July 25, 2019
I have been pondering the relationship between Philippians 3:13-14 and the admonition of James 4:13-17. Apostle Paul connects past experience and future anticipation. James appears to be thinking about the present. What is the balance in all of this?
There is value in remembering our past. The positive memories encourage us and the negative ones help us try to avoid repeating them. Trying to live the current moments through the mindset of the past will defeat our usefulness. Our accomplishments are not sufficient for today. Our hurts need not determine who we are now.
While planning for the future is valid and appropriate, we must remember that it is only a hope or a dream. We may not be on Planet Earth tomorrow. If we stake our joy on what might be ahead, we may forfeit the benefit of usefulness today.
When we study the context of the writings of James and Paul, there is a balance of past, future and the present focus that Jesus’ followers should have. These men knew the joy of past experience – positive and hurtful – and they were future focused – ultimately anticipating being with Jesus in Heaven. It is obvious that they lived in the present. Paul expressed this when he talked about contentment “in whatever circumstance.”
I am encouraged by the song: “We have this moment to hold in our hand and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand. Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.”
Letting go, living now and longing to be with Jesus, when in balance, results in usefulness and honor to God. The current moment is a precious gift.