Summary: This is a third part of how a focus on the future can motivate faithfulness in the present.
“Future Focus Present Faithfulness” Pt 3
X. The Reward and Inheritance Factor
A. PRESENT AND FUTURE REWARD
B. FUTURE INHERITANCE
C. INTERMEDIATE HOME
D. RENEWED HEAVEN AND EARTH – Our permanent home
E. PRESENT HELP FROM A FUTURE HOPE
Contemplating our future heavenly existence greatly affects our present service. In fact, a failure to contemplate heaven and our future hope actually diminishes our effectiveness on this present earth. Scripture requires us to maintain a clear heavenly focus in order to manage a consistent earthly walk.
Therefore since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 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. Colossians 3:1-4
We can run this grueling earthly race with endurance by fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of faith. The key to managing the junk of this present world lies in the ability to keep our thoughts connected to the promise of a new world. The responses connected to the revelation of God's future promises can be summarized into three main areas.
1. Inspires faithful diligent service
The motivation for working hard and using every moment is the realization that what we do here affects life hereafter. What we do here and now significantly affects position, reward, responsibility, recognition, eternal treasure and resources. The writer of Hebrews concluded his chapter on running the race by urging us to offer to God an acceptable service. Faithful acceptable service takes discipline, training, initiative, resolve. Contemplation of our future hope should inspire present faithfulness. The works we did in this life will be evaluated and rewarded. God rewards the faithful actions not good intentions.
2. Encourages continued endurance in our present service
First, be in service for the Kingdom. Second, stick with it even when it gets hard. 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.
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:10-12
A healthy future focus encourages a hopeful present endurance. God will not forget.
God will preside and provide. Biblical endurance transcends a tooth-gritting fight-to-the-finish attitude. Scripture instructs us not only to stay in the trial but to do it with a smile on her face.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials… James 1:2
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
How do we mange such an attitude in the face of the kind of suffering that crowds its unwelcome way into our lives at any given moment? It all has to do with a future focus, a mind set on things above. How does an athlete endure and at some point enjoy the excruciating training regimen? He looks to the future hope of glory, affirmation, salary, recognition, achievement, growth. Jesus told His disciples that any one who gave up and suffered in this life would, for sure, reap compounded reward in the next and perhaps even some in this life. A compelling heavenly awareness motivates a joyful earthly endurance. With our eye on the future goal we are able to endure the present grit. Reward comes to those who endure with a heart like Christ and the attitude of Christ. We need to endure here because it is those who endure that inherit the promises.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
3. Promotes holy living
A healthy future focus also promotes present holy living. A clear idea of the future helps keep us accountable in the present. We may think that we get away with it, but God sees it all. We may think it doesn’t matter whether we invest in kingdom work, work in God’s building, and minister to God’s people.