Live in the moment! You only get one life to live; live for today. You can’t do anything about the past or the future, so live in the present!
Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying:
Learn from yesterday,
live for today,
Hope for tomorrow.
I know this is not the way I normally start an article. I normally like to relate to scripture in the first few line but, I wanted to raise some thought provoking statements before we got started. Then we’ll take a closer at ‘now’ later.
The world would say; eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Just how much of this philosophy should we, as followers of Christ, allow in our lives?
Albert Einstein’s thoughts are perhaps not as far from scripture as we might initially think.
What is God’s position on this philosophy? What is our responsibility and how do we deal with the ‘now’?
I’m not sure how this will flush out, but as I’m contemplating the content here (now), I’m wondering if there is some value in looking at the definition of ‘now’ and perhaps examine some of ‘now’s attributes.
at the present time or moment: where are you living now?
synonyms: at the moment, at present, at the present (time/moment), at this moment in time, currently, presently, nowadays, today, these days, in this day and age, in the present climate
For this exercise, I am only interested in the word ‘now’ in it’s adverb form.
What can we say about ‘now’?
Without knowing what is taking place at a ‘future’ present time, we can only prepare for as many contingencies as we can think of (the fatal flaw in this logic is the ‘thinking’ part of the equation). We cannot possible ‘think’ of every possible event, action, and the resulting outcome.
‘Now’ is unpredictable. Any given present moment is immediately replaced with a new ‘now’. Therefore, ‘now’ is a moving target, making it impossible to accurately quantitate or evaluate. We are continuously being lured into the fallacy, that what is happening now is going to be later. Our basis for believing this is because, after all, it’s been this way in the past. Or alternatively, feel that the ‘now’ is going to totally change soon, because most things in our world are subject to constant change.
Either of these considerations are not something that we can rely on. The current state may or may not change. The timing of any change could take place at any time. Is it any wonder we can’t comprehend the mind of God when we are incapable of affixing a value for condition at any given moment?
‘Now’ is a flawed reference point. In the world, we are forced to choose our recourse based on two factors; the past and the present.
While these factors are all we have, to project the potential trajectory of events, it is a highly volatile variable to figure into any calculation. This is due to the previous point which considered that ‘now is unpredictable’.
If ‘now’ is unpredictable then using ‘now’ as a basis for any projection of future course is a flawed concept.
What does God say about ‘now’?
‘Now’, aside from providing a state for our current existence and a sampling of that state, is not real useful from what we can see so far. What more can we glean from scripture regarding the topic?
Praise in the ‘now’:
Psalms 118:24 (CSB)
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Focus on the ‘now’:
Matthew 6:34 (CSB)
Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
There is little, if any, control of what takes place in the future, so, we should be focused on what we are doing for God right now. God can and will provide for us likewise in the ‘now’.
Now is good for provision:
Matthew 6:9-11 (CSB)
Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Now as always; Jesus:
Hebrews 13:8 (CSB)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
While ‘now’ is unreliable, Jesus remains constant. he same as yesterday, tomorrow, and now. He doesn’t change. Therefore, we have a stable focal point, to anchor our vision on in the unpredictable ‘now’.
Now is immediate:
Luke 23:43 (CSB)
And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus responds to us is in the ‘now’ and He also promise in the future.
As Jesus was interacting with the thief on the cross beside him, he didn’t tell him not to worry I will save you some time in the future. No, what he said is today; now I am taking you to paradise with me; NOW!
Such it is when a heart surrenders to Jesus; now they are saved from the fire; now the Holy Spirit enters in and abides within the heart of the redeemed; now the peace that passes understanding is permeated in the being that was once lost; and now they are Children of the Living God! Not eventually; now!
One factor I want to remind you of is that God is timeless and everywhere at the same time. In other words, God exists outside of our concept of space and time. (Try that on for size Albert Einstein!)
Because we are bound with our physical bodies to an environment of space and time, we do not have the advantage of being able to be everywhere at every possible ‘now’. God does and is.
So, he knew before he created the world, the things you would go through, your heart right now, and if you are a follower of His Son Jesus, he also knows what your voice sounds like singing His praises in heaven at a future ‘now’.
All of this he experiences now!
What I surmise from this are some simple observations.
Now requires Faith – we cannot predict with any real clarity what lay ahead or around the next bend. The past isn’t necessarily representative of what will transpire in the future. Now has been demonstrated to be a flawed pointer to coming events.
Because of this, ‘now’ leaves us in a position that despite our unfounded beliefs that we can anticipate what is coming, the fact is, we cannot.
Now is where opportunity is – acting now, is how we can potentially influence the future ahead of us. The big question that demands an answer is, what actions are best to produce the best outcome?
This is where the previous bullet on Faith becomes an action rather than a thing. We may have faith, but it is in the now that we exercise Faith.
We can’t reliably or anything close to reliably forecast what action will result in what future. Therefore, trusting in God’s wisdom and care for us is the only valid way to approach the decisions for this now, to affect our future path.
I want to revisit the quote from Albert Einstein that I used earlier, but this time I want to modify it a bit reflective of what we have discussed here:
Learn from what God did yesterday,
live your life today; leading with Faith,
For the Blessed Hope He gives us for tomorrow.
Einstein almost had it right.
John 14:6-7 (CSB)
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”