We do not often think about how much freedom we gain by living in the now. What we know is that now holds the past, present, and future all-in-one. We find it easy to refer back to the past because we like to remind ourselves how far we’ve come and how much wisdom we have gained because of it. We look to the future and use the excuse that we are planning for it, but then stress and anxiety creep in to remind us that the future is unknown and we aren’t prepared for it. All we are left with is a constant, nagging feeling that we have failed and will continue to do so as long as we cannot meet the requirements laid on us for the future, which has been dictated by the past. What happened to the present?
Jesus, who we are all called to model ourselves after, did not worry about the past. He did not worry about what is to come in the future either. He knew where He came from and He was confident in where He was going, so He chose to live in the now. Have you ever wondered why He spoke in parables? By doing so, He was fully able to embody the present tense. Sure, He knew it all, all the past sin and regret of everyone He met, but He chose to focus on how to change the now. He knew that He could not reach man by focusing on the past or the future – it was all about the now.
Then, when He was in the garden, it was not the past or future that He sweat blood over, it was the present. He felt in one single moment the full weight of the present, His burden. It overcame Him with anguish so heavily that He literally sweat blood (Luke 22:44). Did you know this is an actual medical condition? Rare though it may be, it is possible for someone to feel that kind of worry, anxiousness, and distress – it’s called hematohidrosis. I cannot even imagine how He must have felt and yet by His model, He shows us what is worth feeling true anguish over. Still, we waste our time worrying over things that are of no consequence anyway: “I’ll take the pain of my past with a side of possible future failures please.”
Now, just take a moment to consider what Jesus’ ministry would have looked like if He had focused on the past and future, instead of the now. Think about how He would have impacted lives if He would have constantly pointed out the mistakes and wrongdoings of the past. Then, think about how He would have impacted lives if He would have worried them over future failures. Do you think that He would have been able to change lives? Do you think He would have been able to perform miracles? I believe Jesus’ Heavenly Father, our Heavenly Father, gave Him the knack of using the present tense. Only in the now can we truly, unconditionally, and wholeheartedly be in the presence of God the Father. The very same God that Jesus embraced obediently.
So, the challenge is not about questioning whether or not you should live in the present, but rather, doing it. If we choose to live in the now, we will eliminate the enemy’s ball-and-chains from our past (Philippians 3:13) as well as exonerating ourselves from any failures in the future (James 3:13-15). Just like our sins are washed away as if they had never happened, our past can be wiped away – taking with it all the shame, brokenness, and anxiety that bind us. The only future we need to concern ourselves with is our eternity. We need to follow His model and embrace the comfort and peace of now. The past does not define us and the future is not available for any debate or planning. We are promised now and we should live in it. We should take-in all the goodness He has given us, right now.
When we choose to live in the present, something magical happens. We are released from the past and the future. Oh, the freedom of the present! Now, ask God the Father to give you the same knack He gave Jesus. Ask Him to help you make the choice to live now (Luke 11:9-10).
Believe in where you came from (John 1:13). Be confident in where you are going (2 Corinthians 5:1). LIVE NOW (Matthew 6:31-34).