Christ, Our Fellowship, Part 9
Living in the moment…
Actors always talk about being “in the moment.” Whether they are before the camera (or on stage), they endeavor to be the character they are portraying at the time they deliver their lines as though it was the very first time they are saying those particular words. If they’re a stage actor, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first time they’ve portrayed that character on stage or the 188th time. The goal is to make the audience believe that the actor is saying those lines for the very first time. It is the same with actors acting in movies. The goal is to make the audience suspend their disbelief so that they not only accept an actor’s portrayal of someone they are not, but the whole production is geared to bringing the audience into that particular production so that the audience members become a fly on the wall, simply overhearing and watching the dialogue and action.
Good actors can be in the moment so that the audience is drawn into a scene, play, or movie. We all know what it’s like to watch a play or movie and actually see actors acting. It tends to make for a very long production with audience members constantly looking at their watches to determine how much longer they will have to put up with watching people act. In those cases, the actors are merely repeating lines they’ve memorized devoid of any realism. The goal of the actor is never to be seen acting. The process for getting there is a short or long one, depending on the particular actor and the demands of that production.
I think – in general – people have an extremely difficult time living in the moments of life. I know that I do. Unfortunately for most of us, living in and appreciating each moment of our lives does not come naturally. We are either occupied with the past or preoccupied with the future, in spite of the fact that we are existing in the ever-moving present. All too often, we simply don’t notice the present, do we? I believe it is one of the things attached to the curse in general.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now, (Romans 8:22).
The Creation “groans and suffers” because of the fact that sin was invited into God’s Creation by our parents, Eve and Adam. On that day when humanity fell (Genesis 3), we began to die and the whole of creation changed detrimentally. Spiritually, death occurred right away because this type of death is seen as separation from God Himself. Our fellowship with God was immediately broken and denied. Humanity stopped walking with God in the cool of the garden (Genesis 2). Our spiritual death put us at a distance from God and only His redemptive work would open that way again. However, people need to choose to enter into that way that God has made available to us.
Physically, we began to die immediately, though people still lived for hundreds of years. This is testimony to the fact that it took a while to completely destroy God’s Creation. Humanity as well as the rest of God’s Creation became cursed and now, thousands of years later, we are paying a terrible price for it. I thoroughly believe that part of that curse rests in the fact that people have an extremely difficult time living in the moment.
We are constantly replaying events from the past in our minds. We replay them over and over again, making it very difficult to move away from them. We either long for certain events, hate others, or feel compelled to do what we can to rectify yet others. Though the past is truly behind us, we continue to be inextricably bound by it and it most certainly affects the way many of us think and live now. Jesus gave us some notes on this dilemma.
But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God,” (Luke 9:62).
The point is clear and obvious. How can we move in step with what God is doing in the present if we are constantly focusing on what has already happened in our lives? It’s difficult at best and impossible at worst.
The other thing we do is look forward to events that have not transpired yet. This is not necessarily bad. In fact, remembering specific events from our past is not necessarily bad either. What is bad is when either past or future events dictate how we live now by keeping us focused on those things and bringing them into our present. We are often debilitated because of those events and kept from seeing what God is doing now.
But of course, the other problem is that living in the “now” or the “moment” is so fleeting, isn’t it? How do we do that? How can we live in a way that keeps us in each coming-and-going moment while not being bogged down with either the past or the future? It is very difficult at best, isn’t it?
It appears that Jesus was a Master at living in the moment. He never appeared to be in any kind of rush. He never seemed to have unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. He never seemed to entertain the type of regrets that kept Him either chained to the past or kept from the future. He enjoyed life. He lived in the moment. Yes, He cried over Israel (Matthew 23:37) and their unwillingness to embrace Him as Messiah. He regretted their insolence, rebellion, and hard heartedness. He longed to see them embracing Him. He cried at other times too. His life was often marked with sadness, but that does not mean Jesus did not live in the moment. In fact, I believe He so fully lived in the moment that He understood the full measure of temptation, pain, sadness, and joy, things that we rarely comprehend to their fullest extent.
However, Jesus was able to live each moment and even if He did think of what had been or what would come, He didn’t do so with a sense of worry or regret. When He was tempted to do so (as in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed – Luke 22), He remained in prayer until He worked His way past the temptation without ever giving into it. This is why Jesus could offer us the following advice truthfully.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” (Matthew 6:34).
He clearly meant it because He spoke from His own experience. It was not a platitude, but words to actually live by. The fact that He was in no rush to run to Lazarus’ grave and comfort those who mourned tells us that Jesus lived what He taught (cf. John 11:1-45).
It would seem to me that unless and until we learn how to live life in each moment, it is difficult if not impossible to have fellowship with God on any ongoing basis. In other words, as we live in and fall out of living in each moment, our fellowship with God will also be constantly falling in and out of fellowship with Him. It seems that at least one key to living in fellowship with God is to live in each moment.
God exists in the eternal present. This is absolutely clear from Scripture. It can be no other way where God is concerned. Your life…my life and every aspect of it is always before Him. He sees the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10). This not only allows Him to define human history (including your life and all of its intricacies), but also allows God to “tweak” things along the way (though I do not believe He has to do that at all since “tweaking” means that He was not able to see everything before it happened, something I do not believe the Scriptures teach). God is omniscient – He sees everything and knows all things long before they occur.
Yet, when Jesus was born into humanity (while retaining His full deity), He came into our dimensional timeline. This means that He was bound by the laws that bind us (unless He chose to supersede those laws to cooperate with the Father’s will).
For those of us who have salvation, we need to learn how to fellowship with God. It is not automatic, but is instead, a learned process, something that should mark every day of our remaining lives and the longer we are Christians, we should see an increase in the length of our fellowship with God on a daily basis.
To fellowship with God – I believe – means to live in the present as He is in the eternal present. This does not mean we don’t consider what has happened in our lives. It also doesn’t mean we never think about future events. It means that we do not allow those things – either past or future events – to rob us of living in the present because God is at work in our present. While we can and should look forward to His physical return to this planet, we need to understand that He is working now and in order to “see” what He is doing, we also need to live in our present. In fact, we learn in 1 John 3:3 tells us that as we look forward to His return, we “purify” ourselves, meaning we stop doing those things which are detrimental to us and cause us to waste our time.
Ask God to help you not put your hand to the plow and look back or dwell on those things in the past. At the same time, while we all look toward the time when we will be with Christ physically and in person, we need to learn how to live in the present that God has given us now. It is the only way to have honest, real-time fellowship with God. This is part of the process of learning how to fellowship with God. It’s certainly not easy and it is easier for some and more difficult for others. In the end, are you willing?
Entry filed under: christianity, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: christ our fellowship, eternal present, living in the moment.