David Livingstone was a great Christian missionary to Africa. He faced many obstacles, but he always kept moving towards the completion of his mission. One day he said, “I will go anywhere as long as it is forward.”
What an attitude! One of the attitudes I want to adopt in 2018 is to always go forward. It’s easy to meet an obstacle and either sit down or turn around and retreat. The Biblical perspective is always to go forward.
When the children of Israel came to the Promised Land, they sent 12 spies to check it out (Numbers 13). Ten of them came back with the majority report saying that the place was occupied by giants who would step on the people of Israel like grasshoppers. Many people today have a grasshopper attitude. But there were two spies who came back, Joshua and Caleb, who offered a minority report. They acknowledged the fact that there were giants, but they declared God was bigger than any giants! Their message was clear – “Let’s go forward and take the land!”
Some of the people were already forming the “back to Egypt committee.” The giants were too big – time to give up. I am in the ministry today because the people of Israel adopted the minority report and went forward. There may never have been a Christian movement if the children of Israel had not gone forward.
“The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger” (Job 17:9). A sad word comes from Jeremiah 7:24 – “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.”
Go forward! The great entrepreneur Charles Kettering said, “You will never stub your toes standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but also the more chance you have of getting somewhere.” While there are many ways of going forward, there is only one way of standing still!
Going forward doesn’t mean we will not make mistakes and encounter some failures. If you never failed at something, it probably means you never tried anything. Winston Churchill believed that “success is never final. Failure is never fatal: It’s the courage to continue that counts.” Failure is never final or fatal. It can be an investment that helps us act differently in a similar situation the next time. That’s the spirit of moving forward.
Thomas Edison invented a lot of things that didn’t work. It took him a thousand different experiments to find the proper formula for a light bulb. People told him he had failed a lot of times. He never said he failed. He simply commented that he had found 999 things that didn’t work! On one occasion, he said, “Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith. Go forward!”
During 2018, God is going to open a lot of doors in front of us. We have to be able to see the open door, be prepared to walk through it, then have the courage to take the steps to walk through it. Many times we don’t see the open door that’s in front of us because we focus so much on the closed door behind us. Doors don’t stay open long. When the door opens for you in 2018 – go forward!
The writer of Hebrews said, “God willing, we will move forward to further understanding” (Hebrews 6:3). That’s an attitude. The Apostle Paul’s witness in Philippians 3:13 was – “I focus on this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the mark for the prize.”
I can sit in my car and place the gear in Neutral. The car won’t go anywhere, but just sits and “idles.” It will eventually run out of gas. I can also place the gear in Reverse. It’s a difficult thing to drive a car and to live life when we are engaged in Reverse (and looking in the rear view mirror or craning our necks to see behind us). When I want to get somewhere, I engage my transmission in Drive – a forward gear. Last year my forward gear carried me over 20,000 miles in my car! How far are we willing to go forward in 2018?
Derric Johnson writes – “I always wonder why birds stay in the same place … when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question.”
Is your life in forward gear for 2018?