Finding God's Winning Spirit

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January 11, 2016 | Greg Smith | Focus


The sermon Sunday was based on Matthew 6:34 which says, "Be not therefore anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will be anxious for itself…." I agree with my pastor who said this simple concept of living day by day is one the most dynamic truisms in life. When I say it is simple I mean we all “get it” but unfortunately most of us do not live it out. Why is it so hard to live in the moment?

For some people it's hard to live for today because they are trying to make up for what happened yesterday. They neurotically are trying to acquire something they missed or make restitution for something done in the past. For others today is not as important as what tomorrow might bring. They look forward to better days to distract them from the pain and emptiness of the here and now.

For some it is just a personality thing. Some of us are prone to focus on things in front of us while other personalities tend to deal in possibilities of what comes next. This is not a conscious decision but is just the way they are made.

This is not to say that we cannot learn from the past or that we should not strategically plan for the future. Matthew’s point here is not to fill today with the fear and anxiety of the unknown – do not lose today for that which comes later.  

In any case it is not the way to live at any level. It certainly does not work in sports. Any athlete who hopes to excel cannot be controlled by the past.  The next shot, play or competition stands on its own and is not connected to the last. A marathon runner does not focus on the 26 mile distance but rather on one step at a time.

I can remember when I attended Seminary I called my father after my first day of class. I was overwhelmed with my Greek and Hebrew classes (probably due to flunking freshman Spanish in college).  My Father, who was a college professor, asked me one question, “Have you done your homework for today?” When I told him that I had he told me to do that every day and Greek and Hebrew would take care of themselves. 

Jesus was not free from the temptation of missing today for tomorrow.  In the Garden Jesus was visibly anxious about the upcoming days of trial when he said, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me…” It was only when He once again focused on the task at hand, “Yet not My will, but Yours be done", did His anxiety abate.

The Greek word for anxious in Matthew 6:34 can also be translated distraction.  This is probably a better word when applying the concept to living day by day as Christians. Yes it is true that we are constantly warned about worry and how it undermines faith but the more subtle attack to our faith just may be distraction. If the “great deceiver” can get us focusing on yesterday or tomorrow then he wins today. He knows the power in that – so should we. 

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