Summary: Part four considering how a future focus motivates present faithfulness
“Future Focus Present Faithfulness” Pt 4
Contemplating our future heavenly existence greatly affects our present service. Scripture requires us to maintain a clear heavenly focus in order to manage a consistent earthly walk.
We enter and keep running this present grueling race of faith with joy and endurance by fixing our eyes on Jesus and maintaining an eternal focus.
Using another image…
We join the Lord’s army and give every battle every ounce of energy we have by keeping a focus on the end to the war and our love for our new country. We focus on the thought of how the battle we engage today vitally relates to the victory we enjoy tomorrow.
The key to managing the junk of this present world lies in the ability to keep our thoughts connected to the promises of a new world. Knowing that how we live in this age strategically impacts life in the next, enables us to get in the race, stay in the race and play by the rules.
Paul encouraged a young pastor regarding genuine commitment. 2 Timothy 2:1-7
Suffering goes with the territory. Sacrifice for the commander is expected. Playing by the rules is required in order to win the prize. Endurance and hard work reap rewards. A future focus appears all through Scripture as a motivation for the present fight. The responses connected to the revelation of God's future promises can be summarized into three main areas.
1. Inspires faithful diligent service
God gifts every believer to engage in service to the kingdom and our fellow followers of Christ.
He expects every believer to employ their gifts for the growth of the body.
As each one offers themselves to kingdom purposes the body of Christ matures and grows.
The day will come when we will answer to God how we used the capabilities He gave us.
There will be a day of rewards. God will reward the faithful actions of His servants not their good intentions. He will evaluate and reward according to the measure of faith He gave.
To whom much was given, much will be required. We must not measure ourselves against others either positively or negatively. Just because we do more than someone else does not necessarily mean God is pleased with our level of service. He may have asked us to do and gifted us to do much more but we felt content because we compared ourselves with someone else rather than what God actually asked us to do.
On the other hand, just because we are not accomplishing as much as someone else is doing does not mean we have not pleased God for doing all that He gifted and assigned us to do. A faithful servant does beyond the bare requirements. A faithful servant serves to the best of his ability. He gives his all for the Master. Once this age comes to a close, the opportunity to invest in the future will be over. In light of the future implications of our present service, I urge you to continually consider your level of service to the kingdom; time, resources, energy, relationships, commitment.
2. Encourages continued endurance in our present service
Such continual committed service is hard. Paul said this about the rigors of ministry.
Colossians 1:28-29; 2:1-3
Scripture urges us to endure, not to become weary in well doing, keep pure, stay diligent, walk worthy, serve well, and faint not in this present world in light of its connection to the life to come. Future reward depends on present faithfulness and endurance to the end.
3. Promotes holy living
A healthy future focus also promotes present holy living. God rewards not only the faithful but the pure; the holy; the obedient; the righteous. God’s future rewards relate to being as much as doing. In fact, the doing without the being negates the doing. Not only will actions be taken into consideration but the motives associated with the actions. Consider those Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount.
He addressed the reward for prayer. Those who prayed to be seen and admired by men would receive reward only from men. Those who prayed in secret would be openly rewarded by God.
The same applied to giving and fasting. God will take motives into account at reward time.
No excuses. No justification. Full disclosure. Full accountability. Such future scrutiny ought to motivate present purity. Most every extended passage dealing with future events also contains a strong exhortation to holy living in the present. What sort of people ought we to be today in light of tomorrow’s events? Holy, blameless, spotless! 2 Peter 3:10-18
God recorded future happenings to motivate present holiness. His prophetic revelation was intended to motivate our present behavior. A clear understanding of our future accountability motivates our present holy living. Knowing that we will one day give account to God Himself should motivate a careful consideration of our present life. If we were truly serious about holy living, we would invite God’s scrutiny of our life on a continual basis. The cry of our heart would be the same cry that David demonstrated. Psalms 139:23-24