MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Wednesday, April 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Janie B. Cheaney now on Jesus and our future selves.
JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: What is your future self telling you?
Chances are, your future self occupies its own channel in your mind, where it daydreams about that promotion or vacation or new house. It projects rosy scenarios on a blurry screen—or, if you’ve received bad news, red-tinged forecasts of gloom.
Business guru Don Miller says, “Psychologically, you regard your future self as a whole other person,” who does not feel like you. Miller applies this insight to time management, especially when it comes to making commitments that may be months away. Since you and your future self are not the same, you might think, “I’ll just send future self to do that.” So the deal is made, and eventually future self becomes you, reluctantly packing for a weekend conference, wondering why you always get suckered into these things.
But I have more conflicts with my future self over the next day or hour than next month.
For example, the alarm goes off on a frigid January morning. I start conjuring reasons why I should stay in bed an hour longer. But future self is poking me in the conscience: Hey, you know how guilty and draggy you feel if you get up late. Whereas, if you get up now, you’ll feel great in an hour. Come on, get up. Put your running shoes on. I’ll meet you at 7. We’ll have coffee.
Any job, any ambition involves stuff we don’t want to do. But once we’ve decided it’s worth doing, or once we’ve committed to a master worth following, our future self can become our best friend.
Need inspiration? As the author of Hebrews says, “Consider Christ.” He who was from eternity deliberately placed his steps upon a timeline and took up—not just a body, but a past and a future self. He who knew everything learned obedience. He who was perfectly unified and perfectly joyful endured separation and suffering—for what?
You might say it was for his future self. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame. He experienced death for three days, burst out of the grave, commissioned his followers, and ascended into the heavens to meet his future self at the right hand of God, where he waits for us.
The joy set before him is also mine. Isn’t that what Paul means when he writes to the Colossians, “You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, you also will appear with him in glory.” By committing himself to a future, Jesus became my future. In meeting him, I’ll meet my ultimate future self.
In the meantime, the alarm goes off, the task awaits. We’re meeting for coffee at 7.
I’m Janie B. Cheaney.