Summary: Part 5 in our consideration of how a future focus motivates present faithfulness.
Future Focus Present Faithfulness Series Pt 5
“Pursuing Peace with ALL Men”
Scripture insists we continually maintain an eternal focus -- Colossians 3:1-4
Keep seeking the things above…Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Why? For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
What occupies our thinking throughout the day? How do we set our mind on the things above?
What are the things above? Our thoughts should center on Jesus. Our thoughts should center on what he has done for us. The character of his kingdom as opposed to the corruption of the kingdoms of this world should occupy our thinking. We should spend time thinking about life on the new earth. We spent time thinking about the glory of being in God’s presence.
In reality, there is no shortage of things to think about related to Heaven and eternity.
A healthy heavenly and the future focus…
1. Inspires faithful diligent service now
2. Encourages continued endurance to the end
3. Promotes holy living in the present
Hebrews 12 recorded three specific life goals to consider as individuals and as a church family.
A holy life is one whose direction is set by the principles and purposes of Scripture.
These goals nicely dovetail with the stated goals of our church. Perhaps most of them would fall under one of the three goals listed here.
Cultivate dynamic relationship with God
Pursue meaningful connection with people
Restore righteous living -- resist evil
Speaking the words of Christ.
Working the works of Christ.
Walking the walk of Christ.
So we may please God and impact our world for Christ. One could draw any number of life goals from Scripture. For the sake of clarity, I want to direct our attention to the specific goals listed here. The first is found in Hebrews 12:12, 13
a) Promote Healing among the body
Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
Both words used here are perfect passive participles. It describes a condition that happened to them at a point in time and still affected them. Passive indicates an action done TO them.
“the hands having become weak” This is a word that means to hang down. Basically they are hands that have been incapacitated and now unable to function.
The second word paints a very similar picture “the limbs having become feeble”. It means to loosen beside, to be paralyzed. Again incapacitated and unable to function.
Even though the reference is to the physical body, it has soul and spirit implication and application. It may be mental incapacitation, physical, emotional, spiritual, social, vocational, financial, marital, family, children or grand children. Something happened to incapacitate these believers so that they could no longer function. These believers were suffering some sort of paralysis. Something took place in their life to bring about such incapacitation. It may be sin, circumstances, life in a fallen world, demonic oppression, external persecution, and even God’s discipline. This church body needs to engage our community for Christ. We need to become healthy. A church is only as healthy as its individual members. Healthy parts make a healthy whole. A paralyzed church is designed of paralyzed members.
The passage calls for two actions.
First, “restore” the wounded.
It means to set straight; like setting a broken bone. Deal with whatever issues are paralyzing individual members. Depression, discouragement, disillusionment, confusion, contention, fear, guilt, anger, faulty thinking, inability to pray or draw near to God, bitterness, temporal values, a fleshly walk are only the symptoms of a broken connection with the source of spiritual life and vitality. These are only the symptoms of a life controlled by the flesh rather than the spirit.
Paul’s instruction for such a state is to walk by the direction and energy of the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is a heavenly focus. This is a surrendered life. This is a Christ centered life.
Restoration will involve repentance and surrender to Christ’s direction for my life.
Restoration may require addressing past wounds and those who inflicted them.
Restoration may include practical issues i.e. Financial counseling, physical fatigue, family intervention.
The nature of paralysis is that no matter how hard we try we cannot get the paralyzed member to function. We need to call for and submit to assistance from other members of the body of Christ.
Second, make straight paths to walk on.
This is an effort to eliminate the potholes, detours, wandering that may re-injure the limb or reopen a wound. It requires a reinforcement of Biblical thinking and the spiritual disciplines that restore strength. It involves establishing new patterns of living that facilitate spiritual growth. It requires an unfailing trust in God’s way of doing things.