We’ve all heard the saying “carpe diem,” but how many of us truly live today to the fullest? How many of us are worked up worrying about what tomorrow might bring or feeling guilty about what we’ve done in the past, that we completely let the opportunities in front of us today slip away. This week’s sermon was delivered by associate pastor, Isaac Schmeling, who challenged us to follow the teachings of the Bible when it comes to seizing the day.
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34 NIV)
You see, God has promised to take care of you, to hold your worries and troubles in His hand so that you can fix your eyes upon Him, rather than these worldly issues.
Becoming a person of today could be challenging for some, but as believers we have the promises of God to fall back on. Pastor Schmeling reminds us of two simple ideas to bring our focus on the opportunities of today:
1. Renew Your Mind
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
Remember, what we set our sights on will become what we harvest. Try everyday to renew your mind to the promises of God, not to the things of the world. There’s nothing wrong with owning beautiful things, but are you spending your most valuable asset – your time – seeking a closer relationship with your Father? Are you finding quiet time each day to pray and read the scripture, so that you can set your sight on the promises and rewards He has laid out for you?
If you’re struggling with addiction – whether it be alcohol, drugs, pornography, even working too much – remember that you have the same promises that everyone else does. You too are loved and cherished by your Father, and He has great things in store for you. Let your test turn into your testament as your grow in His ways and less in the ways of the world.
12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. (1 Corinthians 6:12 MSG)
2. Keep Focused on Today
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:25-27 NIV)
Focusing your thoughts on the blessings and work ahead of you today is what God wants you to do. He specifically tells us to not “turn to the right or the left,” so that we may walk the straight path to His kingdom. And when troubles come our way, we will be ready for them, because we’ve studied His word and prepared our hearts for earthly challenges, knowing that our rewards in heaven are great and His promises are true. Wouldn’t it be great to actually walk through our days thinking about how Jesus handled challenges? Wouldn’t it be great to let go of all that we carry about our pasts and the worries that keep us up at night?
We can see this point illustrated when we think about how we focus while driving. What would happen if you just stared in the rear-view mirror the whole time? What if you never looked at a map or app for directions? It’d be a challenging drive to say the least! And not just for you, but for the drivers around you and everything your car hits along the way. Is this how you’re navigating your way through each day? Fix your eyes upon the Lord. Don’t let hurts of the past damage your heart for today.
Remember learning to ride a bike? That first time you fell off and scraped your knee, it hurt and you wanted to quit. It may have taken you a few days to be convinced to get up and try again. But eventually you did, and eventually you learned how to ride without falling. That’s exactly how your faith walk might play out. But don’t be afraid of failure or pain – it can be the very thing that God has planned for your journey. Your mistakes, illnesses, extreme sadness or loss, financial issues or any other plights of this life may be what God has given you so that you can use that to help others. So live today out, study the Word, pray for guidance, give thanks, and remember that God loves you!