Several years ago God put a message on my heart about living in the present. Without walking you through the whole message let me just hit a couple of high points . . .
1. Everyone has a past. My great nephew is one year old, and he already has a past. Of course he won’t remember it, but I can promise you that his immediate family members remember all 365 days of it!
2. If you are alive and breathing, you have a present. The question is still up for grabs whether you are living in it or not.
3. We have a future best we know – unless, of course, we die in the present.
Many people I see in the counseling process live in the “past box”. They live there because of guilt, shame, fear, blame, hiding and/or because those were the “good old days” of accolades and pats on the back. Living in the past works fine if everyone you know is willing to live there with you. But most people aren’t. Why?
Because, living in the past gets old!! After awhile no one wants to be around you because you are a broken record whether you are living in the depths of despair or recalling your wonderful deeds. The thing about the past is that Jesus covered our past with the blood on the cross at Gethsemane. He covered the good, the bad, and the ugly with His blood.
Other people I see in the counseling process live in the “future box”. I call it the “when, if, and what if box.” Evidence that they live there comes from these kinds of statements:
“When we get that new house”
“When I get that new job position”
“When the kids all leave home”
“What if the loan doesn’t go through?”
“What if we don’t get the support?”
“What if they hire someone else?”, etc.
The thing about the future is that God holds it in His hands.
So let’s clarify . . . He has the past covered and He holds the future. But where does He dwell? In the “present box”. He dwells in today! He isn’t in the past box when you are running yourself crazy there and He isn’t in the future box when you are doing all the “whens, ifs, and what ifs”.
Do you understand that God is in the moment? Not past, not future but NOW! He has the past covered! He holds the future! But He dwells in the present! If you are going to experience Him daily it will be in the present!
Matthew 6:33-34 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I have recently been practicing the principle of living in the present. Not just talking about it but doing it. It has increased my prayer life so much. My times with the LORD are so much more personal. My quiet times are sweeter. I realize it is because He is dwelling in the present and I am meeting Him here.
I don’t spend energy on yesterday or tomorrow.
I don’t sit around in the depths of despair over bad choices – even if it was just yesterday – in something I said or did.
I don’t sit around thinking about accolades of the past to make me feel good today.
I don’t sit around waiting for some big sign regarding the future and His plans for me.
I live in the moment to the best of my human ability to obey Him.
The hard part about this journey is most people are living in the past and/or the future and they want to drag you into their box. Stand firm, my friend, in the present! And your love towards all people will grow stronger because He is with you!
And finally, in living in the present, God is really teaching me the principle behind “come as you are”. We like to come when we have cleaned up. Problem is then that we forget to come! So that old saying, “Come as you are” has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I am learning to come to him whether I am happy in the present, mad or ticked off in the present, frustrated or sad in the present, rejoicing in the present, etc.
So “dwell in the present, my friends” and “come as you are”!
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