Esau obviously did not think beyond the immediate gratification of his appetite, and it cost him dearly. He lacked a long-term perspective on his troubles. His decision to trade his birthright for a bowl of soup reveals several problems with his thinking, but let’s not be too hard on the man before looking at ourselves first.
We need to think of the future when making decisions. Long-term goals, and plans are vital to our walk with God.
A Tree’s Growth
I recently noticed in Psalm 1, in that great contrast between a child of God and a wicked person, the child of God is compared to a tree. What struck me was that a tree requires not only the water that is presented there in the psalm, but it also requires time to reach maturity. Producing fruit requires time. Fulfilling spiritual goals takes time too.
We often forget that. We want people to change immediately and get frustrated with ourselves because we are not far enough along. While this is not an excuse to continue in sin, we need to be realistic about our growth process of sin-avoidance and in the addition of Christian characteristics. We need to see others with a long-term perspective. This is one of the foundation points of patience. We must understand that growth takes time and that it’s OK that growth takes time.
Personal Responsibility And A Long-Term Perspective
I once heard some terrible advice that some people seem to believe. A preacher said that the fruit of the Spirit was developed by the Holy Spirit; therefore, if we attempt to add this fruit ourselves we would interfere with God’s work. He actually said that it will come automatically and if we “try” then we are attempting to save ourselves by our own works.
I appreciate the idea that we cannot earn salvation, but this misguided thinking has caused some harm. We each have responsibility to grow. We are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). How could we obey that command without working at it? And how could we be held accountable for not growing if the Holy Spirit does it all for us? While no one should discount God’s help in our lives, we must take responsibility for ourselves and our personal growth. And that requires long-term perspective.
When we think with a long-term perspective, life becomes somewhat easier. I don’t mean we suffer less (though it is possibly true). Our decisions become much easier to make, and relationships come into better focus. Activities mean something. Life has more purpose and joy in it.
That’s because we are immortal. Even after we die, there’s more. And we know it. It’s not that we hope for it so it’s true. It’s mandatory. There are just no other options. With every fiber of being we know there MUST be more than what this physical world has to offer. When we acknowledge that and start thinking with a spiritual perspective, our lives are so much richer!
Get Some Perspective
What are you working on today so that in the future you can be further down the road? You’ll change over time; that much is guaranteed. The question is, IN WHAT WAY? And guess what! You have a say in what ways you will change.
Can we help you step in a better direction? Let us know. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re here for you.