How to Live in the Moment

How to Live in the Moment

Is your day consumed with regret from the past or fear of the future? Do you ever have times in your life when you say to yourself, “Whew, where did the years go…”? I have.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because I have more responsibilities. Or maybe it’s because I–like most people–can struggle with being present in the present.

What does that mean?

Wherever you are…be all there”. That’s an easy way of saying it, but a hard concept to put into practice–at times. On the other hand, however, it’s quite possible that there are some of you that do not struggle with this at all. In fact, for some of you, it’s hard to relate to not being present in the present. It could be that your personality is more bent to making the most of the time. It could be that you have truly learned to discipline yourself not to try and plan too much for the future, and so you don’t waste brain cells or energy figuring and framing. It could also be that you have accepted the past as the past, and something to learn from and to not let it burden you down in the moment. There are myriad other reasons why a person might not struggle with being present in the present, but suffice it to say that there are probably more of us who–at varying times in our lives–do. And maybe to those who do not at this moment, you will find this article helpful in the future.

Is there any encouragement for those of us who do–at times–struggle with being present in the present? Glory…there is!

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15-16

In essence, one step to being more present in the present is to have clarity on the present. And so the apostle Paul instructs to:

  1. Be careful how you walk…
    • Careful simply means to process information by giving thought to or directing one’s attention to something (BDAG, 179). In other words, Paul is saying consider, weigh, process, and then proceed on your journey, your decision, or your day. The idea is that as you live, consider what you’re doing, i.e. be present!
      • Thus, living is not careless, but considerate. It takes discipline to be considerate, but practically it’s worth our investment of time.
  2. Not as unwise, but wise…
    • Unwise means, one who lacks the power of proper discernment (BDAG, 144). In other words, being unwise is like being blind–to social cues, to self-awareness, to one’s own path, etc. Wise here means more than just the ability to know or understanding one’s own direction, but also to do it with God in mind. In other words, the wise person that Paul is referring to is one who recognizes that this life is really lived on a spiritual battlefield. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
      • Thus, to live carefully and wise is to acknowledge that there are evil forces in this world that seek our harm. They want to distract those who are following Christ with every form of temptation possible. The wise person recognizes this and carefully considers how he walks in this life.
  3. Making the most of your time…
    • To make the most of your time means to redeem and to redeem means to exchange. In other words, one who is focused on redeeming their time is one who considers Paul’s previous words in Ephesians 4:22-24: “…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” 
      • Thus, one way of being present in the present is to exchange the lesser for the greater in life. To choose not to satisfy one’s own passions, desires, or selfish ambitions, but rather to choose the best for someone else, to invest in their life, in their betterment, and in their success. Don’t sacrifice the best on the altar of the acceptable.
  4. Because the days are evil…
    • Essential Paul is saying that the culture they were in (as well as the culture that we are in) is characterized by being morally or socially worthless (BDAG, 851). In other words, the reason to be present in the present, to exchange the lesser for the greater, to make the most of the time is directly related to the evil that permeates the culture and its ability to distract from God’s best.
    • In other words, Paul goes on to write immediately after verse 16 of chapter 5, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” In essence, not being present in the present, not focusing on the exchange of bad for good, and not making the most of our time distracts us from understanding the Lord’s will.
    • To put it another way, not being present in the present is directly related to not being careful how we walk, to not being wise as to the spiritual nature of life, and therefore not redeeming the time. As this happens, how can one be surprised how muddled the Lord’s will seems to be clear in their life. And as a result, they are not present in the present. Life can take on much regret as the years pass by without due consideration to the way one redeems the time.
      • Thus, being present in the present is stimulated by being careful how you walk, being spiritually aware and wise to the evil that permeates your culture through temptations, and exchanging the lesser things for the greatest things.

It’s important to point out that God works all things for good, and He can and will use your wasted and shameful acts and years for good. And so, start now…today. Consider your day now as one where you will be known by and have the experience of being careful how you walk, as one who is wise and who redeems the time.

May we together be present in the present by being careful and wise as we redeem our time! Glory!

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