“What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (Romans 6:21,22).
WE ARE TAUGHT IN THE SCRIPTURES THAT EVERY COURSE OF ACTION HAS A RESULT OR AN OUTCOME. The “end” of sinful conduct is death, while the “end” of godliness is everlasting life. With every decision we make and every deed we do, we are moving toward one outcome or the other. None of us is standing still. As Christians, we understand ourselves to be moving toward eternal life with God. But while that is an exciting prospect, our movement can be so slow sometimes that we become discouraged.
(1) Where we’ve been may be shameful. Like Paul, we may have some painful memories, memories of deeds we wish could be undone. But while it is good to be humbled by our memories, what we have done in the past is not the most important thing about us. The more important consideration is in what direction we are moving. If we are moving toward God in the present, then our future stands a very good chance of being better than our past.
(2) Where we are right now may be discouraging. Even when our progress is toward God, the pace of our progress may be disheartening. Yet if our movement is in the right direction, that is what we need to concentrate on. It sometimes takes an honest person to see whether a certain step leads toward God or away from Him, but if we are sure the action that lies before will move us in God’s direction, then we need to be encouraged by that. It’s not the amount of progress that matters; it’s the fact that God is our goal.
So if we are moving in God’s direction, that is the main thing, whether the movement seems to be significant to us or not. We always ought to be encouraged by the fact of positive movement.
The wonderful thing is that, as long as life lasts, it’s always possible to move toward God. With every decision we face, the positive choice is always available. We will never come to a fork in the road where one fork will not be better than the other. And whenever we take the fork we know God would want us to take, we can do that knowing we’re going toward a good “end.”
“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving” (Oliver Wendell Holmes).