This week's memory verse:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
Past, present, future...While all those are important to us for various reasons, it is important to keep them in balance.
Even though we sometimes want to put it behind us, our past is valuable. It is there that we make mistakes and learn from them...it is there we build the person we become. What we do and what happens to us creates the person we are. If we only live in the past, in our past glories or our past mistakes, we are only seeing part of the picture of who we can be. If we ignore our past and try to forget who we were, we lose the lessons, deny our feelings and end up hurting ourselves. It is healthy to remember and rely on lessons from the past, and to remember that what is past is gone...it can't come back to harm us and we can't stay exactly the way we were either.
What God did for us in Christ happened in the past...over 2000 years ago. We can't live there, but we can remember and be thankful for that past event that will bless our present and send us into our future.
Many make the mistake of living only for the future. They know and believe they will live with Christ forever, based on God's promises to us. So, they long for heaven and weep for today because it is not perfect like heaven. There are are also those who live any way they want now because they think they are going to heaven in the future...might as well have a little fun now, right? We need to know where we are going...live with the end in mind, but not live like that's all there is.
Where we should live is in the present. Wait, you say. We all have to live in the present...unless you believe in "Back to the Future" time travel, we have no choice but to live in the present, right?
What I mean is we need to LIVE in the present. God gave us this life on earth as a gift...it IS called the present, you know! :-D And, through his word, he gave us instructions on how to live in this present.
The Bible is a perfect mix of the past, present and future. There are lessons from the past, people who God worked through...blessed...punished...and raised up...all to teach us how to live in our present life. He then promises us a future with him forever in heaven.
2 Peter 1:3-8 explains that God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (present) through knowledge of him. All we have to do is study the lessons he has given us and we will know how to live.
1. We should have good character.
2. We should search for spiritual understanding.
3. We should work to have self control.
4. We should have passionate patience and learn perseverance...never giving up.
5. We should look in reverent wonder at all of God's creations.
6. We should be friendly and affectionate with each other.
7. We should show generous love to others around us and to ourselves.
Each of those actions fits into the other. KNOWING these things is easier than DOING them all the time, but if we learn to rely on God's strength to do them instead of on our own, we will find ourselves living a blessed present life, treasuring the past and looking forward to a joyous future!