

Welcome to the new year! The year of our Lord, 2006, is now upon us and, considering the days in which we live, it is viewed with anticipation by some, curiosity by many and apprehension by others. What will this new 12-month span of our lives include for the world? While strictly speaking, it is impossible to “view the future,” and impossible, as well, to predict the future, there are certainly some generalizations which can be made about the year which is to come. In fact, there are some predictions that can be made about 2006 that can be said without fear of contradiction. The year ahead will certainly contain:

1. Uncertainty—The Bible well advises us to “boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). From this it is clear that believers are called to live, not by certainties and predictable tomorrows, but by faith. Anyone who says that this or that event will take place tomorrow or next month is not to be believed. God has made life deliberately precarious so that we should be forced to trust in Him. Uncertainty, is, therefore, a great gift from God because it points up the only true certainty in the universe, the Lord, Himself. Beware, therefore, of promises of “inevitable health,” or other inevitable things which it is so popular for charlatans to promise today. For the believer in Jesus Christ, the greatest inevitability is the presence of Jesus Christ. All else is subject to the vagaries of this unsubstantial world.

2. Opportunity—To the Church of all time and especially of our time, Jesus Christ promises “Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it” Here, then, is the source of the best kind of “Christian optimism.” It is the promise that God will continue to keep open before us the door of opportunity and, also, to supply the energy, the drive, the faith, the human instruments by which to meet those opportunities. Opportunity is, in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts which we have from God. It means that the Christian is able to move into evermore-spacious vistas of privilege with each year that passes.

3. Spiritual Adventure—As a child, I would read such stories as “Roland, the Noble Knight,” “King Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table,” and even, “The Royal Road to Romance,” by Richard Haliburton. I thought that that was adventure. I have since learned that the true adventure of life is being involved in the work of Christ, in the conflict between good and evil. The battle for the world is between light and darkness and the adventure is being a soldier in that battle.

Is it possible that the return of Jesus Christ could also be included in this year to come? The Bible says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Here we have the Word of God telling us that Christ will come for His own and take us up to heaven to be with Himself. This passage is the revelation of the translation of the Church from the “Church Militant” to the “Church Triumphant.” What a day that will be! As we look to the fastbreaking events of our time, many of which appear to be “signs of the times,” we must allow for the possibility of the nearness of the coming of Jesus Christ. Do not let the present ignoring of and sometimes resentment of the prophetic Word dim your bright anticipation for the return of Christ. Looking for the coming of our wonderful Lord bears beautiful results in our lives for “every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure” (I John 3:3).

Let me suggest a passage for the new year: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14).

Facing the Challenging Future

Each of us is moving through this mysterious continuum called “time.” While we don’t know exactly what time is, we know that it is transporting us, like it or not, into the future. Try as we may to hold onto yesterday or even today, still the past is taken from us, forcing us constantly to look ahead. It is impossible for us to steer the speeding craft of our lives except by looking ahead. The reality of life allows us no other possibility. This being the case, we must learn how to face this challenging thing called “the future.” The fact is that the future is a friend to all of those who prepare for it. It is the enemy of all who would take their eyes off the path ahead.

But this whole matter of facing the future is viewed with increasing apprehension by the hapless worldlings of our time. They see the present generation as filled with peril and therefore their lives increasingly beset by unprecedented and unmanageable forms of danger. This attitude is understandable for the person of the world, for indeed the Bible says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1).

Facing the future is not the same thing, however, for the child of God. This because he knows many things which the world does not know and these things become principles by which life can be lived successfully. In fact, the perceptive Christian is filled with anticipation about the exciting path that lies ahead. Facing the future, how may I do this successfully? In answer to that question, we have a number of principles made clear in the Bible which we do well to keep in mind.

The first is that life is dynamic, it is not static. The Apostle Paul mentions this exactly when he says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after” (Phil. 3:12). Upon reading this, along with checking the lessons of life already, we see clearly that there is never a time when we can safely rest on our laurels. Every new day that we live brings a package of unanticipated events including new opportunities and new dangers. Never, therefore, are we wise to say, “Now I know it all. I have established a course of action that will never fail, and I have learned all the lessons which I need to learn.”

If we hold this static point of view, we may be sure that God will drop into our life a new consideration, a gain, a loss, a twist in our circumstances for which we are very ill prepared. We may plan life as we will, but we will never be delivered from those things which are not included in the plan. Yes, life is a very dynamic thing. Therefore, the just must live by faith.

A second principle concerning this matter of facing the future is to remember that the past should not unduly influence our anticipation of the days to come. Paul puts it, “forgetting those things which are behind” (Phil. 3:13). The past contains the remembrance of many things that perhaps can be boiled down into two departments. The first is “past failures.” Past failures should not cast a pall over the events of today and especially tomorrow.

We must remember that God has made provision in the life of every Christian to wipe away the failures of the past. He has said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). A great deliverance from the cloying weights of the past can come to every Christian by invoking this promise in the Word of God. To be cleansed from all unrighteousness is a great present gift from God. Indeed, it is one of the derivative benefits of the finished work of Christ on Calvary’s cross.

A second department of the past is “past successes.” It is one of the mysteries of life that often our successes do us more harm than our failures. The reason is that we learn much from failure, but more than often success merely produces pride. Most honest people will quickly confess that their successes came mostly by accident. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time rather than great cleverness on their part. Thank God for success; but if the result is sinful pride, success is worse than failure.

A third principle to keep in mind as we look to the future is that life must be lived with intensity. Paul put it best by saying, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). The apostle did not say “I drift toward the mark,” “I meander toward the mark,” “I float toward the mark.” Not at all! There is no worthy success in life except that which comes from a degree of personal intensity.

In fact, it can surely be said that one of the strangest contradictions on earth is that of casual Christianity. It is a breathless anomaly for Christians to profess to believe that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun and then be relaxed and casual about bringing that message to the world. C. T. Studd spoke well when he said, “If Jesus be God and He died for me, then no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him.” We have talked entirely too much about relaxation and stress reduction. To an army marching into battle, these expressions are incomprehensible.

Finally, we must remember the fourth principle that there is a great prize at the end of the course. Paul called this the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). “The high calling,” what an expression! The trajectory of the life of a Christian leads to the broad vistas of heaven. There we shall know even as we are known and therefore rejoice with joy unspeakable in what we may have accomplished for Christ.

Facing the future is therefore done by realizing that life is a vastly important thing with its consequences in eternity. Our plans for the future, therefore, should not be made simply to steer us along the path of convenience. They should rather be based on the question, “What can I do with the one life I will live in this world which I can then present to my Lord before His Judgment Seat?”

Yes, each one of us shall give an account of himself to God. Nothing will be more important in the initial stages of heaven than to hear Jesus say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). The real future is not merely the year to come, it is the eternity that is before us.

From the writings of Dave Breese

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