I Have Or I Will?

I think it was one of the verses our students were memorizing this week that got me thinking along these lines. The verse was 2 Timothy 4:7.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

This is a short and easy verse to memorize, especially with the repetition of “I have” in the verse. As I was thinking about these words written by the apostle Paul, another verse of Scripture came to my mind.

” For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:13,14

There is such a great contrast in these verses. The words we read in Isaiah were spoken by Lucifer(aka satan)and show the rebellion that lead to his fall.

I noticed that:

  • He spoke in the future tense.
  • His plans left God completely out of the picture.
  • He started out in right standing with God, but because of his willfulness became the enemy of God.
  • Nothing that he said he was going to do came to pass. God saw to that, and we can read on in this chapter and in other verses in the Bible of his fall.

 

Paul on the other hand :

  • He speaks in the present perfect tense.(The present perfect  expresses an action that is still going on or that stopped recently, but has an influence on the present. It puts emphasis on the result.)
  • Paul’s past, after his Damascus road experience and conversion, clearly had an influence on his present and would also influence his future and eternal destination.
  • Paul started out in wrong standing with God(as all of us do)but through his faith and obedience became a friend of God.
  • Because of Paul’s “I haves” he would have a glorious future.

In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul goes on to say:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

And we will have a glorious future too when our time of departure comes, if we’re living right!

 

In reading of two speakers

Their words, I ponder still

One of them said “I have”

The other said, “I will”

 

The one who proclaimed “I will”

Spoke purely out of pride

Inappropriate ambition

That in him, did reside.

 

Of all he said he would do

None of it came to pass

Then judgment came upon him

He fell from heaven at last.

 

The second, of which I read

The great apostle Paul

Who considered himself to be

The chiefest sinner of all.

 

On the road to Damascus

His conversion did take place

And this once so proud Pharisee

Became a trophy of God’s grace.

 

He went on to do a work for God

Served faithfully , and then

Near the end of his life

These  “I haves”  he did pen

 

The first I have we read

I have fought a good fight

Through battles in body and spirit

He clung to God with all of his might.

 

And then the following phrase

I have finished my course

He ran the Christian race

Pressed on with no remorse

 

I have kept the faith

The next phrase that he penned

Aided by God’s strength

On which he did depend.

 

Lucifer spoke in the future tense

Grandiose words he did proclaim

Paul spoke in the present perfect

Gave glory to Jesus’ name.

 

Realizing in past and present

God was with him all the way

And would give him the crown of righteousness

On the judgment day.

 

In reading these scenarios

We see two points of view

An influence for good or bad

In what we say and do.

 

We can boast of our future like satan

And leave God completely out

Scheme through our own ingenuity

To bring all our goals about.

 

But when that judgment day comes

And our lofty dreams come to naught

We will realize too late

The lie that we have bought.

 

Or like the apostle Paul

We can give ourselves to God

Allow Him to direct our steps

That path that we do trod.

 

And as we live and labor for Him

Walking in His glory and strength

When we reach the end of our journey

We will stand in heaven at length.

 

9/23/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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