The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

In what direction is your life moving – backward or forward? Life does not stay stationary. We move in some direction.

When we drive a car we have a choice – we can either look at the rearview mirror or look through the front windshield. The rearview mirror will show us where we have been, and it is good to glance at briefly, but the majority of our time needs to be spent looking forward through the front window.

Driving while looking only at the rearview mirror will help you wind up in a wreck. Driving while looking forward through the front windshield will take you where you desire to go. Since the front windshield is about a hundred times larger than the rearview mirror, we should spend 99% of our time looking forward. The same is true of life!

When the children of Israel sent twelve spies into the Promised Land, ten of them came back and talked about the giants. They said that the people of God were like grasshoppers and the giants would step on them. They were ready to go back to Egypt.

Fortunately a minority report was submitted by Joshua and Caleb. (Numbers 13) They said, “There are giants in the land, but our God is bigger than the giants. Let’s go forward and take the land.” The people went forward and history was changed!

When David faced the giant Goliath, his brothers and all of his people were ready to declare defeat and head back into captivity. David elected not only to face the giant but to move forward in defeating him. If he had just stood and looked at the giant very long, the giant would have appeared to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Too often when we face a big problem we prefer to think about it rather than move forward to face it. Sometimes even prayer can become a substitute for moving forward.

The Bible says that David “ran quickly toward the giant.” (I Samuel 17:48) He didn’t run away from him, but forward towards him. And the giant was defeated!

Part of the Christmas story centers around the wise men who were following the star. It is very interesting that after they encountered Herod, they lost sight of the star. They didn’t go back to their homeland, but kept going forward. The Bible then says that they had “exceedingly great joy when they saw the star again.” (Matthew 2:10) They kept going forward and they saw the star again and it led them to the real King lying in a manger!

Go forward. Charles Kettering, father of numerous automotive and medical advances, was once asked about his success and he said, “When I fail – I always fail forward.” What an attitude!

Go forward. Thomas Edison tried over 600 different substances for a filament for a light bulb. None of those worked. He wasn’t a failure – he just considered that he had discovered 600 things that would not work. He then discovered carbon. He kept moving forward – and we have light bulbs today!

Are you looking back or moving forward? When you face a temporary failure, it can be an investment in the bank of knowledge of something that you need to learn in order to help you move forward with greater resolve and success.

Proverbs 4:25 says, “Let your eyes look forward, fix your gaze directly before you.” Forward looking leads to forward movement where there are “level paths for your feet…and ways that are firm.” (v. 26)


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