The devil delights in our pursuit of the end of the rainbow. He is very well pleased when we are occupied with get-rich-quick schemes and other unrealistic expectations. His goal is simple: he wants to keep us from living in the present. He is not all that intent on us living in the past although it does have certain benefits that are pleasing to him. Most folks who live in the past are hanging on to some form of hurt or disappointment and it tends to make them bitter. Unfortunately, many of them profess to be Christians and are in our churches. They are not good advertisements for the Christian life.
The devil would prefer to get us preoccupied with the future. Future is better for him because it has so much more potential. The sin of the person living in the past is usually that of ingratitude but the future is brimming with many possibilities such as fear, greed, lust and vain ambition and I am sure there are several more.
God has destined us in Christ to live in His perfect presence in eternity. This is the ultimate goal. He is not upset with us when we set our affections on things above because that means we are thinking about Him. His immediate goal is for us to live in the present. It’s really the only way that we can serve and honor Him. We obey in the present. We pray in the present. We worship and serve in the present.
Some folks spend their entire lives searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They waste their time with pipe dreams. Their mind is occupied with fantasies that are unrealistic if not virtually impossible. By the way, the term “Pipe Dream” came from the experience of the opium smokers. The drug causes fantasies that seem real. Some fantasy may be healthy but we cannot spend all our time chasing an illusive dream. Our vain ambition will rob us of our significance. We will live lives that have no purpose, no sense of fulfillment and ultimately no joy. The devil loathes joy. He hates a happy, cheerful Christian. He will do anything to steal our joy.
Some years ago [over 35] I let a preacher friend talk me into delving into prophecy. I got a couple of books and began reading. Something strange happened: I became pre-occupied and fascinated with the subject. I was obsessed with the study of prophecy so much so that one by one I had dropped all my other spiritual disciplines. I suppose the LORD intervened because one day it dawned on me that I had become obsessed with speculation about the future. I laid the books on prophecy down and I have never picked them up again. Our responsibility is to obey Christ and carry out the great commission. Jesus told his disciples, “The Father sets the future dates and they are not for you to know.”[Acts 1:7] “BUT” said Jesus, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will receive power and you will tell people about ME!” As a pastor, I will take a personal evangelist over an expert on prophecy any day of the week. You know which one the devil prefers.