Philippians 3:16 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The Screw Tape letters written by C.S. Lewis gave me the idea for this devotion. If you have never read this book I highly recommend it. I like best to listen to old literature on my iPod. It is easier to understand. This book has a series of letters written from Uncle Screwtape to his nephew. The catch is that Uncle Srewtape and his uncle are demons. In this book, or my interpretation of this book, Uncle Srewtape is writing to his nephew. He is writing how to lure Christians away form God. His letter # 15 is titled ” The Challenge of Living in the Present”. In his words ( **note: The Enemy is God is this book**) “ The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. ….He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” “Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. ALSO…It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”
Interesting Concept, huh? According to these passages God desires us think only of two things: eternity and the present. Satan tempts us to dwell on the past or to be consumed with the future. Recently my mother who suffers with chronic pain was very ill. Her husband also is very ill and is undergoing radiation for aggressive malignant melanoma. She was so distraught from her pain and became consumed with her future. Weeping she stated, “What am I going to do when he is no longer here to take care of me when I’m like this.” Her husband so eloquently said, “Linda we only need to think about the present. Today. The Here and Now. ” This is so true. As sufferers of chronic pain two events occur frequently: we think back to the past and how it used to be or we think about the future and how doomed it could be. But God wants us to only focus on the present or our eternal future with him.
I did a scripture search on this topic. There are many scriptures to support this concept. James in James 4:13- 15 warns us about boasting about tomorrow. He states, ” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.” In the verses Philippians 3:16, Paul reminds us to forget what lies behind and to press forward for Jesus Christ (For Eternity). Our Lord himself stated a very simple thing in the Lord’s Prayer. Take a look at Matthew 6:11. Jesus Christ stated, this is how you should pray, “Give us today our daily bread” . Today’s bread. To live in the Present.
Screwtape stated it perfectly,” Our Present is all lit up with eternal rays” To live in the Present is to experience the Presence of our God. Amen.