Word-y Gifts for Christian Faith & Life

Onward in Faith!

“Never look back” was Jack’s motto. He believed it completely, both figuratively and literally. He never entertained thoughts of the past and he never even turned his head to look back. So committed was Jack to the idea that in his pre-rear-view camera days, he even hired an assistant to perform the task of reversing his car! I laughed long and hard when I heard the story, but the man was onto something important that we best not forget: the past is gone, all that remains is the future. And for this reason, our faith always faces forward.

Faith is forward in two senses. First, it is bold. It will look clear-eyed at the present with all its limitations, but push brazenly towards a desired better future. We see this audacity of faith in Abraham’s preposterous belief that despite his and Sarah’s advanced age, they would still have a son (Rom. 4:19-21). While others would have given up and said, “there is just no way,” Abraham, through the sheer stubbornness of his faith, waged a war against the facts and was propelled forward, towards the future he had been promised.

Second, faith is forward-looking. Abraham had left everything to follow God. He may not have known where he was going (Heb. 11:8), but he knew that going backwards was not an option—that rear door had been closed when he made the decision to follow God. So, by faith, even when the going got tough, he kept moving forward. There is a profound lesson in this for Christians. When we commit to God, we have reached the point of no return. We have climbed aboard the wagon of faith and it does not have a reverse gear; it moves only forward towards the fulfilment of God’s promises and purposes.

Because every believer’s life is lived by faith, it has no place for regret or wallowing in the pains of defeat and disappointment. When we have repented for our mistakes and grieved our losses, our hearts ought to cry in faith, “onward!” When life gets rough and we are wondering if there is even a future ahead, in faith, our hearts still ought to cry, “onward!” The great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 11 experienced both victories and painful setbacks, but they are all commended for their faith because they kept looking and moving forward towards the fulfilment of God’s purposes. Like the eccentric Jack, they refused to put their cars in reverse. Onward in faith they went. Onward!

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