Friday, December 15, 2017

Tomorrow (Don’t Count On It!)

November 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Monthly Articles

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.
For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for
a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

-James 4:14

As much as I appreciate the blessing of tomorrow, I’ve also come to see it as a blessing too often abused. Though most people will admit their life could be snuffed out at any time, for some reason we continue to live as if there is always another page to be turned, another chapter to be written. Like the rich man in Luke 12 who fell into the lap of luxury only to “fall into the hands of the living God” when he least expected it (Heb. 10:31), many times we embrace unnecessary responsibilities today while postponing what God says is truly important until tomorrow.

What do I mean by unnecessary responsibilities? Well, let’s go ahead and start with the obvious. Hunting trips, shopping ventures, and web surfing are all nonessentials. We could live without them if it became necessary. More subtle distractions such as extra-biblical literature and blogging may sometimes seem indispensible, but even these should be a distant second to our God and our family. We as Christians are called to demonstrate faithfulness not just in the seemingly big things, but in the countless smaller responsibilities that shape our character and mold our relationships (Matt 25:23). After all, what sense does it make for us to place our own soul in jeopardy for the sake of accomplishing something far less significant?

Of course that’s not to say whatever is unnecessary can also be categorized as sin. Solomon himself believed “there is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor.” (Ecc. 2:24) Our lives are a gift from God and should be enjoyed in holiness (Heb. 12:14), but putting your family on hold to accommodate a self-induced busy schedule is a sacrifice no one can afford to make.


“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  

               -Matthew 23:23


Just like the Pharisees, how often have we allowed our zeal for God to tear us down rather than build us up? Peter cutting off Malchus’ ear when His Savior’s life was threatened revealed an inner passion worth emulating, but in the end he earned only a rebuke from the One he was attempting to defend (John 18:10-11). Is it any different when a Christian passionate about truth spends more time reading Bible commentary than the Word of God itself, or can quote their favorite theologian more fluently than their risen Lord? We procrastinate making the changes we know are needed but somehow can always make room for the lesser things we could do without.  Isn’t it true that “procrastination is the thief of time”[1] God calls us to redeem (Eph. 5:16)?

Too many of us have a false understanding of what it means to live for God. He that saith he abideth in [Christ] ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked,” and we know that our Lord was characterized first by His devotion to the Father and then by an evident passion for ministry (1 John 2:6). James puts pure and undefiled religion into even sharper focus with the exhortation to “visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” while keeping ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27). If we forsake just these two things we make ourselves as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal” – loud, yet very fruitless (1 Cor. 13:1; John 15:8).

God has a special blessing in store for those who make Him, not religion or good works, the focus of their heart and the love of their life. “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” someday to answer for the decisions we’ve made (Rom. 14:10), and this reality should encourage God’s church in the pursuit of holiness and of “faith unfeigned.” (1 Tim. 1:5) There’s no need to wait until the 1st of January to enact these commitments. Start now! Determine what you must do, put your hand to the plow, and don’t look back (Luke 9:62). It’s this kind of dedication we need to break the chains tomorrow can so easily ensnare us with.

 


[1] Edward Young

2 Photo credit: http://wallpaper4god.com/en/background_psalm-11824/

*****

Dakota has been writing since 2009 when he started sharing frequent devotionals on the now-popular blog, “A Look at Life from a Deerstand.” As a lover of both God and the great outdoors, his goal is to share Christ with his readers in a way that is easy to understand while encouraging the saint and seeker alike to explore the truths of Scripture on their own. He is currently authoring an e-book, “In the Cool of the Day”, which is scheduled to release in 2012 and resides with his family in St. Louis, Missouri.

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