How Does the Future Change Our Plans?

The ability to forecast the future is beyond all human capacity. Nobody knows with exact certainty what will happen tomorrow, and even less in the days that follow. We can make predictions based on assumptions, but the variability of life ultimately changes the exact outcome. Certainly, all of us are able to share our own experiences to offer evidence to confirm this fact.

I am personally reminded of the unpredictability of life during my morning routine throughout the week. Every day I wake up to an alarm that’s set for the same time, and that’s when things begin to vary. Between the time that the alarm goes off and my arrival at work, the same general preparations take place, but the way in which the morning events develop are widely different. My children wake up at different times, with different moods, each one of the six members of our family affecting one another. The ingredients on hand for breakfasts and packed lunches are a bit different every day, requiring a variable amount of creativity in the morning. And with babies under the age of two, my wife and I need to be ready to respond to the capricious whimsy of busy toddlers as well. Each morning has two simple goals; prepare the family for work and school, and leave the house on time. Yet, I am amazed at how every single day takes on a level of unpredictability that cannot be controlled. Any attempt at predicting the detail of the morning is futile.

Even though the details of our lives cannot be predicted, there are some events that we can faithfully and confidently expect. The prophecies of the Bible provide us with God’s plan, outlining the changes that must take place in our world. Knowing that God cannot lie, and that He reveals His plans through His prophets, the words of the Bible therefore provide us with a map of the future that cannot be altered. As we read in Amos 3:7, “Surely the LORD God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.” With knowledge of a certain future that we can trust and rely on even more than our daily routines, it begs a question. What are we doing in our lives to be part of God’s plan? If we have the courage, we may also ask the more poignant question; what do we need to be doing differently?

One individual in the Bible asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, believing that he had done well in working to be obedient to the law. In Matthew 19:20-22, the deeper question is asked of Jesus, “The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” In this example, the rich young ruler knew enough about the certainty of God’s plan to understand the need for obedience. However, he learned in this instance that his dedication must be undivided as well. This is exactly what we need to do today.

There is no doubt that God’s plan will come to fruition. Those who have dedicated their lives to God, living in obedience through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, will become members of God’s Family. It’s a wonderful promise to understand! If we know that the time when Jesus Christ will return to this earth to establish God’s Kingdom is rapidly approaching, are we changing our lives accordingly? What are the reasons for our change? Do we merely change the way that we live because time is short? Or do we change the way that we live because we love God? There is a subtle difference in the way these questions are asked and answered. The way that we approach our role in being worthy of God’s promise makes a difference. Whether time is short or not, our approach should be identical.

Our desire to obtain the promise of eternal life must be exclusively driven by the love for God’s Truth, and not by any deadline or selfish gain. The rich young ruler was instructed to dedicate his entire life to following Christ, which troubled him deeply. With any part of life left undedicated to righteous conversion, we will be deficient in our efforts to please God. Nothing must matter more to us than living according to God’s instructions. If we are able to do this, we will find ourselves so busy with God’s Work that the change in our plans in life will be minimal as the time of Christ’s return approaches. The proximity of Christ’s return makes no difference in the righteousness required of us, even though the realization that the time is short can and should motivate us to live more righteously (cp. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

While we cannot predict the future in the details of our lives, we can absolutely trust in the plan of God to be fulfilled. With the knowledge of these certain events which will take place, our dedication to godly righteousness must be unwavering. However, our motives make a difference in our ability to succeed. When we are driven to change our lives because we love God’s Way of Life more than anything else, our hearts are right where they need to be. As Jesus admonishes, “‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’” (Matthew 6:19-21).

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