The Discipline of Presence: Being About Today


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 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.” – Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

It is clear from the gospels that Jesus understood humanity.  He was fully aware of our failings and flaws and into this world of imperfection He spoke words both compassionate and confrontational.  If we want to be fully present in the lives God has given us, we need to soak in the truth of this passage.

Worry, fear, anxiety and doubt all arise from a lack of trust or misplacing our trust.  Christ is reorienting our view to the one who is worthy of our trust.  He asks us to give up what if-ing our life to death and take hold of the truth that God will take care of us.

If we want to live life abundantly, we need to be about today.  When we exert our emotions and will to grasp for control what has not happened yet, we enter into a cycle of frustration and disappointment.  We can feel like the universe is out to wreck our plans, or even think that God is punishing us when things don’t go our way.  What if instead of trying to control the future, we worked on being prepared for the day we haven’t passed through yet?  What if rejected the idea of things going our way and partnered with God in seeing things go His way?

This isn’t about getting rid of your calendar, or not setting goals.  This is about having a different attitude in how you get to tomorrow.  When you are confidently giving all you have to today you avoid the regret and feelings of failure that worry, anxiety, doubt and fear leave in their wake.  When you step into each day available to the will of God, you become a tool in the Master’s hand, perfectly fit for His work in you and the world.  When you are rooted in the truth of His love

In the world of addiction recovery there is a saying that seems appropriate for this passage: One day at a time.  The reality is that we are all addicts – recovering sinners, if you will.  We have been set free, but we have a hard time living like we are no longer slaves to sin.  It is easy to fall back into the mentality that we know better what our future holds than the one who created time.

Jesus wants us to take one day at a time on our road to becoming like Him.  He wants us in that place between “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)  He wants us living in today.

I don’t want to be spread out over days, weeks and months.  I don’t want to feel thinned out by the ticking hands of a clock stretching me beyond the moment that God has prepared. I want to be a man about the business of today.

Prayer for this week:

Lord, help me to be about your work each day.  Let me live in the space between what has been and what will be with integrity and purpose.  Help me be fully present in my life with you, my family, friends and those you bring across my path.  Amen.

6 responses to “The Discipline of Presence: Being About Today”

  1. Chris,

    Grace and peace to you. I pray that you and your family are well.

    Thank you for this devotion. There is so much anxiety about the future we forget that God is calling us to the reality of today. We have been taught to pray for daily bread, not weekly or yearly bread. This reminds me a lot of Richard Foster’s chapter on simplicity in Celebration of Discipline.

    God bless you, and keep up the great work1

    mike

    • Hello Mike,
      Good to hear from you. I really enjoyed reading Foster’s writings in college, so that may be seeping through. Thank you for the steady encouragement. Hope that your ministry at Hillside is going well.

      Blessings,
      Chris

  2. Hit me right in the face today Chris, or should I say Lord- through Chris’ blog. Have been really struggling with this lately and feeling harried with planning and frantically trying to get stuff ready for the future. My 2 boys are 8 and 10, and I want to be able to help with college someday if that is their desire. Our current home is becoming far too small for us with growing boys and a move is neccesary at some point. The car is getting along in years, lol, and may need to be replaced soon as well. Needless to say, it has been easy to focus on all that I dont have, or dont have yet, and this morning was a much welcomed reminder that I have a Heavenly Father who is there and who will undoubtedly take care of me.
    Thanks again Chris, I have been enjoying these posts for awhile now and have meant to post sooner,keep up His good work !!

    • Hey Ed,
      Glad to hear the blog has been helpful. This is an area of growth for me too. I have a long history of pursuing self-sufficiency and it creeps up from time to time. Thanks for letting me know that the blog is appreciated.

      Blessings,
      Chris

  3. I struggle with this the most when I forget who I am…in Christ. It is a daily choice whether I abundantly live today as the saint Christ identifies me as once I belong to Him, or whether I identify with my sin and am defeated, worried, grabbing on to the world’s solutions.

    But when I remember Who He is, what He has done for and in me, and the preciousness of walking with Him, residing IN Him, my day is rich, no matter what happens.

    AH! If that were only my “always” choice!

    Thanks, Chris. I hope to make a great choice tomorrow.

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