1. GLANCE BACK BUT GAZE FORWARD
Have you ever thought about why the windshield on your car is so much larger than the rearview mirror? I suppose it would be difficult to move forward if your vision was dominated by what is behind you. When driving, it is important to remember that we should glance back but gaze forward.
Imagine if you saw someone driving and they were staring into their rearview mirror the whole time. Unless they were driving in reverse, some bad things could happen. First, they could be so focused on what is behind them that they would gradually slow down and eventually stop. Second, while continuing to move forward, they most likely would not stay in their lane, and might even swerve off the road completely. Last, they may stay on course but never enjoy the view of what is ahead until it has already passed. Glance back but gaze forward.
Over the last decade, I have worked in four organizations that were each over 100 years old. I have observed that tradition and heritage are powerful and positive contributors that supply great wisdom. However, the past must be viewed with the proper perspective, or it can paralyze an organization and keep it from moving forward.
Are you glancing back and gazing forward?
2. REALIZE HOW MUCH IS AHEAD
When you are young, it is easy to dream about all the things the future has for you. As we get older and have more life experiences, there are more things to think back on from our past. However, there is always much more ahead than behind for all of us. God is an infinite Being and has created us to be eternal. I like to think of infinite and eternal individually. An infinite Being has no beginning and no end, while an eternal being has a beginning but no end.
The gift of God is eternal life. Anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ has received the free gift of eternal life and has tapped into the life that our Infinite God shares with us. God is life and we have life because He shares it with us. What is ahead of us is an unlimited and unending experience of living with and in God. There is more ahead than behind. Even for the unbeliever there is an eternity ahead; however, it is not connected to the living God.
As Christians we have a lot to look forward to. God has saved us from the penalty of sin (i.e. death), through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. He is now saving us from the power of sin in our lives as we conform to the character of Christ. However, all of that culminates when He will save us from the very presence of sin and we live with Him in an eternal glorified state, where there will be no more sickness and no more pain.
Do you realize how much is ahead?
3. HONOR YOUR PAST BY NOT LIVING IN IT
Sometimes Facebook gives me the option to “share a memory” and it often causes me to reminisce and feel nostalgic. These feelings also hit me when I hear an old song I listened to during a different season of life. More often than not, I will choose not to share the Facebook memory, but it usually stays with me for a while after I see it. I think Facebook does this because they understand how much we like to remember things from our past.
The past is powerful. For many of us there is a fear of moving forward in faith. When an organization or an individual begins to look and move forward, it may feel as though the past is not being honored. However, it is the past that has brought you to where you are and has prepared you to take the next step. The past prepares you for progress.
Our past was not designed to get us where we are. Our past was designed by God to get us where we are going. Moving forward in faith is uncomfortable because it requires change. But God is more concerned with our character development than our comfort level. He has plans for each of us and His plans involve change. It has been said, the only constant thing in this world is change. What got you here will not keep you here. God is the Unchanging Changer of all things. He is the Unmoved Mover of all things. He loves you enough to not leave you alone.
Are you honoring the past by not living in it?
4. ASK GOD FOR GREATER VISION
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
James, the half-brother of Jesus, delivers a powerful promise from God in this verse. Anyone who asks for wisdom will be given it but we would do well to understand the word wisdom in this context. Dr. Tom Constable writes: “James used the word ‘wisdom’ (Gr. sophia) in the sense in which the Old Testament wisdom literature used it. There it refers to what God has revealed about His will for human life. Wisdom is seeing life realistically from God’s perspective.”
There is no better vantage point to see what is happening in our lives than from God’s perspective. He is the ultimate gauge for both physical and spiritual things. God can see the future in the same way that we see the past and He has infinite knowledge of both actual and potential things to come. How awesome is it that this omniscient (all-knowing) Being has a plan for you and for me.
Have you asked God for greater vision?
To sum it all up…
- Glance back but gaze forward.
- Realize how much is ahead.
- Honor your past by not living in it.
- Ask God for greater vision.