Can’t live off yesterday

Eyes on the road, please!

Eyes on the road, please!

On a daily basis, we probably all bathe, brush our teeth, eat, go to work; pretty much the essentials. You would be pretty hard pressed to find an individual who would say of the aforementioned, “Oh, I don’t need to do that today because I did it yesterday.”

In my own personal experiences, however, I have found myself attempting to live off yesterday’s spirituality. My suspicion is that I am not all alone in this regard, as the temptations that we all experience are quite common (1 Corinthians 10:13).

One might ask, what does it mean to live off yesterday’s spirituality?

Well, this takes on different forms, but ultimately it looks fundamentally different from how Christ said our daily lives should look. Very plainly, Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

In our daily routines, we are to practice denying ourselves for the sake of pursuing Christ, identifying with him in his death. The apostle Paul put it this way, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

It can be all too easy, though, to wake up, take a look at the cross and decide not to carry it today. What makes this seemingly more tempting is having a pretty good Christian week, past few days or even yesterday (self-assessed of course).

Personally, I have found myself at times making relics of these times, looking upon them instead of keeping my eyes on the road ahead. Instead of running the race with perseverance, keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), I can be guilty of aimlessly wandering around a museum of good Christian memories.

Oftentimes, this is the case when I have an awesome day at church. Instead of letting the Spirit fill my sails to propel me along my journey, I instead drop my spiritual anchor in hopes of just staying in the moment. These great moments, then, become mere historical bookmarks rather than ongoing contributors to my walk of faith.

After teaching my first new members class at my former church, the ministry lead contacted me the following day to see how I was doing. There being a noticeable drop-off from the day before, his charge to me was to find a way for the “mountaintop experiences” to translate into my daily life.

While these mountaintop experiences are few and far in between, everyday life certainly happens more frequently.

In the case of the Israelites, after the Lord delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians by way of one of God’s most pronounced miracles, the realities of everyday life quickly came to bear. Psalm 106:9-13 reads:

He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;

he led them through the depths as through a desert.

He saved them from the hand of the foe;

from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.

The waters covered their adversaries;

not one of them survived.

Then they believed his promises

and sang his praise.

But they soon forgot what he had done

and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

In the desert they gave in to their craving;

in the wilderness they put God to the test.

It became quite easy for the Israelites to toss God to the side as they did not view his act of redemption as part of an unfolding plan. Instead of considering the mighty hand with which God brought Israel out of Egypt, they chose to focus on themselves, despite the manifest presence of God being with them in the form of a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22).

Much the same, Jesus’ disciples experienced one of his most pronounced miracles in the feeding of the 5,000. While this event should have contributed to an increased faith in Jesus, the disciples did not allow this feat to inform their present circumstances. Mark’s gospel testifies concerning the disciples, “for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:52).

Not only can we make artifacts of great works of God, but also great times with God. There have been times where I have had some real heart-to-heart conversations with God, but then the next day…nothing. In my arrogance, my “fervent” prayer from the day before was the excuse for today’s prayerlessness. Scripture’s exhortation, however, is to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18).

There is plenty of reason to stop and acknowledge the king of kings; not because of some spiritual deficiency, but simply because he is worthy. In the words of the Psalmist: “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised” (Psalm 113:3).

Neglecting God’s word is something we can all fall prey to as well. Unlike Job, who “treasured the words of [God’s] mouth more than [his] daily bread” (Job 23:12), we might use the excuse of being on a low-carb diet.

God’s word, however, is to have a place of preeminence in our daily lives. Psalm 1:2 says of the blessed man, “his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Matthew 4:1 comments, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Just as food and drink sustains our livelihood, Scripture is also to have a hand in sustaining us.

If one can partake in a holiday feast and still muster the strength to eat the next day, we should not be excused from picking up our bibles simply because we have spent hours in days prior. From the Lord’s vantage point, I don’t know if we could every really consume too much of his word (Colossians 3:16) as long as we are willing to put it to use (James 1:22-25).

Living off yesterday’s spirituality robs us of what God wants to do in us, through us and for us today. God wants us to build up a head of steam in our race (1 Corinthians 9:24) as we “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18), not lose momentum being stagnant.

God’s call is one that is consistent, perpetual and unceasing, and this compels us to live in today, not yesterday. With this in mind, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

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~ by christianballenger on July 24, 2013.

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