How to Stop Worrying the Christian Way?
The answer is Real-time living.
I’m in the final stages of finishing my new book called Christian Vitality™ and while doing so, I wrote this piece that I wanted to share with you all here. I hope it is a blessing to you. Let me know your thoughts by commenting here.
Jesus is the Great I AM not I was or I will be. It’s the greatest of all names for the Lord Jesus. We hear it often sung in songs and have come across it in scripture, but I think it is important to point out that Jesus Christ our Lord, is the one and the same God that Moses spoke of when he had the encounter at the burning bush.
God told Moses his name is “I AM THAT I AM”. The Hebrew variation on that name is YAHWEH or JEHOVAH. Jesus has been given all authority on earth, heaven, and under the earth. He is the one true God, not one of many Gods, but the One and Only (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5; 1 Cor 8:4) and even references himself as: “I am he [God]” (when he is responding to the Samaritan woman at the well), “Before Abraham was born, I am (John 8:58), “I am” (John 4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 8:28, 8:58; 13:19; 18:5), “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35), “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12), “I am the Door (John 10:7, 9), “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11, 14), “I am the Resurrection and Life” (John 11:25-26), “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), “I am the True Vine (John 15:1, 5). Finally, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, “ says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Rev 1:8).
Jesus is the Lord of the Present, the Past, and the Future. There is no doubt about that. I think however, that we humans are locked here in the Present. We cannot, and should not try to, live in the Past or the Future. That is a revelation I feel I was given recently in reading the “Sermon on the Mount”.
I believe we are all called to live, what I call, real-time living. Living in the moment and forgetting about the past and the future. I don’t mean to give up on future planning or taking short trips into the future as directed by a vision God grants us for our lives. I’m talking about day-to-day living. Living solely in the moment.
Visit the future for brief periods of time if, and only if, you are accompanied by God himself for him to show you what he has planned for you. Meaning, go into the future with a great deal of prayer and meditation on his word in deep surrender to his will for your life knowing that he always has your best interest in mind. He has, after all, the master plan for the Universe and knows where you fit into it perfectly.
Think about what you know about Jesus and how he lived his daily life. The Bible reveals to us quite a bit about how Jesus lived while he was down here on earth. If you go over the Bible passages, I think you’ll find that Jesus lived his life moment by moment. Asking God for direction every step of the way. I know and agree with you that yes, Jesus did know his future as was prophesied about him in the scriptures, but I think he lived every moment of his life in real-time.
When confiding in God, Jesus would often steal or sneak away to pray. In times of prayer he would commune with God the Father to get fresh revelation for his life. So, take God with you when you are looking to get fresh revelation about your future. Obtain vision for your life about the future cooperatively with God. Never take a trip into the future with out taking God with you. Then come back to the present and make your choices for the now in such a way as to be congruent with God’s vision for your life in the moment.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians that we should be “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” I think many of us have trouble with this and this is critical for you achieving Christian Vitality™. You must forget the past. Don’t spend any time there. You’ve received forgiveness for your past transgressions and it’s time to put them to rest. I believe that the only value the past has for us in the present is for us to use it to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes again in the present. We shouldn’t dwell on the past. If we do, we are not living in the present. It’s kind of like driving a car with your eyes on the rear-view mirror all the time. You wouldn’t do that, would you? That would be dangerous as you might run into something. The same is true about your past. Put it behind you for good my friend.
Paul also stated in Philippians 3:13 that we are to strain forward to what lies ahead. We have a bright future in Christ and God has some really cool things planned for your future, but I think many Christians (myself included) have a tendency to worry about things that “might happen” in the future. Now that is where we get it wrong. A term I learned from my lovely wife Diana long ago is “future tripping”. Taking a life circumstance or event and projecting what it might mean into the future. What could happen? What does this mean to my future? We let our crazy, often negative minds run with it and before we know it, our lives as we know them are going to end. That’s just not right. Instead, we should put Paul’s advice from Philippians 4:6-9 (The Message) into to practice.
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:6-9 (The Message)
Why should we focus all of our attention on the present and nothing else? Well, the Lord Jesus commanded it in his sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:34 The Message) when he said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” See, we are to live in the now. Be real-time Christians serving the Lord and living how he did when he was here. In the moment, asking God “what’s next papa? What can I do now Lord in this moment to bring you glory with my life, this decision, right now?”. And when you do ask, be direct with God. Jesus told us a bit later in that same sermon (Matthew 7:7-11 The Message) “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need…don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better [than how you would provide for your kids]?”.
In the English language and specifically in America, the word gift and present are synonymous. At Christmas and other holidays we give presents. Well, you may have heard or seen the expression that “today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present”.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present! Also, remember that it isn’t the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it.” – Ellen Glasgow
Appreciate God’s generous gift (the present) of today. Make an effort to build “magic moments” (as Tony Robbins calls them) throughout the day where you truly help yourself feel a deep sense of gratitude & appreciation for the little things. Be in the moment. Be present. Be grateful. Show God how much you appreciate his huge giving heart for the gift of the present moment. Like The Message says in Philippians 4:4a “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!”
At the end of our lives we are not going to remember all the chaos, challenges, or frustrations that we experienced down here. We’ll go back to “magic moments” we had while we were down here. So, make certain that you take as many as you can with you.
What would it be like if you woke up 5 years, 10 years, or even 20 years from now and realized you could not remember any of it? That precious time wold be lost completely. Doesn’t even the thought of that possibility concern you? I’ve heard many people throughout the years and history talk about how life flew by. How they don’t even remember portions of their lives. “Where did it all go?”, is what they ask themselves.
I think we should should make a conscious effort to make sure that doesn’t happen and I think the secret to doing so is living in the moment, in the now by being 110% present as often as possible.
So, the next time you are with a friend, or family member, or even alone with the Lord make absolutely certain that you are present. You are here, right now. You can do that by turning off or blocking your thoughts of the past or future and filling yourself with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the present moment. Also, be sure to also block out or turn off any distractions that you may have like cellular phones, computers, TVs, etc.
Finally, as part of a Christian Vitality™ Lifestyle, you must live your life in real-time as Jesus did. Work these words of scripture into your life that are not incidental additions to your life, but foundational words. They are words to build a Vital Christian’s life on. He warned us in Matthew 7:26-27 that if we only use his words in Bible studies and don’t work them into our lives that we are like a “foolish man” whose home washed away with the storms of life. When he concluded that wonderful Sermon, the crowd listening burst into applause because they never heard anyone teach like that. The Message says in Matthew 7:29 that “It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying-quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.”.
Thank you God that someone was around to write all of this down, so that we know how to live our lives just like Jesus did.
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