Many people live in the past, constantly lamenting what might have been. Instead of accepting what cannot be changed and moving on, they prefer to be held captive by things they can do nothing about.
Others put their lives on hold waiting for the future. As soon as all their preconceived needs are met, they will get their priorities straight and live the good life.
While it’s true we can learn from the past and look toward the future, we live today. God lives in the present. His name is “I am” not “I was” or “I will be” or “I might have been.” God meets our needs daily (Matthew 6:11). Our walk with God is a day-by-day journey. By not living in the present, we can miss what God has in mind for us today.
From a spiritual perspective, we live in the present by being open to God’s presence in our lives every day. We seek a closer relationship with him (Matthew 6:33). We do not let the past drag us down or the worries of the future hinder our daily walk with God.
This daily walk with God is vital, but how we walk with him is also important.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” —Bil Keane, creator of the "Family Circle" cartoon series.
Let’s use the analogy of taking a nature walk. Since I’m not drawn to nature as many are, I could wander aimlessly down a trail unaware of surroundings. When asked what I saw I might not even remember. Others notice the chirping bluebird, the laughing child, the leaves changing color, a fish jumping in a pond or a vibrant sunset and realize all those things have something to do with God. They are aware and alert to God’s presence all around them. How I yearn for that!
Prayers of those living in the present become more than begging God to give them what they want. They want God’s will revealed to them and his desires to be their desires. They pray throughout the day—some big prayers and many little prayers—of praise, thanks, and requests for immediate help to bring a thought or action back to where God would want it to be (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Studying God’s Word becomes more than just reading a few scriptures (Acts 17:11). They think about how those scriptures apply to their daily lives. They realize the Bible is a living book God uses to speak to them, so they ask God to help them understand it more fully. They want scripture written on their hearts so it comes to mind when needed in a given situation throughout a day.
Meditation becomes more than busy thought. They purpose themselves to think about God, his Word, biblical principles and how Christ would handle situations (Psalm 1:2, Joshua 1:8). They also learn to be still and know God (Psalm 46:10). They dwell on God’s goodness, mercy, love and grace.
This is their walk with God, and they will do this every day, all day long. When they wake up tomorrow they’ll do it again because God’s mercies and love for us are brand new every day (Lamentations 3:22-23). There is something new to be learned about God each and every day, but we’ll miss it if we aren’t living in the present.
Barbara Dahlgren, 2012