PRINCIPLE 49 | FACE THE FUTURE WITH FAITH [Part 3]
Life can be unpredictable, difficult, and anxiety-producing. During times like this, and really at all times, we need to ask ourselves: “Where do I focus, and in whom do I place my faith?” It has been said, “We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future.” This is more than a cliché; it is truth. In the next three blogs, I want to share a few life principles and key scriptures that remind me how to face the future with faith. I pray you are able to internalize the message in these three blogs and allow them to be an encouragement to you. Previously we’ve looked at Life Principles #1 & #2. Today, let’s look at Life Principle #3.
Life Principle #3: MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS.
In James 4:16-17, we read: “As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
One of the key questions in life is: Am I making a difference for God and for good? Remember the theme of James — “Faith without works is dead. Faith without deeds is useless. Faith without action is ineffective.” He drives this message home over and over. But consider that the opposite is obviously also true, and the main point of this incredible wisdom book is also — “Faith with works is alive. Faith with deeds is powerful. Faith with action is effective.” We must live for God. We must live to do good. We must aim our life to make a difference for God and for good. The Bible says you are blessed…be a blessing. (Genesis 12)
James reminds us that we need to accelerate our WALK over our TALK. In verse 17, James is essentially saying that now that you know, it obligates you to do. Now that you know what is right, you are responsible to serve God and love others and make a difference for the glory of God. Be impactful. Make a difference. Be a change-agent.
In verse 16, James reminds us that the opposite of subjecting our plans to God’s Will is to boast or brag. To make plans without considering God’s Will is akin to claiming to be in full command of the future. God hates hubris, arrogance, and pride; and it will be judged. But blessed is the person who is humble before God. A key application of living a humble life before God is to live our lives to honor God and bless other people. So we purpose today and everyday to live to maximize our impact. We live to honor God and bless others.
Think of the key areas of your life, including faith, family, finances, friendships, fitness, and the future. Think about your work, education, relationships, money, time, and more. Now take a moment and create a key “action word” for the various seasons of life — especially where you are right now. An action word that will challenge you to maximize your impact in serving God and others in this season and in future seasons.
Here’s an example using the various decades of our lives. You might want to do this differently but this illustrates my point:
- 10-20 — FIND. During these years we are finding out about ourselves, what we are good at, what we are interested in, where we want to go to college or work or other.
- 20-30 — FOCUS. For many, this is a time of focusing one’s time and energies, and money on getting a degree, learning a skill, starting a family, saving to purchase a home, etc.
- 30-40 — FORGE. This may be a funny word to use but this decade for many is about building a career, raising children, building a marriage, building a life, moving faith forward, advancing and growing and strengthening life in many areas.
- 40-50 — FLOURISH. By now we have learned some things, made some wise choices, established disciplines, and built some good habits. As a result, we are in a place to pour into others and bless others like never before. We have in some ways flourished and we choose to share and give back to others maybe more than we thought of doing before.
- 50-60 — FULFILL. This season can be an amazing season of loving God and loving others. Here many can order their lives and faith and be more fulfilled in serving than ever before. For many, this season of life is about finding fulfillment in and living to fulfill God’s Will.
- 60-70 — FINISH. Not as in this is the end. No, more like this is the 4th quarter of a game and we want to keep working and loving and serving strongly. When you watch a football game and the teams enter the 4th quarter, they often all hold up a hand with 4 fingers raised signaling that it is time to finish strong. “Let’s not give up or slow down” they’re saying. Let’s leave it all on the field. That’s the idea here. Finish strong, stay fired up, press on, power up, no coasting.
- 70+— FORTIFY. Some feel that as they move along in life they have less to contribute. Obviously, if one loses their health things are very different. But assuming one has decent health, this is a season to invest and bring strength to others by praying, supporting, loving, offering wisdom, encouragement, and support.
These are my words. The important thing really is, what is your word (or words)? How are you focusing on God’s Will for your life in this season when it comes to maximizing opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others? I would encourage you to assess how you can be an even greater blessing for God and for good during this season of your life. Paul reminds us to be thoughtful, godly, and purposeful in I Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Join me in praying today, “God, help me be a blessing. Help me make a difference by how I live, talk, relate, serve, and honor Christ. Help me focus on the things that have an eternal impact. May I bless my family, encourage others, honor you with my time and money, and live to fulfill your purposes and priorities. Amen.”