“Faithfully to fill the present is your only security for the future.”
~ Andrew Murray
How many days are we capable of living at once? I know it’s a rhetorical question, but for me, it’s an important one. In my world of church planting in the third world nation of Peru, I am often tempted to get the proverbial cart before the horse. It’s so tempting to allow the fear and anxiety of tomorrow to overrule the joy and peace that accompany a son or daughter of God today. I can forget that I am a son before I’m a servant. I forget a times that I am loved by the Spirit before I am led by the Spirit. Can anyone relate? If you’re like me, I often try to live entire months or even years at a time. However, God’s promise to us is peace, joy, and love in the now as well as security and significance in our future. That’s really good news.
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
~ Abraham Lincoln
No, we can’t gain victory over tomorrow today. We are only capable of living one day at a time, and victory in life is only found one day at a time. Note that there is a stark difference between the Spirit’s voice who says “daughter, just take it one day at a time” and the voice of the world which says, “you only live once.” As a matter of fact, YOLO is not a message that the Spirit of God speaks to anyone. As followers of the Most High and resurrected King, we also will be resurrected. The Bible teaches that we will live again even after we die. This is the most foundational teaching that rages against the teaching of our enemy who whispers: “do not worry about tomorrow, because you only live once.” It is just like our enemy to whisper a little truth mixed in with a lie. True, worry should not be a part of our story, however with a very significant difference. The voice of God says: “Do not worry about tomorrow, I am stronger than any obstacle you may face tomorrow, just walk with me today.” Only living once would cause us to spend or waste our life in the present. However, the teaching that we will live again causes us to invest our life in the present. Do you see the implications?
Nevertheless, the truth is clear. In this life victory can only be gained one day at a time. C.S. Lewis says it well:
Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.
So how can we practically move towards a lifestyle that helps us live free from the worry and fear of tomorrow?
1. Work with diligence today. Not worrying about tomorrow is no excuse for being lazy today. If you do not faithfully fill the present, then you will certainly have concern to worry about the future. God does not do our part, and we can not do His. Tomorrow is His, but today is ours. Work hard!
2. Keep a journal or smartphone on hand. Not worrying about tomorrow is not the same as not thinking about tomorrow. Thoughts of tomorrow will constantly be invading your today, and it is my recommendation that you keep an agenda and a list of running items that are tomorrow’s concern. I have found that if I take a moment and write down the thoughts or questions that are concerning me about tomorrow, I am able, once again, to focus on the present. If I do not write the thoughts down, they tend to loiter in my mind and like a mighty army marching into a new land, my present becomes invaded by my future. Control your thoughts of tomorrow by writing them down.
3. Feed your ears with God’s word about tomorrow. Like I said, thinking about tomorrow and worrying about tomorrow are two completely different things. On my strengths finder test, my greatest strength is that I am futuristic. I am always thinking about the future. I believe vision is powerful and important. However, it is clear that the Bible teaches us to think about the future, without worrying about the future. As a matter of fact, the scripture teaches that without vision, people become discouraged. In contrast, when we hear God’s words and promises over tomorrow, it empowers us to live fully in today. We gain confidence that tomorrow will be a glorious reality when it arrives. This truth brings loads of hope and energy into our present work. Truly, the future fuels and charges the present with great strength when we feed our ears with the words of God. The Bible says that “faith comes by hearing the word of God.” If you want more strength, joy, and peace in the now, get a little food from God’s word about tomorrow.
Remember this: a faithful and focused today will give confidence over tomorrow. At the end of our current life on Earth, we will be so glad that we took the time and energy to learn how to live one day at a time. Just as single dollars make a millionaire, so single days make a life. Take it one day at a time.
So, let me ask you a question: What are you going to do today?