I think a lot about my life. These days any successes of the past are often overshadowed by the detour, the failures, the disappointments, and the brokenness. There are days when I wonder about my past, present and future. I struggle to find and grasp the hope that is written about in God’s word. It’s the only hope I desire because I am smart enough and enlightened enough to know that it is the only hope that matters.
Recently while driving to work, I was wondering about how to have a deeper and more personal relationship with Christ. Wondering how to push past what happened yesterday and embrace today and His grace. I’m not sure how I got to past, present and future but I am constantly thinking with a shepherds heart (Translation: pastor’s heart) and so I went in my mind to how to communicate this journey and simplify it in a way that people could and would grasp it. If your desire is to know Jesus and really have a relationship with Him I think that there are three things or time periods that matter the most.
Think for a few moments about these three time periods in your life:
The Past: Most of our pasts are checkered with both good and bad. What’s done is done and you cannot change it. It’s part of your history. As someone quipped, “You can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube.” If you are desiring to know Christ and to walk with Him daily you must surrender your past. All of it. No matter how tainted it is or how hard you have fallen in the past, from this day forward you must look with faith to the work of Christ who died that the sins of our past could be erased. We struggle with this because often we don’t find that forgiveness very easily from some people in our life. Many times it is those who are representative of His body on this earth and that can be really distracting. Press ahead. Be humble and sorrowful with godly repentance but move forward. Accept what Christ offers. Believe it. Embrace it. Let the mercy, grace, peace and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ pour over you.
The Present: Life on this earth is so short. It is such a minuscule amount of time in comparison with the eternity that is to follow. The older you get the more you realize that time moves quickly and you wonder where it’s gone. What matters the most is and what will matter the most when we stand before God someday and that is what we have done with the present. The only way you and I can live and love like Jesus is to know Him and the only way to know Him is to spend time with Him. To read from the word and come to love it. To know Him in prayer and intentional quiet times where the noise of this life is shut out. It’s about spiritual intimacy with Him. You shut the door to distractions and daily you communicate with Him. Out of our closeness with Him comes clarity.
Clarity of position: You come to know how much you are a child of God and that Jesus is your brother and friend. You wouldn’t think of not talking with Him every day and even all day long.
Clarity of purpose: What does He want you to do with your time here and now? Who does Jesus want you to touch with your life? How does He want to use your gifts and strengths?
Clarity of passion: Do whatever you have to do to put God first. Live in such a way that when you come down to draw your last breath and you reflect on your life there will be no regrets. I’m not talking about regrets from “the past” because those are forgiven and are not to be remembered anymore, but regrets about the present and how you lived your life. What did you give yourself to? Who did you invest in to make a eternal difference in their life? The stuff we surround our lives with often only serves to distract us from what really matters. People matter. Our families matter. Our neighbors matter. Even our money will all stay here when we die so why not find ways to give that make a true difference in other’s lives. Find a not for profit that is truly ministering on behalf of Christ and invest in the Kingdom.
The Future: Eternity matters! Someone said if you take a tape measure that has a beginning and no end that the first inch would represent our time being alive on this earth. The rest of the tape measure with no ending represents eternity. When we live our lives centered around Christ and trust Him with our failures, our faith, and our finish we have no worries about eternity. In fact, the hope of heaven becomes sweeter and sweeter the more we detach from this world.
Jesus takes on our past and provides new birth and a new life, He helps shape our present and is praying for us daily at the right hand of God the Father, and according to the sacred writings of the Bible He has gone to prepare a place for us where there will be no more tears, separations, heartbreak, sickness or death.
Give Him your past. Let Him have your present and start today preparing for the future. It will be worth it.