Summary: Be something far greater than an optimist. Be a faith filled doer of the will of God… do not wait for things to improve; improve them… do not wait for a new tomorrow… fill your heart with faith... and bring a new tomorrow into being.
“A New Tomorrow” Revelation 21:1-6
They have a saying in Vienna, Austria: “The situation is hopeless, but not serious.” It’s an interesting contradiction in terms. Yet life is truly a mixture of optimism and pessimism, of hope and despair, of sunshine and shadow.
Sometimes the same situation can have both elements in it at the same time! But faith is finer than optimism. It has none of the distortions of optimism. It is more lasting; less fragile. It’s fine for us to be optimistic but far better to be full of faith for a new tomorrow.
This morning I want to talk about what it means to have faith for a new tomorrow. So often in life we get stuck. Our life runs into snags that we can’t seem to get out of. Hard times come and we don’t know how to move on. We lose a job, struggle in our careers, face unexpected financial or family burdens, and go through difficulties in our relationships…
The lists of things that sometimes come against us in this life are endless. This morning I want to give you some very practical insights into living a life of much more than optimism. This morning I want to share with you three principals which can help us to live a life of faith for a new tomorrow.
Honor your Past
A past is a hard thing to shake. For some of us, the past is a something we are trying to live up to. We recall glories of days gone by, we remember the way things were and we busy ourselves trying to recreate the good old’ days. In our longing for days gone by, we forget to live in today.
For others, the past is something we are trying to live down. Our past may contain hurtful memories that we would rather forget. Sometimes we may find ourselves spending time and energy self-pitying in regret. And that’s all that regret is really good for. It is a terrible waste of energy; you can’t build on it; you can only wallow in it.
Some of us are proud of our pasts, but many of us are prisoners to our pasts. We have never learned how to honor our past without living in the past. We have never learned how to learn from our past without dwelling on it.
We have to learn to forget those things which hold us back while at the same time honoring the experiences which shaped us. God has used everything your past to mold you into the person you are… and He has forgives you for every mistake which you have made. You are His forgiven child. You are beautiful to him.
Bruce Larson tells the true story of a Catholic priest living in the Philippines, a much-loved man of God who once carried a secret burden of long-past sin buried deep in his heart. He had committed that sin once, many years before, during his time in seminary. No one else knew of this sin. He had repented of it and he had suffered years of remorse for it, but he still had no peace, no inner joy, no sense of God’s forgiveness.
There was a woman in this priest’s parish who deeply loved God, and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ, and He with her. The priest, however, was skeptical of her claims, so to test her visions he said to her, “You say you actually speak directly with Christ in your visions. Let me ask you a favor. The next time you have one of these visions, I want you to ask Him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary.”
The woman agreed and went home. When she returned to the church a few days later, the priest said, “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?”
She replied, “Yes, He did.”
“And did you ask Him what sin I committed in seminary?”
“Yes, I asked Him.”
“Well, what did He say?”
“He said, ‘I don’t remember.’”
This is what God wants you to know about the forgiveness He freely offers you. When your sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The past—with its sins, hurts brokenness, and self-recrimination—is gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He forgets.
The only proper way to deal with the past is to learn from it. In learning from our past we not honor the past but we free ourselves to live in today and for tomorrow!
Rather than trying to live in the past or trying to run from the past, honor your past.
All that has happened in your life has led you to this exact moment in time; the good things that made you smile… and the bad things that taught how important it is to smile. All of your sins are forgiven. Today, you are free from the past!