Summary: This series focuses on how we sometimes allow what we are experiencing right now to overshadow where God is leading us - mistaking the noew for the end.
Now Is Not The End
Scripture: Genesis 37:1-22; 23-28
I want to take this time on our first Sunday of a New Year to wish each of you a Happy New Year. As I thought about the message I wanted to deliver today, I thought about a message that my brother had delivered at his church. The message was “Now Is Not The End”. As I listened to his message, I thought to myself there is a message in there for us as we start this New Year. This morning my message is titled “Now Is Not The End” which I thought was very fitting. The last two sermons that I have preached focused on how we sometimes enter into doubt about what God has told us to do because when we start doing it we run into problems. This doubt opens the door for Satan to hinder us from ever completing the task that God has laid before us. In this series I want us to consider how our focus is often on the “Now” and not the “End”. We operate in the “now” and we base what we do on the “now”. This morning, however, I want you to consider what will happen if we begin to ignore the now and what we are dealing with to complete what God has told us to do and focus on the end goal.
Most of you know that I bake bread several times a year. I do not do it more often because we do not need to consume that much bread in my home and it takes several hours to complete the process. When I first started baking bread it did not always turn out right, but after 20+ years of doing it I can bake mine without a recipe or directions because it is in my head. When I start the process there are certain things that must be done in a certain order. I must follow the steps as laid out in the directions if I want the end product to be something people can eat. So when I made the decision to bake the bread, I also make the decision to follow the directions in the proper order to ensure that the end is what it should be. I can take all of the same ingredients and not follow the directions and end up with a mess. I would have a mess not because of faulty ingredients, but because I did not follow the directions. Because I know what the end product will be if I follow the directions, I can easily follow those directions. But what about following the directions for something when you do not have a clue about what the end results will be. Would you skip a step because you did not understand its importance? Would you get tired of the process and take a few shortcuts? This is literally what we are faced with when we begin to walk with God. How hard is it to follow God’s directions when you do not know what the end results will be? Our “now” is not the end, just a moment in time when the right decision must be made in order to set up the other “now” experiences we will go through to get to the end.
One more point about our “now” experiences. The beginning and everything leading up to the end is the “now”. The “now” floats through the whole process because it is always in the present. Whatever we are doing we are always in the “now” because we exist in the present. Even though our present is influenced by our past; we do not live in the past. Even though our future will be influenced by this present, we do not actually live in the future. We exist in the present and therefore we are continually having “now” experiences. I have said all of this to make this one simple point: Our “now” is not our end! As we go through this series, we will examine what happens when the “end” is not known, especially when we are walking in the steps God has ordered for us? We will look at what happens when we face severe trials and tribulations for no apparent reason as we walk with God. We will examine what happens when things are so bad for so long and we are trying to figure out what God is doing through the situation. Again, as we go through this series, remember your now is not your end. I mentioned a few minutes ago that God will order our steps. Let me clarify this before we go further. Turn with me to Psalm 37:23.
I. Out Steps Are Ordered
In order for us to understand the fullness of what I have just shared with you about how our “now” experiences will not define the “end” when we do not know what the end will be, I want to place this Scripture in your spirits. If you grasp this Scripture and understand it, then what I have just shared with you and what I will share moving forward with you is going to make a lot of sense. Psalm 37:23 says “The steps of a good man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way and He busies himself with his every step.” (Amp)