James 4:1-17 (NKJV)
4 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
- Today matters. Today is important.
- We get caught up with the ‘one day when’.
- The years are passing, and we need to realise that today, the day we have found ourselves in, matters.
- Today is not by chance. Today is the result of previous decisions made yesterday and seeds sown yesterday.
- What are we doing with today?
- It’s awesome to be thinking and believing about what God’s plans are, but there’s a gap between the future and where we are today.
- What are we doing with what God has spoken over us?
- Are we being proactive and choosing to use what we have today?
- We need to forget the past.
- The past is important. Good or bad.
- At the same time, if we hold onto it too tightly, thinking about how good it was or regrets we have, what we should or shouldn’t have done, it can actually rob us of what God wants for us today.
- We need to let go, so we can receive what God has for us.
- We can’t change the past. It is done.
- Our past doesn’t have to determine our future.
- It’s our choice to let go. Leave all those things in the past.
- The good news of the gospel gives us hope for our future.
- The gospel of Jesus says, ‘He’s come to give us life and life to the full’
John 10:10 (NKJV)
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
- Take hold of God’s promises of what He has for your future, and let go of your past.
- We are made new in Christ Jesus so our past no longer determines what our future can be.
- God can redeem our past.
- He makes all things good. He can use it for His glory. But we have to make a decision to let Him in, let Him use it.
- Sometimes we can be too focused on the future.
- We need to be present in today. Be obedient with what God has placed in front of us.
- The future is not a guarantee. We don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like.
- It can be easy to slip into a procrastinating mind set of, ‘tomorrow I’ll get to that’
- For us to step into the next season and move forward, the key is to make great use of what God has given us today.
- How we use today will actually determine what our tomorrow looks like.
- US Marketing Entrepreneur Wes Kao says in her lectures to: ‘Make decisions that your future self will thank you for’!
1. Get a vision for your future
- What is it that God has for your tomorrow?
- What are you yet to see?
- What has God placed on your heart that you’re passionate about?
- If you’ve lost your passion, you need to get with God.
- Have you allowed other voices in your life to get bigger, while God’s voice gets smaller?
- Get with God and allow him to spark something inside you again.
- Find a purpose and a reason to live for tomorrow.
2. Embrace discipline
Hebrews 12:11 (NKJV)
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
- No discipline seems fun at the time. If we can choose to embrace it and allow God to do something in our life, then we will reap the rewards in our future.
- Sometimes we have to do what we don’t feel like doing.
- Have quiet time in prayer. Read God’s word. Serve. Study.
- Be disciplined to make it a priority.
- It’s making those decisions today that we will be thankful for in the future.
- So often we want to see God do something great without us doing anything.
Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
- Let’s choose to be people who embrace discipline.
3. Be obedient with what God has placed in front of you
- If we can’t choose to start small with what we have in front of us, God isn’t going to bring anything bigger along.
- What opportunity has God placed in front of me today?
- God sees everything. He sees our heart, and he’s waiting for us to be obedient.
- Start today.
- Nothing is wasted with God.
- What would it look like if we chose to grab a hold of what we have today?
- Choose to engage in those things that will make our future great.
- Dealing with past pain, taking first steps of obedience to see our dreams/visions come to life, discipline.
- Is there too much pain in today that we are constantly looking for the future?
- What would it look like if we let go of our past, stopped procrastinating, and were obedient with what God has given us today?
Suggestions for Discussion Questions
- What are we doing with what God has spoken over us? Are we being proactive and choosing to use what we have today?
- Sometimes we have to do what we don’t feel like doing. How often do you feel this way?
- Do you agree with the statement – If we can’t choose to start small with what we have in front of us, God isn’t going to bring anything bigger along?