Why is it that we only feel our future to be uncertain in difficult times? I want us to really think about this. It’s not until it feels like things are falling apart that we develop an uneasiness about our future. We build a hundred scenarios of impending doom in our mind and then we scramble to do whatever we can to rewrite these uncertain futures. It creates in us an overwhelming sense of panic, fear, worry and stress.
But...why do we not feel this way every day? I mean, even when things are going great, our future is most certainly just as uncertain as when things are difficult. Nothing has changed concerning our ability to navigate unknown future events. When left to our own devices, at best we are spinning horribly out of control even on our greatest days. In fact, the only thing that changes between times of "certainty" and "uncertainty" is internal...our thoughts and emotions. Both of these are terrible barometers when it comes to measuring our future security. Our thoughts are fleeting, incredibly inconsistent, and more often than not tend to focus on unknown scenarios that we have self-developed. Our emotions are even worse! Emotion constantly lies to us, tricks us, and persuades us that how we are feeling at any given moment somehow dictates what our future will be like. When it comes to navigating difficult times in life, we are most certainly our own worst enemies.
I want you to pause here more a moment and think about all this...seriously contemplate it. If the reality of the situation is that all of our future is uncertain, that our emotions trick us into perceiving life incorrectly, and that no matter how hard we think about it, we cannot change the future...then how are we expected to make it though life, let alone the difficulties of life, without falling into a pit of despair? Sadly, many live in this very realm of panic, fear, worry, and stress on a daily basis.
I offer you one solution. Only one proven method for actually taking all of this chaos and uncertainty, repackaging and reorganizing it, and turning it into a certain, confident joy. This solution was given a name. A name which is above every name. Jesus. The One who chose to come to where we are, so that we may have life...an abundant life...full of joy, peace and comfort. The One who taught us, and made a Way for us, that there is a simple solution when it comes to having peace of mind and navigating life's difficulties. Grand and mysterious in it's complex design and execution, yet made so very simple that anyone can understand and apply it. The solution is this...
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." (Matthew 6)
That's it. That's all there is to it. How do we apply it? It's two-fold. The first part is the most critical. In order to seek God's righteousness, we have to be made righteous. This is something that we cannot do on our own. Nothing we can ever do will ever earn us favor, merit or respect in God's eyes. The separation between us is too great. He is all, in every way, holy. We are all, in every way, unholy (in fact, God tells us "...there is none righteous, no not one..." and that our righteousness within ourselves is "...as filthy rags...") BUT...Jesus! We are so loved by God that a plan was put into action. Jesus came down from heaven, lived as a perfect man, and then gave Himself as the payment for our sin. He paid the debt that was owed as a perfect sacrifice, in turn making the Way for us to be restored unto God. All we have to do to complete part one is acknowledge that we will never earn our way to heaven and accept what Jesus Christ has done for us...and in turn, God will place the righteousness of Jesus upon us!
It's from this spot that we can then move on to part two. Seeking God first. Placing our thoughts, goals, desires, and actions in alignment with God's kingdom first, before ourselves, before anyone or anything else. Jesus teaches us that some amazing things happen when we get this priority straight. First, God Himself becomes our provision for life's needs...our job doesn't provide for us, our finances don't provide for us, our clients don't provide for us, the government doesn't provide for us...God IS our provision. God, Creator of the universe, Almighty, All-powerful, Omnipresent, makes us a promise to provide our very needs when we seek Him first (the only One capable and able to guarantee that His every promise will be seen through...no matter how fantastic they may seem to us). Secondly, Jesus says that from this understanding that we then have no need to worry about tomorrow! We can't control our future, but we can seek a God that can!
Is this not the goal? Is this not the definition of success in life? To live in such a way that we're in such peace, joy and contentment that we have absolutely no worries about our future, we enjoy each day as it's happening (no matter the circumstances), and to know that all of our needs are going to be met?
THIS is the successful life...and this IS how we achieve it!