Are You Living For Today?
“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…”
See Philippians 4:12
For so many years I lived a life of discontentment. I was never truly happy, I never felt accomplished, and really, I was never satisfied with anything or anyone–myself included.
The overall picture of my life was always changing and getting better, but my mind was not. If you zoomed in to my life even closer, the main crux of my discontentment was the fact that I didn’t know how to enjoy what was presently going on around me–I was always wanting to go on to something else.
My problem was I didn’t know how to enjoy “the moment.”
What’s strange is I can remember this pattern beginning even as a kid. I’d think to myself:
“If I could just have my own room, then I’ll be happy.”
“If I could be popular in school, then I know life will be good.”
“If Mom and Dad would get back together, then life would be great.”
“If I could just turn 18! Then I can move out, and I can finally enjoy myself!”
This continued on into adulthood:
“If I could just get Jennifer to date me, then life would be wonderful.”
“If I could just move out of my father-in-law’s basement, I’d be happy.”
“If I could just build my own home and live in a nice neighborhood, then things would be so much better.”
“If I could just get in shape, then I’d be satisfied.”
“If I could just get my company to grow, then we’d have money, then we’d finally be happy.”
I was never satisfied. Ever. Period. The enemy had me convinced that something always needed to be different before I could enjoy my life.
Eventually, I thought porn, drinking, and video games would fix this. Nope.
After none of that worked, I thought that becoming a religious Christian, shutting off the world, telling people, “STOP SINNING OR GO TO HELL!” while placing all my time and energy in making sure I never messed up (and if I did, I would beat myself up for a week)–or if I read my Bible at least an hour each day–MAYBE, FINALLY, this Christian stuff would fix this terrible longing in my heart!…No way.
Religion only made things even more miserable because it’s impossible to live up to so many Christians’ “idea of perfection”–which is their own works, or their works added to Jesus’ finished work. What they don’t understand is they haven’t earned anything. All they have, has been given to them for free—just like you and me. They are in for a surprise when they meet Jesus and He reveals their works won’t buy them a fancier spot in heaven. In Christ, we are all equal.
The devil even had me sold on the incorrect idea that if I never missed church (while getting mad at people who wouldn’t go to church)–this would finally take care of the “never satisfied feeling” inside me! And worse, I thought if I never sinned again, I’d finally be able to reach this dangling carrot of contentment!
But it didn’t…none of this gave me what what I was looking for. I soon found out that I couldn’t not sin–that only Jesus had this ability, and that it’s simply my job to rest in His grace, do my best, and enjoy this free gift of spiritual perfection in what He did for me–for free. The preachers who are telling everyone they will never sin again if they are truly saved, need to be smacked…gently, of course. It doesn’t work like that. They are damaging the souls of believers by keeping their complete forgiveness hostage. This method also rejects the lost. They are making Jesus look like a loan-shark–someone we can’t pay back and He’s gonna hurt us bad for it. So if that’s you, please, stop.
I could sit here and type up pages and pages of stuff that I thought would fix the emptiness on the inside of me–that one “thing” to make me finally feel content! All I wanted was to not always be wanting more–or longing to be somewhere else!
Who could teach me how to enjoy the moment?! Who could teach me how to live for today?!
By Him teaching me my value, through what He’s done for me, Christ began to reveal in me how to see the beauty of every moment in my life! EVERY moment! Not just when things are good, or when I accomplish a feat–BUT RIGHT NOW! TODAY! THIS SECOND!
So I’m no longer saying such dumb things as, “I wish I was living in the good old days”—NO! TODAY is the good old days! TODAY! I’m no longer looking ahead, relying on TOMORROW to make me feel content on the inside. NO! “TODAY IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE! I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!” (Psalm 118:24). TODAAAAAAAAAAY!
We must begin to thank God for today. “But Matt, what about–” No. TODAY. My friend, no matter what…today. Jesus has taught me how precious every breath is, how blessed I am to even have a beating heart, and how honored I am to be alive on His awesome Creation.
He wants to do the same for you.
So today, my friends, know this: Jesus wants to teach you how to have an abundant life, a life of complete contentment. Like the Apostle Paul said, “I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation. I can to all things through Christ who strengthens me” (see Philippians 4:12,13). Your strength, your enjoyment, for today, is Christ in you–the Holy Spirit. He’s there. Once you begin to combine everything you are, with everything He is, right now, this very moment…you’ll have it!
A prayer for you: Say this with me, “Jesus, help me. Help me to begin to understand you better. Help me to remove anything in my life that creates stress, discontentment, grumpiness, or removes joy from my soul. Help me to shake off these loose articles to where all that is left is YOU, and what YOU want in my life! And for the things, people, and situations which still attempt to cause discontentment and trouble–that you are ALLOWING in my life to strengthen me and hone my faith–show me how to handle everything and everyone, with grace. Teach me how to exude the same grace that you exude towards me. I want to be just like you in all of my actions and attitudes. I want to enjoy the miracle that is my life, each and every day. Thank you. Amen.”
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