By studying Luke 21, we can discover at least 4 things God wants you to do if you have any fears about your future.
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1. By Giving God All You Have Before You Lose It in the Future Anyways, You Will Overcome Your Fears
If you give God what you are afraid to lose, you won’t be afraid to lose it anymore. You can’t lose what you’ve already given away.
In Luke 21:5-6, Jesus tells the disciples that the temple they are marveling at will be destroyed. In Luke 21:7, they then ask him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” Jesus then spends the rest of the chapter explaining how they should deal with the unknowns of the future and how they should prepare for it.
While this chapter is not about your personal fears about the future like, “Will I ever get married?” or, “Will I ever find my calling?” or, “Will I ever make enough money to provide well for my family?” – this chapter in the Bible does teach us some important principles about dealing with fears about the future.
One point that is easily overlooked, however, is that Luke 21 doesn’t start out with Jesus answering his disciples’ questions about the future. It actually starts out with a lesson about a poor widow. Luke 21:1-4 states:
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”
When I was child and I heard this story, I felt afraid for this widow. I though to myself, “How will she survive if she literally just gave away all the money she had?” Now that I’m older, I now realize that was Jesus’ point. It makes sense that this story comes before Jesus’ instructions about overcoming fears about the future. Through observing the actions of this widow, Jesus is teaching us the key to overcoming our fears about the future. Remember, if you give God what you are afraid to lose, you won’t be afraid to lose it anymore. You can’t lose what you’ve already given away to God.
The rich people in this story had yet to fully trust in God to the level that this poor widow was trusting in God. She was not depending on her money for survival. She was fully depending on God. She was able to give away all she had because she knew all she had was never going to be enough to get her through the trials ahead. She knew her only hope for survival was God providing for her.
In a way, all of us just have “two small copper coins.” We might think we are the rich people in this story, but really we have nothing that will sustain us for the difficulties ahead – we just haven’t realize it yet. Our only hope is God.
Are you afraid of losing out on a life of marriage? Give your relationship status to God so you won’t fear losing this anymore. Are you afraid of missing your calling? Give it to God so you won’t fear losing it anymore. Are you afraid of not having enough financially? Dedicate all your finances to God so you won’t fear losing what you have anymore.
Whatever you are afraid of losing, dedicate it all to God. When you give your whole life to him, you will lose the fear of losing it.
2. When You Accept Jesus Alone Has the Answers You Need, You Won’t Fear the Future Anymore
False teachers love to talk about the future because they know people are afraid of the unknowns ahead. People want to know what will happen next, so they are willing to listen to people who seem like they have the answers.
One sign of a phony is that they always make bold predictions about the future but they never circle back and revisit those old predictions. They just keep making new predictions about the future. They keep you listening by keeping you hoping. But they are liars, so they end up just producing a false hope in you.
Notice what Jesus said in Luke 21:8 to prepare his disciples for the future, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.”
Nobody knows the future but God. A good Bible teacher will not tell you what your future is. A good Bible teacher will teach you how to prepare well for the future no matter what that future is. A good Bible teacher will point you to Jesus because the only way you can prepare well for the future is to follow God because he’s the only one who knows your future.
I may not know what he’s preparing me for, be he knows. And that’s enough for me.
3. When You Accept that Your Future Will Have Trials But God Will Use Them for His Glory, You Won’t Fear the Future
I don’t know the details of your future, but I know you will have your good days and you will have your bad days. You will have your seasons of peace and you will have your seasons of war. You will have your seasons of companionship and you will have your seasons of conflict. You will have your seasons of new things coming and you will have your seasons of old things leaving. You will have your seasons of abundance and you will have your seasons of little. You will have your seasons on the peaks and you will have your seasons in the valleys.
We obviously don’t fear the good days, the peace, the companionship, the new things coming, the abundance, and the peaks. We fear the bad days, the wars, the conflict, the old things leaving, having little, and the valleys. But notice what Jesus said in Luke 21:13-15 when he was telling his disciples they would be persecuted. He said:
This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.”
The opposition in your future is really your opportunity to bear witness about Jesus. You don’t need to prepare for every possible trial that could come your way in the future. All you really need to do is settle it in your mind beforehand that you will rely on God and not yourself no matter what happens.
When you know deep down that no matter what happens you are going to keep living for Jesus, fear about the future vanishes. The future is widely unpredictable. It’s useless to try to predict the exact trials you will face. Rather, it’s much wiser to simply prepare our hearts and minds to endure anything for the name of Christ.
As Jesus said in Luke 21:19, “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
4. By Paying More Attention to Your Own Heart Than All the Noise on the Face of this Earth, You Will Lose Your Fear of the Future
There are always two struggles going on: there’s the internal and then there’s the external. While we should not minimize the external trials in this life, we must not forget that the real battle is for our hearts.
Who will you listen to? Where will your attention be? Will your focus be on everything around you? Or will you be taking care of your own heart so you can follow the Lord well. In Luke 21:34-36 (NIV), Jesus said:
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Prayer in the present is the solution to fears about the future.
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