“Be Careful How You Live” was written by Ann Van Hine. I read this post on October 19, 2017 on the devotional blog “Laced with Grace” where Ann is a regular contributor. She also writes on her own website, “Random Ramblings: Thoughts from Everyday Life.” Ann and “Laced with Grace” graciously gave me permission to reblog her post so I could share it with you.
And I wanted to share Ann’s post with you because she says so well and concisely some of the things I too have written in blog posts, in my book Brokenness to Beauty,* and in the Brokenness to Beauty Bible Study (still a work in progress). I like her illustrations that bring home the message being considered.
When I read Ann’s opening quote below, taken from Schreve’s book, I thought of Solomon’s words, “Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10). I always inwardly chuckle and shake my head when I hear people do exactly what the wisest man who ever lived said not to do.
Equally applicable, pertaining to our future is James 4:13–15, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city … .’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” Do we really mean “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” when we pray? Are we really taking Jesus at his word to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, not all the other stuff of life?
And we do well to take heed to Paul’s admonition in Philippians 3:13, 14, quoted below, to leave our past behind us—all the bad and the good in our lives—and hotly pursue Jesus Christ and the purposes of God. Today.
And finally, in a world inundated with distractions (read media, social and otherwise), we must learn to “Be here now,” as Randy used to teach our summer staff at Mustard Seeds and Mountains. Live in the Today God has given us.
Enough commentary. Here is Ann’s post, “Be Careful How You Live.” Leave a comment on her site or mine to let us know how God encouraged you through this little article.
In Jeff Schreve’s book Real Encouragement for Real Life, he states:
“I have found that a good number of people live in the past. They live longing for the good ole days – or mourning past failures, wishing they could go back and do it over again…God wants us to learn from the past and let go of the past. While some live in the past, others life in the future…Living in the future also robs you of the precious present because tomorrow may never come. All we have to live in is today. Certainly, we are to plan for tomorrow, but we are to live in today and make the most of each day.”
As we discussed these ideas in Sunday School this past Sunday someone commented that living in the past is like driving while constantly looking in the rearview mirror. Unfortunately, I had a story about that. A few years ago, my mother was so worried about the person driving behind her that she failed to navigate the off ramp on to her street. She took down a highway sign, a light post and stopped just feet from a tree all within yards of her home. Thankfully she wasn’t injured but the car was totaled. Rearview mirrors are useful but we need to drive looking through the windshield.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13 – 14.
I think another hazard for us today is we can be somewhere but not “be” present because of technology. I can be with you but be texting someone else or googling something. Technology is great but being present, being in the now is hard. N.O.W. = No Other Worries or Work. Giving my full attention to those who I am with at this moment for me that would be making the most of every opportunity. And isn’t that what Jesus did. He was always fully present with whomever he was with. I saw a church sign once that said, “Jesus never hurried.” That is another great thing to strive for.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
I am a mom of grown daughters, widow of a FDNY firefighter, retired small business owner, volunteer docent, children’s ministries worker, friend, avid reader, published writer, event speaker and breast cancer survivor. In 2015 I got a new title – Mom-mom. On long car rides, I like to drink coffee, eat sour patch kids and listen to podcasts – West Wing Weekly and the Moth are my favorites.
According to the Clifton StrengthsFinder, my strengths are achiever, connectedness, input, learner and intellection. In other words, I like “to do lists”, believe everything is connected, I’m inquisitive, love to learn and like to think.