Following Jesus must be done one day at a time. Jesus told us we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:31-34). In Proverbs, Agur prayed for just enough provision for today, not for a month, a year, or a lifetime (Proverbs 30:8). Agur was a wise man, so if his advice was to focus only on the day ahead of us, that should probably good enough for us. But when Jesus says it, then as His disciples, we must live as He says.
As you study the life of Christ, you see a man who took each day as it came. He was never in a rush and never harried. He spent each day dealing with whatever situation was presenting itself. The only long-term agenda He seemed to have was obeying His Father. Everything else was dealt with as it came.
Modern culture teaches us to live for the long-term. We’re encouraged to set one, five, and ten-year goals. Conventional wisdom says our careers are all about trajectory, climbing higher each year. We forecast finances, weather, and results. Almost every decision we make is with an eye towards the future. This is such a prevailing attitude that we fail to recognize the arrogance of it. We are assuming a future while having no guarantee of another breath. Humanity is fragile. We control almost nothing, and yet we make grandiose plans and projections about tomorrow.
If we are serious about living like Jesus, I am convinced we need to live one day at a time. This goes against everything I’ve ever been taught and against the prevailing wisdom of our society. Many will dismiss such thinking as irresponsible and reckless. As I endeavor to live like Jesus, I confess it is easy to fall back into old habits. I want to plan for my retirement, invest in my future, and disaster-proof my life. And then I’m reminded that Jesus told me not to worry about tomorrow. The only way this makes any sense is if we completely trust Him to take care of our needs. That is a leap few of us are prepared to make.
My advice is to begin small. Ask God to give you just enough food for the day. Or perhaps just enough money. Maybe ask for just enough healing for this day. Let tomorrow take care of itself. As we ask for “just enough”, we can get into the habit of living one day at a time. As you pray, let go of the future and trust it to Him. Ask for just enough faith today to allow you to let go of your plans—just for today.
Our tendency to plan our futures stands in stark contrast to surrendering everything to Jesus. I think God does give us a vision of what we can do for Him with our lives, and I’m not advocating ignoring such a vision. What I am saying is we should focus on doing one thing today to move towards that vision. If God should grant us another day, then we can take another step towards it. Our breath is in His hands. Our choices are in ours. Choose to serve Him one day at a time. If we will do this, the future will take care of itself.