Where do you live? I don’t mean your street address. I mean in time. Do live in the present? Or are you preoccupied with the future?
In the Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, senior demon Screwtape gives his disciple Wormwood advice on tempting his human subject:
“The humans live in time but our Enemy 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…He would…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… It is far better to make them live in the Future…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. …Nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.” — C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Satan wants us focused on anything but eternity or today. Worrying about the future is a futile exercise, because most of what we are concerned with will never happen. We spend all kinds of time consumed with and fearful of “unrealities” – things that don’t even exist. We work out all kinds of scenarios in case of this or that contingency, most of which won’t materialize.
But Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mt. 6.34).
Jesus doesn’t say don’t be concerned about tomorrow or plan for tomorrow, but not to be anxious, worried or fearful about tomorrow. If we’re anxious about tomorrow, we’re really thinking that God won’t be there, he won’t be faithful, he won’t supply grace. But for Christians, there will be grace. So rather than being anxious, cast your cares on Jesus, ask him for whatever you desire, and thank him for the grace he will supply.
Jesus would have you tend to today. What does Christ want you to do today? Ask Jesus for grace and wisdom to help you serve and glorify him today. Ask him for your bread for today. Then go and do the next thing.
photo by James Jordan