The Future

Paul’s said “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…(Philippians 3:13) God is telling us to forget the past and  go for the goal of the future. Look to what is ahead and go for it. Go for the goal that is ahead.

Question? How will 11 be better than 12?  The key is this; you’ve got to have a goal, a plan.  You don’t just enter 2012 and say, “I hope it’s going to be better.”  You’ve got to have a goal and a plan to make it better. 

Proverbs 17:24 “An intelligent person aims at wise actions, but a fool starts off in many directions.”  For you that may describe 2011.  You were headed off in many directions.  Notice the word, “aims”.  That means you have a goal, an objective, an aim, a target.  Have you set any goals for 2012?  Or are you just going to walk into this year and hope its better?  You’ve got to have a plan. 

God desires, more than anything else for this to be a year of Growth for you. The Bible states His desire this way “… that you may become mature Christians and may fulfill God’s will for you.” Col. 4:12b This verse tells up two extremely important things. 1. God wants us to become mature Christians. 2. The only way to fulfill God’s will for our life is by becoming mature, by growing.  “We are not meant to remain as children…but to grow up in every way into Christ.”Eph.4:14-15 Notice– “every way.”

Our 6th grandchild is coming in March, Natalie Danielle.  Once she is born we expect her to grow and mature, and if she doesn’t we conclude that there is a problem of some sort that needs to be addressed. If she misses an ounce on the growth scale there’s a call to the pediatrician to find out what the problem is, right? In the same way, God expects us to grow and mature after deciding to become a follower of His.

Here’s the big secret–it won’t happen without a plan. Growth does not happen by chance.

Alan Lakein “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” I would suggest and encourage you to use the growth plan of Jesus as a template. There is no better growth plan than the one Jesus modeled.

“Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 To follow the growth plan of Jesus is to formulate a growth plan that encompasses the development of the mind, body, personal relationships and relationship with God.

As you shape a growth plan for 2012 this is the best piece of advice I have for you. ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE.  This is not a popular concept because in our culture we have been conditioned to believe that someone else is responsible for who you are and what you do. We are force fed this, “None of your problems are your fault.  Everything bad in your life is somebody else’s fault.  Blame the environment.  Blame the educator.  Blame your parents.  Blame anybody else, but it’s not your fault.”  It’s always somebody else’s fault.  But you’re never going to be a success in life and you’re never going to reach your goals if you have that attitude.  You must assume responsibility for your own life. Galatians 6:5 “Each person must be responsible for himself.”

 There are three kinds of people in life. 

  There are accusers.  They always blame everybody else for their problems.  Their favorite phrase is, “It’s all your fault.”  It’s never my fault.  It’s all your fault.

  There are excusers.  Excusers always have a rationale for where they are.  There’s always a reason.  I’ve discovered that whenever I want to procrastinate on something, any excuse will do.  The Bible says, “A lazy man is full of excuses.”

        Accusers and excusers – people who blame others and people who excuse themselves – are LOSERS.  So you need to be a chooser.

  Choosers say, “I choose to assume responsibility for my own growth, development and maturity.  I’m not dependent upon somebody else.  I choose the direction of my life. I am responsible to accomplish what God wants me to achieve in this new year.”  I’m choosing to accept responsibility for my life. 

“I press toward the goal,” but first you have to have goals. It begins with personal goals.

Paul instructs us to forget the past and press on toward the goal. But there is one other thing he said that we don’t need to miss, “Straining toward what is ahead.” This is an athletic term. It depicts a runner going hard for the finish line giving everything he has and then some to reach the goal. Holding nothing back.

And the message is clear, especially at the beginning of a new year. Forget what is behind, the good, the bad and the ugly. Identify the goal in front and give everything you have to reach the goal. There is nothing more important in life.

Two keys to victory:

 Heb 12:1-3 “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Does anything else need to be said about that?

Eph 6:10 “Your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you.”   Resolutions or targets or plans or goals won’t last two weeks if you don’t have this verse under your belt – “the Lord’s mighty power within you” gives you the power to set goals and make plans and then to keep them. That is the key to making the most of 2012 and the rest of your life.  “The Lord’s mighty power within you.”



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