Live in the present
LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD…is a trick to do it at the same time. Might make you cross-eyed. Don’t we all in some way live our lives this way? What in actual fact does this mean? First of all, it may keep us from living in the present moment. And at the same time it might create confusion. Either way, it seems like an oxymoron. Sounds very tiring also.
So, when you look back, what are you seeing? Joy, encouragement, good times, bad times, regrets, what? Did you really learn anything worthwhile from your past? Did you waste it or prosper from it? For sure, it shaped you. No doubt there, good or bad. Dragged down or propelled?
Are you looking forward with anticipation or doubt? Maybe the past affected that outlook. It would be a sure conclusion that if your past had impacted you positively, you are looking forward with anticipation. Simply, you have been equipped to tackle the future. The reverse would be similar—doubt! I just met with a 24 year old young man struggling to break drug addiction, trying to see his future. He is suffering from a poor self-image, unsure about himself. I saw and heard so much doubt about who he is; can I make it, can I stay clean, am I valuable? And more!
Stick with it
As a believer, you are assured that God can and will use everything in your past to mold and shape you. He is the potter; you are simply the clay. Sovereign is his name. But it is so much more beneficial if your past include things of God. A recent sermon by Paul Scruggs addressed Acts 16. Paul and Silas were in prison for sharing their faith. They were rejoicing, singing, most likely sharing things Jesus had told or modeled for them. But this didn’t just happen spontaneously. These came from what had been instilled into them previously, probably repeatedly.
The message is this. Stick with it! What is ‘it’? ‘It’ is what you have learned over the years; a mindset of reliance and confidence in all of ‘it’.
Practice what you have learned
Anticipate God to do a work more than you can imagine
He will anoint your faithfulness for eternity
Dads, you need to have your children where they can receive Godly instruction, see it modeled out. Starting at home for sure, but reinforced elsewhere—in church, Bible studies, Christian camps, youth ministries, mission trips, wherever. Some or all of this will start taking root in their lives, enabled by the Spirit. I am not suggesting that your kids have to be in church every time the doors open. And it shouldn’t be cramming it down their throat, or beating them over the head with the Bible. But—exposure—yes! They might half sleep through what they would consider as dull sermons; but the word, the worship music, the prayers in the hands of the Holy Spirit will mold and shape your child.
You are the designated spiritual leader, the primary gate keeper for what enters your children’s lives. See to it that they are prepared to practice what they are learning. Guiding, teaching, modeling, exposing—all this should come under your authority. As a word of caution—if they are not filling their heads with this, I can for certain assure you they are filling it with something else, much less fruitful; maybe even detrimental. Begin today to review the effectiveness of the handling of your role. You have God’s authority—exercise it!
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Prov. 22.6 NIV).