Learning to ‘have life’ (part one)

What type of life orientation do you hold?

Past, present or future?  I’ve found that most people are either past or future orientated, meaning that they are driven and motivated either by things that have happened to them in their past or things that they want to possess, achieve and do in the future.  It’s very rare to find someone who is present-centred, but I think this is where we need to learn to spend the majority of our time.


What is a past and future life orientation?

Past Orientation

I think the issue with being overly past-orientated is obvious, someone who has this perspective often feels like the best parts of their life have already ended and that there is nothing good left to look forward to.  People with this perspective are:

  • often considered grumpy and pessimistic,
  • they also seem to be more prone to depression
  • and lack the will to live and make it through when tribulation comes their way.

Don’t get me wrong, I think we can all get to this place at times but what I’m trying to emphasise is that past-orientated people believe that there is no hope for any more joy and peace in their life.  The crazy thing is that people hate to be around negative people and so past-orientated people often push those who would otherwise want to be around them away, resulting in less chances of experiencing joy and happiness.  Living this type of life can be very stressful.


Future Orientation

What about future-orientated people?  Those with a future perspective don’t really care much about the past unless as an added motivator to achieve/acquire something better in the future.  Most of their time is spent on planning, strategising and working to achieve a particular goal or set of goals, I think you can spot future people by the number and type of items on their to-do list and an emphasis on the x-year plans they have organised their life into.  Generally futurists are too busy to let their hair down let alone experience “lesser” emotions such as depression or pessimism, but I believe these emotions are just lurking under the surface and tend to make themselves known when their plans don’t seem to be working as they expected!  Because of all the planning and working that goes on in their lives, futurists are more prone to stress and stress-related illnesses.

Yes, I know that these orientations seem very stereotypical but I believe if we’re honest we can find ourselves in one of these!


Shalom I leave you, my shalom I give to you. (John 14: 27)

The thing I love about the word shalom is that it doesn’t just mean peace, but unfortunately shalom is rendered as peace within the English Bible.  Shalom means the whole shebang, but to sum it up let’s just use the words of Messiah as noted in John 10:10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”.

John 10:10

These are my keywords


When I used to teach psychology I used to ask my students to circle the keywords, so I’ll ask you to do the same just for fun.



Life is for living, not reminiscing or planning your life away, it is for living every single moment that YAH has given us to the best of our ability.  Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not always easy to let go of the past or resist the temptation to add  another goal to our life, but when we do this we miss the fact that we are alive right now at this moment in time.

What does it mean to be alive?

Technically to be alive means to have a soul.  When YAH breathed His life into us we became living souls, we became full of His energy, we became animated beings with the ability to experience, do and create!  This breath inside of us is a precious gift, without it we can do/be/experience nothing.


What does it mean to have life?

It is interesting to note that Yeshua says “have life”, to me this suggests that it is possible to be alive without having (possessing) life.  Remember when you have something, you possess/own it ie. it is yours.  Was Yeshua speaking of life after death here?  No, as life and living starts in this realm now.  Remember:

  1. Yeshua said let the dead bury the dead this shows that primarily life is for the living
  2. and  He said that YAH is not a God of the dead but of the living which also shows that our life here in Him continues after we physically pass away.

From this I can conclude that most people are alive yet they do not ‘have life’.


How can we ‘have life’?

The key to understanding how to swap our life for the ‘life’ that we can have is in the purpose of Messiah’s coming.  OK, this isn’t exactly where I wanted to go when I started this post but I guess it’s where I need to get to.  When we understand why He came, we understand what types of things prevent us from having (possessing) life.  This is really important because as I said, most people do not ‘have life’, they are alive simply because of the breath of YAH within them.  When we ‘have life’ we move away from this borrowed life and take hold of a life which we get to keep forever.  Now, you may be thinking ‘what’s this got to do with past and future orientation?’ if you are, you’re not alone because I had to pause and ask the Ruach (Holy Spirit) the same question.  Well, here’s the answer I got back.  How you live your life here on this earth demonstrates where you are on the ‘have life’ scale!


The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy… (John 10:10)


The ultimate goal of the enemy is to steal, kill and destroy the soul of man (ie. his life); our life orientation/perspective allows us to see just how well the enemy is doing in that area.  The truth is that someone with a past orientation sees nothing of value in their life (soul) which means the enemy can easily begin to manipulate that individual until he destroys any chance of them really possessing life.  Likewise, someone with a future orientation is swapping the treasures of possessing life with the treasure of achieving worldly goals and acquiring earthly objects.  It seems like it would take something major, to change the perspective of a past or future orientated person, doesn’t it?


No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10: 18)


Yeshua possessed the kind of life that He desired to give to us, He was clear that His life belonged to Him, it wasn’t borrowed and nobody could take it from Him.  He chose to give up His life so that we could also possess it too, how fantastic is that!  That is the truth of ‘having life’ and gives a new perspective on the term ‘born again’, we died because He died but we have life because He doesn’t just give us life but He gives us the ultimate life, His eternal life, hallleluYAH!!!


Everyone who receives the Messiah, receives His life in them but this means absolutely nothing if we don’t understand it’s full worth and value.  Next week (by Yah’s grace) I would like to talk more about this but until then, take time to examine what type of life orientation you possess and then prayerfully ask yourself and YAH why and listen for His answer.

Shalom in Messiah





Achama U

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  1. says

    A great beginning Florence, in which I’ll be looking forward to–does that make me “future oriented’? Just kidding. Some of your thoughts will fit in nicely with my study in 1 Kings 8 (and next post): Sometime A False Sense of Security … or something like that.

  2. says

    I find it interesting that you coupled the concept that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, with the past/future orientation of a person. Either orientation as you describe it would take away from having shalom — just hadn’t thought about it before.

    You’re right, of course, but I’ll expand it some . . . In some ways we must be past-oriented, as we are to never forget what God has done for us in the past. And future-oriented because we must never forget the end goal and what God is planning for us for eternity. But this orientation is God-ward and not “this-life-ward.”

  3. Helen Murray says

    Florence, thank you. As someone who is prone to ‘If only’ and ‘What if’ I suspect that I live much of my life in either ‘rewind’ or ‘fast-forward’, occasionally wanting a ‘stop/eject’ button but rarely just ‘play’, there is so much for me to learn. I hadn’t really considered the impact this might have.
    Thank you. This is going to be in my head all day.

    • says

      Hi Helen, you’re very welcome. It’s a hard balance to get right for all of us I think, but one that can really affect our quality of life either way. One thing that I do to help me is to try and allocate present time during the day, when I focus on the here and now e.g. listening to music with my eyes closed or having a hot cocoa and toast. It’s amazing what BIG differences these small things can do. x


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