If I live with my eyes focused on the past, I’m walking in the direction I came from. If I live with my eyes focused on the present, I’m tripping over my own feet. If I live with my eyes focused on the future, I don’t see what is in front of me and I stumble. Most of the time, I live in the present. My whole generation has made that their motto. But spiritually, it’s no way to live. When I live in the present, I see more of what God is doing, but I’m not involved in it. I would see what is coming, and I would know to be prepared if only I would look up. But I don’t. So I miss opportunities. I’m not obedient. Too often, when God asks me to “set my mind on things above”, I shift my gaze upward…and look at the future. But the future stretches beyond me. Not above me. Granted, I’m no longer staring at the ground. But when I focus on the future, I miss what God wants to do in my life right now. I choose not to hear his gentle voice teaching me along the way. I use my dreams as rough estimates for the path God wants me to take. And friend, that’s no way to live.
When God commands us to “set our mind on things above”, He isn’t asking us to direct our gaze to the past, the present, or the future. He’s asking us to look at Him. That’s the only way we will ever be able to see Him working in the present, yet be prepared for what He wants to do in the future. That’s the only way we can let go of the mistakes of the past, and follow Him in freedom. That’s the only way we remain teachable and the only way we can be completely certain that we are walking in the will of God. I wake up every morning with my eyes cast down to my toes as I plant my feet on the floor. I wake up with my mind ready to live in the present. If I don’t make and take the time to meet with God, and to seek His face, I’ll walk out the door with my eyes still focused on my feet. And when I step back through that door at the end of the day, I’ll wonder where the day went. I’ll wonder if I really made a difference. I’ll wonder if there was more I could have done for the Kingdom. And the difficult truth is I could have done more. But my mind was fixed on me. It was set in the present. It was staring at what was in front of me. I chose not to seek Him first. I never consulted with Him about what He wanted to accomplish that day. And so I did what I wanted, and I missed the chance to be doing what He wanted. It’s the same for each of us who set our mind on the world instead of on Him.
Do you take the time to hear what is on God’s heart? Each day we wake up, we are alive for purpose and that is to glorify Him. There is something He wants to accomplish in you and something He wants to accomplish through you every day. Have you asked Him what that is? Do you want to know? I understand. It’s hard to fix our minds on things above. It takes a lot of faith. It requires that we stop trying to straining our eyes to see something in the darkness of future and completely surrender our future to Him. No matter where He may lead us. We must let go of living in the present and believe that God offers a life that is more abundant than one the world around us promises. We must face our past, and determine that it will no longer define us. Following Jesus takes a lot of faith. Especially when we can’t see where we’re going. But “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. It’s not based on sight. It’s based on Him.
I want to challenge you today to deliberately and intentionally choose to focus on Jesus. The world can be chaotic. It often clamors for our attention. But is reliving the past worth never experiencing true freedom? Is walking in the present worth making decisions we’ll regret? Is staring at the future worth the awful sinking feeling that you missed something important? Is the gazing at the world around you worth never experiencing the fullness of what God has in store for you? Your actions will reveal what you truly believe.
“So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.”
Colossians 3:1-2 (HCSB)