I have this sign on my war room wall that reads “Don’t look back; you’re not going that way.” I love that reminder especially since we just transcended into a new year on the calendar.
I am entering my 70th year of life. This is going to be my best year yet. How do I know? Because I am not looking back. Today is after all the first day of the rest of my life. Cliche, yes, but so true.
A new year is a new opportunity to align myself with my priorities once again. It is an opportunity to correct the path if needed, and reset goals for the days ahead. The only reason to look back is to rejoice in what promises were fulfilled in the last year, and then turn around and go forward. Onward. It is a form of repentance. Change your view to the future.
The Bible says it best. “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) and “A man cannot serve two masters. ” (Luke 26:13) Each day is a new beginning in making a choice for where I will put my attention and who I serve.
It is easy to rest on past accomplishments. How hard it must be for people who have won Pulitzer prizes or academy awards to continue to find a higher level. Do you just keep doing the same thing? Is there a higher honor? Imagine how bored past Presidents are! President of the United States is pretty up there as an accomplishment.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23
Pretty tough words! Lawlessness is also interpreted as works of evil, iniquity, you who act wickedly disobeying my commands. This is a hard saying. And more so because it is directed at Christians who believe they are doing the good works of God.
So how do we blow it. Jesus says, “I never knew you.” The word interpreted “knew” here is the same one used in “Adam knew Eve and conceived.” No, it doesn’t mean physical intercourse, but it does mean intimacy. Without going into Hebrew and Greek word study, the knowing has to do with covenant knowledge. I know who you are, I believe I want to enter into covenant relationship with you, a mutual eternal agreement of a relationship that surpasses time and space. When I know you, I am confident in the covenant growing as knowledge increases. In fact, I want to know you more because of what I discover, not get rid of you because I find out I don’t like what I see. And I definitely don’t try to win you over with my good works and impressive accomplishments.
Relationship that prospers us is based on a commitment and a desire for intimate knowing one to another. You want to be invested in someone who is fully invested in you. Marriage works best that way. And more so does our relationship with God.
Looking forward, I need to focus on that relationship and none other. If I have any fear it is that He would say, “I never knew you” because I was too focused on my accomplishments, my gifts, my miracles, seeing signs and wonders.
The beautiful thing about knowing God, through Jesus, is that I get to know myself as He sees me, because He shows me who I am through His eyes. Jesus prayed, “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ” John 17:21-24
Jesus is praying for us exactly that. “that they also may be in us.” Us! The Holy Trinity! We have full access to the fullness of God in the Trinity. I am convinced I have barely touched the surface of that oneness so I will go after the prize and believe that next year at this time I am closer to experiencing that oneness as much as possible this side of heaven.
In this intimacy, my gifts will flow; miracles and healings will happen; but not because of anything I earned or accomplished. Rather in my intimacy with and through the trinity, the presence dwells more fully in me. Where I go Jesus goes. And it is that part of me that carries Jesus that reaches out and touches the one who needs healing, or a miracle, nor a word of encouragement. And Jesus manifests Himself to the world.
My identity offers me intimacy and intimacy offers me a more complete identity. I come full circle into a place reserved for those who choose this day to follow Jesus. And that circle is constantly forward moving. I am not looking back. The future has me captured!