The unknown stretches out before us. This very day will all too soon see the setting of the sun. There is much that cannot yet be determined and even the remaining fleeting hours of this day are unsure. Amidst the shrouded uncertainty of the future there do, however, remain some “unchangeables.”
One being—“there’s no going back!” Recently I watched a favorite movie of mine; The Time Machine, starring Rod Taylor. I believe the movie was made in the 60’s from a book by H.G. Wells chronicling the adventures of a man who had created a machine by which he could either travel back in time or forward into the future. In the process of this ongoing experiment he realized how his actions could have a domino or ripple effect on others, on events, and ultimately on the world. A lighter treatment of this same point was viewed by millions over the holiday season as they watched Jimmy Stewart consider the “what if” scenario presented in the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.
We can’t see where we are going or what lies ahead, hence we put our trust and faith in the One who can.
We can, however, see exactly where we’ve been and what we have (or have not) done. My question for each of us is what would we go back and change if we could and in view of that, what will we commit to do or achieve in this new year of opportunity? I don’t pose this question to in any way accentuate guilt or regret, but rather to enlighten us to the privilege we have before us to accomplish great things for our Lord and Savior, for the enrichment of the Kingdom and the benefit of our own souls.
At this point in my life I am continually struck with how swiftly my life has tallied up the years. According to average life-span statistics I’m in the final quarter or so of my life. In the natural that can sound kind of depressing, but in God’s economy it represents the pinnacle of pre-eminent possibilities! I have walked with the Lord longer; I know Him and His word better than any time in my life. I have a lifetime of the precious provisions of His grace and He has demonstrated His faithfulness throughout history and throughout our journey together.
Our culture would have us believe that our lives are like a de-crescendo in a piece of music, denoted by two lines spread apart, gradually coming together to tell the musician to go from loud to soft to softer to softest. In fact, God, the great conductor of the universe, the Chief Musician, intends our lives to be a swelling crescendo, beginning in the soft intimacy of born again union with our Creator, to a loud grand finale as our spirit breaks the bounds of earth and ascends to the heavenlies where forever we will play our part in the “eternal symphony” of God’s design. In that crescendo aspect of our lives, we have each and every year the privilege and opportunity to do more, to do better, to please the heart of God and accomplish more for His Kingdom.
Have we fallen short, have we missed opportunities and do we have regrets both large and small? Absolutely; but if He is our Father and we are His children, let us hear Him say, “There is therefore now NO (emphasis mine) condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1)! The “therefore” in that verse refers back to the struggle that Paul articulates in the previous verses regarding his own failures, shortcomings and regrets. His own inability to reconcile the war raging within himself causes him to define his lot as that of a wretch! But “Amazing Grace” saved Paul and if it has saved you and me, we can also say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:25).
Paul goes on to say, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:12-13). We know elsewhere in scripture that, “…though the outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Let me put it another way using the musical analogy. Our bodies are de-crescendoing but our spirits are crescendoing!
Let’s take the testimony of Paul, the words of scripture and the gift of our own will and determine to go forward into 2015 with renewed vigor and commitment; “…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, let us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
In Christ, let us move onward and upward because there’s “No Going Back”!
P.S. I feel I must take a moment to say a special thanks to those who remembered us at year’s end and honored God by sending an offering to help and sustain this ministry. It was greatly appreciated. Please remember, the need continues every month and without your support we would cease.
Most importantly, remember us always before the Lord in prayer, that we may accomplish His purposes and finish well. Thank you and God bless you.