Christian, Your Future Has Arrived
Posted by Job on December 22, 2008
Of course, being the father of two small children, we oft do the “Disney family movie” thing. (DreamWorks too. Can’t discriminate against them. Even if their fare is generally edgier than Disney’s. Then again the Disney movies do contain more occult and witchcraft elements … oh never mind.) One of their videos which we saw recently: “Meet The Robinsons.”
“Meet The Robinsons” centers around an orphan boy whose primary conflict is, of course, being an orphan. He was abandoned by his mother, has been keeping track of all the potential adoptive parents that have declined to give him a home, and becomes convinced that he is fast becoming too old to be adopted and is facing the prospect of going through life without a family, alone, and with no future. The conflict is resolved when the orphan travels through time and meets his future family, which includes an adult version of himself, now a father, husband, and very successful entrepreneur. The adult version of himself warns him that the future that he is now seeing is only a possible one, and that to bring it about he had to make the right choices. Make the wrong choices, and it is ruined! So this orphan goes back in time, still without a family and in an orphanage, but comforted and motivated by his knowledge of the bright and happy future ahead of him to face the huge challenge that was his life, including for the first time to cease being concerned only with his own plight long enough to start helping others. And the movie ends to an optimistic modernistic anthem “The Future Has Arrived.”
You might be interested to know that there is a Christian message in this. That little orphan boy may be you, the Christian pilgrim, trying to progress through a difficult life, the narrow path through this evil and wicked world that leads to the strait gate. World events, national politics, church disputes, family tragedies, and personal challenges (i.e. with one’s physical, mental, or emotional health) may be battering you from all sides. You may feel lost, abandoned, rejected, and alone, especially during the times when you refuse to compromise your faith. You may start to identify with Psalm 22, which spoke of Jesus Christ on the cross, and begin to wonder if God has forsaken you. You may wonder if God is being unfair to you, harsh to you, that you should have to endure all of these things. You may even wonder if you are being punished for some real or imagined sin or shortcoming, and begin to think that if you “start living right” or “get back right with God” then you will obtain a less difficult existence. Or you may be someone who is not a middle or upper class person in a western nation, but rather someone who knows real poverty or true persecution, especially in a third world or developing nation with a tiny Christian minority, and as such knows that chances for a significant change for the better in your life are either small or are completely unrelated to such things as how much you tithe or how many days a week you attend church (attending church may well be illegal in your country!) .
To such people whose state of distress is akin to that of the orphan boy in this film, first of all, please know that you are not an orphan. You have a family. First, you are adopted through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). God is your Father. The other members of the Body of Jesus Christ are your brothers and sisters in the spirit. They are your fellow servants, your fellow laborers who are toiling in tribulation just as you are. Also, God Himself, the Holy Spirit, is your constant companion to keep you and reassure you when you need Him the most. So, you are not alone. Your struggles are not in vain. Your cries are never ignored. You have not only other born again Christians, but also God, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, as your family. No matter what your earthly temporal situation, keep your heart and mind trained on the eternal spiritual reality.
Second, like the orphan boy in the movie, you do indeed have a time machine at your disposal that you can use to take a peek at your bright, glorious future. Further, knowledge of your predestined future should fill you with peace, hope, happiness and joy. It should give you the strength to make the right choices in service to the One who chose you when He elected you to salvation and gave you the free gift of the gospel and the saving faith and special grace to believe it. This strength should enable you to also serve others both by sharing the gospel with them and also by meeting the human needs of those in distress, which include not a few orphans.
So what is this time machine? Your Bible. Most specificially, the prophetic and eschatological passages thereof. Consider Revelation, or more accurately
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
This book contains a promise that every born again Christian who reads it is blessed, and part of the blessing is that all born again Christians will know their future: New Jerusalem, a place where life is eternal, every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and our former troubles will be no more. No more hate, no more division, no more fear, no more poverty, no more wars. No more death, no more sin that brings death. We will be in the presence of God always, and we will worship Him always unhindered and unencumbered. And yes, the final judgment and destruction, the final purging of all that offends and displeases God will occur as well. Christians should rejoice that this will happen for we should long for God’s righteousness, and we should also rejoice that we will not be destroyed ourselves. For instance, consider that the primary purpose of the book of Revelation was not to inform us of the future of this world, for it contains events that the overwhelming majority of Christians will never see in their own lives. Instead, its primary purpose was to comfort Christians, no matter our time or circumstance, with the picture of the world to come and of our place in it.
That is our future. Not yet. However, this future has been realized, so though it is not yet, it is now. (“Now and not yet” eschatology.) For Jesus Christ came to give life, and life more abundantly. This life is eternal, which means that it will never end. However, it does not begin at the return of Jesus Christ, the day of the Lord, the last day, judgment day, etc. No, abundant life, eternal life began the day that you were born again by believing on Jesus Christ and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior. So, your ultimate fate is set in stone, predestined. You are God’s. None can steal you out of Jesus Christ’s hand, and none can steal anything out of God the Father’s Hand, and you have been given to Jesus Christ by God. So, the first choice, the one that truly matters, has been made for you by God, for you did not choose Jesus Christ but rather God chose you.
But with that taken care of, you still have to make the right choices. You have to choose to live in light of the future that is yours and the present that is yours. You have to choose not to get bogged down in the skulduggery of mundane temporal things. You have to choose to resist the temptation of questionable doctrines and practices which promise to opiate you, inoculate you from the challenges of everyday living, and mask the truth that Christian living is about sacrifice and struggle just as our Master Jesus Christ sacrificed and struggled. If Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, endured many things, how much more so should we, being so much lesser in status and value than our Eternal Sovereign Creator?
You have to choose to submit yourself to the God that made you, the position that God placed you in, and the plan that God has for your life. It has to be His plan, not yours. It is His Will that has to be on earth as it is in heaven, not yours. Once this submission to the Will of your Sovereign takes place within in yourself, that is when the fruits of the Holy Spirit can begin to take over. Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. Who cannot use these things without measure in our challenging but rewarding Christian life? If your life is not challenging, it is not Christian. But if it is not rewarding, it is not either. It is God’s will that your life be challenging, it is God’s will that your life be rewarding. If your life is lacking in one or the other, then it is not Godly, and the life that is not Godly is not in any sense Christian. It may be religious or “spiritual”, but it is not Christian.
But that is the purpose of the Bible. It teaches us how to navigate the challenging path, and tells us what is waiting for us at the destination. With God’s Word, by God’s Spirit, with God’s grace, and for God’s glory we have all that we need not only to run the Christian race, but to be encouraged and strengthened as we do so. The only question is whether we choose to do it.
So read, study, learn, and meditate upon the Word of God, Christians, and then be doers of the Word and not hearers only. If you do these things, then you will joyfully find the future in Christ Jesus that is already yours today!