LIVE NOW FOR THE FUTURE—P3
“For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out” (Proverbs 24:20).
One gospel delivered to the culture is that we should all “live in the moment” because the present is all that matters. So say some of the great humanist “preachers” of this age:
Henry David Thoreau said, “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this,” while Walt Whitman teaches us to focus on “Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour,” and Eckhart Tolle tells us we must “realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
This is not the wisdom of God that leads to eternal life, for it has little bearing on the reality of life. Consider that it is impossible to “live in the moment” and focus on happiness when you are in a concentration camp or suffering or going through a challenge like so many people in the world currently are.
This “gospel” is attractive to the flesh nature, because with this world view, you don’t have to take responsibility for what you’ve done in that past and you don’t have to be concerned about future consequences for your past and present actions, while ignoring your responsibilities to God and your fellow man in the present. What a self-serving belief!
In contrast, God wants us to live in a way that acknowledges the past (what God has done, what man has done, what we have personally done, and what God has done personally for us), while we work for good in the present (to love and honor our Heavenly Father and show love to our neighbors) with an eye to the future (what God will do yet and where we’ll stand with Him for all eternity).
We are not to ignore the future, for God’s Word laments mankind’s blindness to the consequences of their actions: “Would that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would discern their future!” (Deut. 32:29).
God wants us to understand clearly that our present actions directly affect our future state, storing up consequences and judgement for your eternal future: “because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation” (Rom. 2:5-8). Clearly, there are serious consequences to living only in the moment.
This is why we are told to not “envy sinners, but live in the fear of the Lord always. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way” (Pro. 23:17-19) That “way” ultimately is salvation through Jesus Christ, which in the present practically encourages us “do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (1 Tim. 6:18-19). So, we see that we are NOT to live in the moment and accept the chaos of our own way, denying the past, denying our responsibilities in the present, and denying our future state, which is the “gospel” of many people we meet today—whose future is justified damnation.
As for us, may we all strive to be able to say with Paul “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Even so, Amen.