Taking a Long-term View of Life

“The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray” (Proverbs 5:22-23).

The Bible presents life as it is, not as we might necessarily want it to be. God speaks faithfully to our hearts, promising us special blessings for faithfulness, but warning us against disobedience. If we choose not to heed God’s warning, we can expect a whirlwind of negative consequences. But we should heed God’s warnings, and consider what may become of our life if we fail to believe what God says about how we should live.

Perhaps we need to work backward, and imagine the outcome of both ways. What will happen if I obey God? The Bible says the wise person built his house on a rock, but the foolish person on the sand. The wise person took a long term view of life: What will happen at the end of my life when I stand before God? The wise person asks such questions, because they stimulate us to think and ponder our behavior and lifestyle.

Today popular pundits and the so-called trendsetters want us to take a short-term view of life. They cannot see beyond the immediate and crave whatever is on center stage. They follow popular fads including situation ethics, and never pause long enough to consider the outcome of their actions. One of Satan’s great tactics is to distract us from thinking too much about spiritual things. He would rather get us caught up by the immediate, so he cleverly distracts out attention from important matters. Instead he tempts us only to see the immediate.

How do we take a healthy long-term view of life?

1. As we indicate above, imagine standing before God at the end of your life and hearing from God, “What did you do with the life I gave you?” We need to answer that question, and then align our present life with the proper answer. We need to live for God now.

2. Ponder the consequences of falling into sin.
Before we sin, we see only the upside. But the downside creates more pain than the upside creates happiness. What would become of my life, reputation, and respect if I fall into grievous sin? We owe it to ourselves to ask these questions and to ponder them often.

3. Compare often the two outcomes.
In the opening chapters of Proverbs, the writer point to both wise and foolish behavior in relationships. If we embrace godly relationships, God will bless us with deep joy and a clear conscience. But if we forsake God’s wise counsel, then we will reap what we sow. When God enters our heart at salvation, He give us His precious Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He helps us to understand the Bible so that we can know what pleases the Lord. If we pursue God, He will reward us abundantly. But if we forsake Him in order to fulfill the desires of the flesh, we will live to regret our actions. May our God grant us the wisdom to carefully consider the outcome of our actions.

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