10 Jan 2013
- Mike Abel
When I was in my early twenties, building castles in the air was a daily pastime. The first lesson I learnt was this: Castles in the air (and hopes and visions) are good. However, life happens and things begin to happen, only when you put foundations under those castles in the air. The second lesson I learnt was this; Life doesn't happen like you want it to – if you postpone things, or procrastinate. The third lesson I learnt was – don't forget that while you're busy dreaming and hoping – life is carrying on. If you don't get up and get going – life will pass you by.
Jesus our Lord lived with clear expectations of what he had to achieve in the different stages of his life (Heb 12:2). He prepared for his entry into Jerusalem (Matt 21:2), as carefully as he prepared for the Last Supper (Luke 22:8). It is a clear vision of your purpose that directs the preparations you make, and actions you take.
Not everyone has this future outlook to life. In recent times human culture has been influenced more by the idea of living for today, than by the ideal of living for tomorrow. A future perspective is part of our faith (1 Peter 5:7). This future outlook is anchored in some 8000 promises in the Bible – covering every possible aspect of life; and stimulated by over 1800 predictions of future events. Paul the Apostle describes believers who do not have a future perspective, as worse than unbelievers (1 Tim 5:8).
TIME OF YOUR LIFE
My first lesson was about building castles in the air. Everything starts with an idea, a hope, a dream or a vision. In short, you form internal pictures or images of objects that you desire but don't physically possess or experience. This is imagination at work. In addition, you have a wholehearted belief and desire that the intangible things you hope for and dream about will happen in your life. This is faith. I refer to these two truths as the coin of Prayer; for the simple reason that nothing that is promised; prophesied, hoped or believed for comes out of heaven, without prayer. Jesus our Lord, the Apostles and Elijah taught us this (John 16:24; Phil 4:6-7; Acts 10:9-23; James 5:16; 1 Kings 18:42-45). So prayer is one of three coins that can bring you into the time of your life.
The second lesson was: Life doesn't happen like you want it to, if you postpone things, or procrastinate. The way things happen has to do with our choices, and God's will. Often we go through tough times because of our own choices. Often we enjoy the time of our lives because of Holy Spirit inspired choices. From the time we're born to the time we die, we live by our choices and God's will for our lives. As regards postponing and procrastinating – these speak of Timing. There's a time and season for everything (Eccl 3:1), including the real-life appearance of things you desire (James 1:17), and the entry and exit of challenges and temptations (Matt 4:1-11). Success or failure often depends on how you align your choices to God's timing for your life. It's not enough to know where you're going or how you're going to get there. It's crucial also to know when to stand still, and the time to act (John 2:4; 17:1). I call this second coin: Timing
The third lesson: don't forget that while you're busy dreaming and hoping – life is carrying on. If you don't get up and get going – life will pass you by. The passing by of life is about the cycles and events God sets in motion – in nature, the galaxies and in people: ageing, gravity and destiny etc. In this setting, we dream and hope mainly about our own lives. So the third lesson made me think: why would most people want all they can get out of life and heaven, with no thought of others? I thought -how much of my life is about what I can give to God, and to people in this world? On considering these questions, you will be moved – as I was – to get up and get going to make a contribution, to make a difference in the lives of others. I call this coin: Sacrifice. The beauty of sacrifice is that you do what you must, with little or no thought of fame or reward. You're just doing what you know is the right thing; and deep within, you finally learn that this is what you were born to do.
I don't claim that Prayer, Timing and Sacrifice are the only three coins in life. I've used them repeatedly for life's journey. They are coins you can use to have the time of your life.
Mike Abel is the Founding Pastor of Oasis of the Lord. You can follow him on his blog; Twitter; and http://www.cross.tv/profile/282017?go=about&;aid=19376