The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
—John 10:10 (NLT)
Adoniram Judson, the well-known missionary to India, once said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” When we receive the Gospel, the future is always very bright, no matter what we face. I like to say it this way: The future is as bright as the promises of God. And the promises in the Gospel are the brightest of all. Our future is secure. In the words of evangelist Billy Graham, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible, and it’s all going to turn out all right.” Yes, and far more than all right!
Jesus said that He came to bring us into abundant life. What does that mean? There are lots of wrong ways to read that word abundant. We have to remember that Jesus’s ultimate purpose on this earth was to die on the cross and then rise from the grave. Everyone who follows Him has been called both to carry our own cross and to one day be resurrected with Him forever.
Sometimes this life doesn’t seem so bright, even as a Christian, but because of the Gospel, we always truly have a bright future.
I have a friend named Greg who has trained tens of thousands of young people around the country to share their hope in Jesus with others. He is like a walking Red Bull for God’s glory. But he wasn’t always so full of happiness, hope, and purpose. In fact, the trajectory of his life had been going in the opposite direction. But one day, God got ahold of his crazy Uncle Jack’s life.
Uncle Jack was constantly in fights and in trouble with the police. He once even strangled two officers until they were unconscious while they tried to arrest him for assault. A suburban pastor sought him out and shared the Gospel with him. Uncle Jack came to Christ, and his faith led to much of the rest of Greg’s troubled family coming to Christ as well. God transformed Greg’s life as an eight-year-old and completely changed his future.
One day a youth worker told Greg that helping the poor is the point of the Gospel. Greg knew this wasn’t fully true because he had lived in poverty and hopelessness as a child. He asked the youth worker, “Have you ever been poor?” The youth worker responded that he hadn’t. Greg said, “Well, I grew up poor, and if you would’ve asked me as an eight-year-old whether I’d like all our bills paid or Jesus, I would’ve chosen Jesus every time.” Countless poor Christians around the world would say the same thing.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t help the poor—helping the poor is very close to God’s heart, and it’s an outworking of the Gospel in the heart of anyone who believes in Jesus—but it is not the Gospel. The Gospel is something far beyond how much or how little money we have or give on this earth. We have a bright future despite the circumstances we encounter, in the face of whatever pain and suffering we may have to endure, and no matter how much or how little financial resources we possess.
We have a bright future in Jesus. Because of the Gospel, the best is always yet to come.
Jesus, Your resurrection gives me hope that every dark thing will be swallowed up in life; help me hold fast to this hope today.
This is an excerpt from Chosen, a 30-day devotional (Outreach) by Matt Brown and Ryan Skoog.You can get this book for very discounted rates for use in church-wide campaigns, small group studies, or as a gift book for people who come to faith in Christ, new visitors, or new members at your church. All author proceeds from the book go to feed refugees in some of the toughest areas of the world. Order at: outreach.com/chosen-book/