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An Outdated Way of Thinking

The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly today. That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future. —Dale Carnegie 

When our son Liam was 16 years old, he decided to save up for his first car. Libby and I promised to match every dollar he put into a car fund, and we enjoyed watching his funds grow. One Saturday after he refereed seven games, he came to us with a wad of cash and said, “Put this in my car fund.” Ouch. But we were glad to do it because he was working so hard. 

In fact, for a long time it was all work and no benefits for Liam. If he wanted to go to a friend’s house in the neighborhood, he walked. If it was too far to walk, he’d grab his bike or try to catch a ride with us. After a while, most of his friends had new cars while he was still riding the bus and working. He was working hard, but not experiencing the benefit—yet. 

Working for something we don’t yet have is an apt description of old covenant living. 

This week, we are nearing the infamous Hebrews Hall of Fame in chapter 11. This chapter is dedicated to those who lived by faith, working for something they did not yet have. 

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised … (Hebrews 11:39) 

They trusted God, yet none of them saw their hope become a reality in their lifetime. Why? Because the old covenant was all shadows and promises and prophecies. It always pointed toward “one day,” but not yet today. 

One day you’ll have your car, but not yet. 

One day you’ll fully and intimately experience God, but not yet. 

The mindset during OT times was: I don’t have it yet, so I’ll keep working for it. 

But this old covenant mindset has leaked into believers’ new covenant thinking today. Many of us strive for what is already available to us. The question is: What exactly is available to us? 

Lord, what am I striving for that is already mine? Is it Your delight? Is it knowing You’re truly with me? Show me what You’ve done for my faith. I desire to rest in You. Amen.

Dive deeper into Hebrews with Pete’s video series Better: A New and Living Way!
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