Over the past few days I have written about thanking God for His past and present blessings, now I would like to turn our attention to the future. As believers our primary orientation and focus should always be on the future. If we are always thinking about the past, we will fall into the trap of nostalgia and if we only think about the present we will fall into the trap of being too short-sighted, therefore, we need to add a future perspective to our lives. We need to constantly live by faith in what God has for us in the future. If you need evidence of that, just open your Bible and read Hebrews 11. The people who are listed in that great Hall of Fame of faith maintained a perspective that was always looking to the future and this is how we should live our lives as well.
In Romans 8:28-29 the Apostle Paul says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brothers.” These verses tell us that God has a future planned for every believer. Specifically, He has predestined or predetermined that every believer will be conformed to, or pressed into, the image of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John captured this same idea when he wrote, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” In theological terms, we refer to this as being glorified. In simple terms it means that God is going to make us to become like Jesus. He is going to transform us spiritually, morally, and physically into the likeness of Christ.
Honestly, I am not sure that anyone can completely understand what all of this means but we can all agree that our future is something that should cause us to give thanks. As I’ve gotten older and have grown in my walk with the Lord, it has become painfully apparent to me how weak and frail I actually am. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, and morally I am daily plagued by the effects of the curse. Over the years, I’ve discovered that one of the best tools for overcoming this anchor to my soul is to maintain a future orientation in my spiritual life. The best way to accomplish this is by developing a practice of daily thanking God for His future blessings. By doing this we can place ourselves within the tractor beam of God’s future grace. Let me explain what I mean.
If you’ve ever watched Star Trek or any other science fiction television show you will know what a tractor beam is, but for those who are not total geeks let me explain. A tractor beam is like a giant magnet that the Klingon or any other advanced alien life form could use to draw the Starship Enterprise towards them. A tractor beam exertS a force that draws you towards another ship. God’s future grace (I stole this term from John Piper) serves a tractor beam to our soul by drawing us away from this world and towards the future. The more time we spend thanking God for His future blessings the more we place ourselves within the field of God’s tractor beam, which results in becoming more detached from this world and its current struggles. I am not meaning here that we need to become monastic, but rather that we need to be more influenced by the future than by the present.
I find this to be refreshing because like you I often get mired down by the weight of my current situation. The more I think about and praise God for what He has in store for my future, the less concerned I become about my current situation and the more I long for the final stage of my salvation. For the next week, I challenge you to simply start everyday by thanking God for His past, present, and FUTURE blessings and see how your perspective changes. I guarantee you that your perspective on life will change.