Death in the Next Step
One of the biggest obstacles to fulfilment in our culture is that we are constantly looking forward.
Looking forward to what is coming next. Particularly the things that we have planned that are just round the corner. It’s a dangerous place to be.
I don’t want to be a joy killer, or an ‘excitement suppressor’, but we often forget about what we are doing in the here and now because we obsess over the next milestone in our life. How are we to be effective for the Kingdom of God in our day to day lives if we are so forward thinking that we forget about the present?
This became apparent when I was engaged to be married. Both Sarah and I were constantly looking forward to the big day, being swept up in all the hype and excitement that comes with getting married. We were completely neglecting the season we were already in. A friend at church said to me ‘Just enjoy being engaged’. I realised that it was a totally unique time of my life and one that I didn’t want to forget or miss out on learning from.
So how do we learn to not be taken in by this subtle and crippling distraction?
Spend some time thanking God for everything that he has done for you. In acknowledging that everything we have comes from God, even life itself, it means that we take the focus away from our lives and begin to see that it is God that gives and takes away.
Understanding our Future Hope
Thinking on the future is not a problem in itself. The issues arise when we are preoccupied with our own plans for the future, planned or unplanned. Constantly looking ahead to the weekend is one pitfall in which most people find themselves.
If we have a biblical understanding of what our future actually holds, it will make a significant difference to the way we live. Romans 5:1-2 says that ‘we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.’ Our true future is one that is filled with the glory of God, and it is in that hope that we invest our time and money.
What are you going to do with me today Lord?
A practical way to start the day and avoid daydreaming about the future is to ask God the simple question: What are you going to do with me today?
It’s Not Your World
Stop making conversations about yourself. It may be tough to hear, but when you talk about yourself and your grand plans without prompting, you make the world about you. Try asking other people what’s going on in their life, what has God been speaking to them about, or even how you can pray for them. It takes the emphasis immediately off you and you begin to build community and fellowship with others.
James Lee is Head of Communications at Something More. He is also a teacher and lives in Bristol with his wife where he has discovered a new found love for power drills.