Monday, April 16, 2012

Live in the present

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

Live in the present. This thought is one that has been on my mind for quite a while now. It is only recently that the Lord has been teaching me just how important this is. I admit that I am not fully conformed to this way of living, but I have found that life is so much fuller in Him when I live it this way! Perhaps through my journey of finding out how to live my fullest for Christ each day, I may be able to shed some light on a subject I believe is far too ignored and far more important than our future on earth we are constantly building our lives up to receive.

     Time is a fascinating thing to ponder about. If it weren't for a knowledge that God exists outside of time, I am sure, my mind would be sore from trying to figure out what seems to be unreachable and unrecognizable in our feeble point of view. Whenever I imagine this universe God has created, I mentally visualize it as a bubble that encapsulates all of space, matter, and time - where God, as great as He is, exists outside of this bubble in an eternity we will one day be a part of. Eternity past, eternity present, and eternity future is where God exists; time present is where we exist. He is the Creator of time - all past, present, and future of it. I've always imagined that we are moving forward in time. That time flows from our past, to our present, and then we flow along with it towards the future. If you take the time to stop and think about it though, I think you'll find that the exact opposite of that is the truth. That the future is actually the source of which time flows from, not the past - it flows from the future, to our present, and then to the past. We never move. We are constant. We always remain in the present. Time passes through moment by moment, without us stopping to appreciate its quiet presence. Nathan R. Wood's book, "The Secert of the Universe" so clearly explains this phenomenon of time:

     "The future is the source. The future is unseen, unknown except as it continually embodies itself and makes itself visible in the present. The present is what we see, and hear, and know. It is ceaselessly embodying the future, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. It is perpetually revealing the future, hitherto invisible..."
     "The future acts, and reveals itself, through the present. It is through the present that time...enters into union with human life. Time and humanity meet and unite in the present..."
     "The past in turn comes from the present. We cannot say that it embodies the present...The past does not embody the present. Rather it proceeds silently, endlessly, invisibly from it."
     "But the present is not the source of the past which proceeds from it. The future is the source of both the present and the past. The past issues in endless, invisible procession from the present, but, back of that, from the future out of which the present comes."
     "The past issues, it proceeds, from the future, through the present." "The past acts invisibly. It continually influences us with regard to the present. It casts light upon the present. That is its great function. It helps us to live in the present which we know, and with reference to the future which we expect to see."

     I first read this excerpt as an illustration of the triune nature of God as Father ("Future" - eternally the source), Son ("Present" - eternally proceeding from the source, the Father), and Holy Spirit ("Past" - eternally proceeding from the Son through the Father, who is the source of both the Son and the Spirit). What I saw in it, though, was a phenomenon shown forth through time of a Biblical truth that the Lord Jesus Christ told us, but I have neglected to recognize. So often we try to live in the future or are obsessed with living in the past, but fail to embrace living in the present. Why? Isn't it comforting to know that in reality it is impossible to live in the future or in the past, but we are always living in the present? Just take this in for a moment - we literally remain constantly in the present time, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who is eternal and exists outside of time, dwells in us through faith in the present time and HE is the One who remains constant within us, HE is our Rock and Foundation who keeps us stable, HE is the one who holds us together in this chaotic sinful world we live in, and as we are constantly changing HE forever remains the same - always grounding, stabilizing and rooting us in HIS love - "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8. Absolutely blows my mind in a wondrous way!!

     Aren't you glad God is a God of order? If you stop to consider just how amazing one day is, I think you'll be blown away at just how orderly God is. Consider the renewal of a sunrise starting off a new day; the flow of time that passes through the day where people work, play and survive; sunrise that brings a silent and relaxing closing to a well used day; then if you're anything like me, you'll enjoy the night sky He created where the stars are God's most beautiful artwork to wonder at. And then our 24 hour cycle of time encapsulated into a "day" continues on again. That's it. Only 24 hours to focus on at a time.

     Is there something you have always said you will do one day? What would you do if you found out that day will actually never come? I'm not talking about skydiving, climbing Mt. Everest, surfing off the coast of Australia, or some other fun aspirations we may have - I'm talking about serving Christ. Do we keep putting off the day we'll finally serve Christ to our fullest? Would if that day never comes? Would if you are granted the gift of a long life, then you get to the end of that life, and come to the bitter realization that you never lived your fullest for Christ? How bitterly painful. Painful to know that time passed you by into the past where you can never retrieve it. There is always a future and a hope, though! (Jer 29:11) From that point on you would still have at least one more day to live your fullest for Christ. Just one more day to seek first the kingdom of God. One more day to open your mouth and tell of the salvation you have received! And I know it is overwhelming to think of living EVERY day of the rest of your life to the fullest for Christ (especially if you are young!), but if you look at just today, I'm sure you'd think, "yeah, I can live to the fullest for Christ this day." Then, as time flows on, you'll find you've lived your entire life for Christ. Oh, what a wondrous thought! May we all keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and stay constantly in Him this day.

Only God knows what each day will hold -
"Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." Psalm 139:16
Many times we live in fear of the unknown future that we are moving towards, but the ironic thing is that we aren't moving toward an unknown future at all; the future is absolutely and completely known by the Father, (because He is the source of it), and it is actually moving toward us. We are still. So rest in faith, "Be still and know that I am God" Ps 46:10. We have no reason to fear tomorrow - it is in His hands. "Do not be afraid, only believe" Mr 5:36. We have no reason to worry about tomorrow, because even if the worst thing you can imagine happens, we have a beautiful promise to rest in: "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" Ro 8:28. Daily rest in His purpose for your life, whatever it may be. Take life as it comes at you, day by day, and take it all as from Him. Don't worry about tomorrow, learn from yesterday, and live today. Walk by faith and not by sight, moment by moment. This day, don't lay up for yourselves treasures on this temporary earth, but lay them up in heaven, which is eternal. Look to Him who knows what is ahead. Every day, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and make the decision to choose Christ over your own desires. At the end of the day, have no regrets, because you know you chose Christ. If you serve Christ, follow Him wherever He is and, get this...."him My Father will honor" Jn 12:26. Live in the present with your heart ever gazing upon eternity. What a bountiful, happy, wondrous life to live in Him - no matter what happens, good or bad, what an absolutely wondrous life to glorious day at a time until we will finally be with Him in His eternity!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Matthew 6:33