the measurable weight of your future
What are your plans for your future? What is God’s will for it? Which of those two questions does it seem we all ask (and sometimes obsess over) far more often? I really don’t think I have to answer that … but it’s question number 1. Whether it’s a whimsical wondering or a panicked projection, our future is something we take ownership of. Far too often it becomes a burden that has a very measurable weight. The career choice you’re making now that seems to be the tipping point of whether you’ll be able to retire at some point, or whether you’ll be greeting people at Wal-Mart when you’re 85. What college your child (or children) will want to go to, and how much money you’ll need to be sure they don’t hate you because you have to tell them you can’t afford it. The decisions in our now that we project into far larger decisions that directly affect our future. We sling the weight of those choices and future consequences over our shoulder and attempt to bear them on our own. Listen to the words of Jesus as you’re picking up that weight…
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
These words are from Matthew 11 (verses 28-30). They are a central truth in this “Weightlifters” series. God did not design us to carry burden alone. Jesus is very clearly saying, give Me the full weight of what you are carrying. Trade your yoke for mine. Give Me everything, and I will trade you the simple commands of follow and trust. And what will you find at the end of this exchange if you commit it truly and fully? Rest. Aaaaah, man … wouldn’t that be sweet?! Isn’t that what you desperately need right now?! Some peace and quiet … and rest — for your soul!
this or that city?
What is it about the future that we think it is so guaranteed. We sacrifice (sometimes a lot) in anticipation or expectation of a far off tomorrow. The Bible certainly talks about the wisdom of diligence, sacrifice and being prepared. But are we projecting those things past the proper context of their wisdom? What assurance are we given in the Bible of even our very next breath? I can give you some scripture that speaks to that, but not in the affirmative.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
Think about the plans you have for your own future. Then think about them in the context of this truth from scripture. God owns the future, and He owns yours. In these verses, He is not saying that planning or dreaming is wrong or sinful. Through James He is making it clear that we shouldn’t carry our burdens about the future, because we do not own it. “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that,” James says. Don’t fret, full-out worry or bear the burden for something that clearly belongs to God. Dream. Plan. But realize that they will only happen if it is God’s will that they do.
three “easy” steps…
… to knowing God’s will for your life. Your future is determined by God’s will. Your next breath happens because He still has more for you to do. When you give up your notion of ownership of your future, you begin to get excited about finding out what God’s will is for your life. But how do you do that? We propose three “easy” steps:
Step 1. Read the Bible (Romans 12:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 7)
Step 2. Follow your convictions (Acts 20:22-25)
Step 3. It’s never as simple as “3 easy steps”
Okay, so … pretty much every time you’re told something can be accomplished in “three easy steps”, you should be skeptical. Reading your Bible and living according to the leading of the Spirit is not an “easy” thing, but it is something you can absolutely do.
God’s will and plan for your life is infinitely better than anything you could plan or dream for yourself. Let Him carry the measurable weight of your future. Give Him all your “now” burdens and decisions (which doors are open and which are shut) and exchange them for the simple “now” commands of follow and trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.