Life At Its Best: Fulfilling purpose by focusing on the future
By Jim Graff
My father-in-law was one of the most inspiring men I've known. He taught me many valuable lessons about life and ministry, but one in particular comes to mind often. Whenever I'd reach a point of discouragement, he'd counteract my doubtful attitude by saying, "Jim, if I'd moved my pulpit one inch every time I felt discouraged about what was going on at Lakewood Church, I'd be pastoring in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean." It helped to know that though he too faced moments of disappointment, he persevered by keeping his focus on God's purpose rather than the problems he was facing.
We all face discouraging moments; it's just part of life. But if we're going to succeed in achieving God's purpose for our lives, we must push through those moments by responding to purpose the right way. Instead of focusing on past mistakes or on our present feelings, we must choose to focus on the future. It doesn't matter where we've been; we're never beyond God's ability to use us. If we'll keep our eyes on what's ahead, we'll be amazed at how far He takes us.
Just think of Moses. He had murdered a man and fled from Egypt for fear of punishment. One day, while working as a shepherd in the land of Midian, he noticed a bush caught up in flames and hurried over to get a closer look at it. When he did, he realized that it was on fire, but it wasn't burning! He knew that this wasn't a random phenomenon, but it was God trying to get his attention. So, he asked Him what it was that He wanted to say. And right there - in what seemed like the middle of nowhere - God revealed His purpose to Moses: to deliver his people out of Egypt and to lead them into His Promised Land.
Sounds like a pretty big task, doesn't it? Moses thought so! In fact, he became so overwhelmed by it that he responded to God with a list of his shortcomings: He stuttered, wasn't good at managing people and had messed up too much. I mean, could God really use a murderer? And in the same land he'd fled from? Yes. God could, and He did! Because Moses concentrated on his future rather than his past or present circumstances, he satisfied God's purpose for his life.
Like Moses, God has an exciting future awaiting each of us! But we must respond to it with hearts of faith . even if we're stuck "in the middle of nowhere." Isaiah 43:18-20 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! ...I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen."
You are God's chosen. And He promises to provide everything you need to make the rest of your life the best of your life. So keep your eyes fixed on the future, and continue pushing forward. Your greatest days are ahead.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.