“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” This is Scrooge’s resolve when he realizes that an altered life will have an effect on the things he has seen. But what exactly does he mean by living in the past, present, and future? Whatever Scrooge means by this, we are called, in a way, to do the same.
Paul charges his readers in Ephesians 2 to remember the time in their lives when they were not part of God’s kingdom and not partakers of the blessings of a relationship with God. He tells them to remember what life was like when they were dead. While remembering may not exactly be living in the past, we do need, from time to time, to remind ourselves of our life in the past to avoid the pitfall of taking the present for granted. God really has done a miracle in our lives, and it is good to praise God for this work in the past.
What about the future? We look to that day when God will make all things right. Paul charges the Colossians in chapter 3 to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. For when Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”
But more than just thinking about the future, we are to live as though the future is a current reality. We have been raised up with Christ. We are currently seated with him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). We are not living in the future, like Scrooge, to change some calamity that we know about. We are living in the future as a reassurance that whatever the present might be, we have a secure place with God. This secure future is a constant reminder of the grace of God in our lives.
Which leads us to the present, which we can’t avoid. But what kind of life will that be? That is the question each of us must ask. Are you living with a purpose? I visited with a friend recently who is seeking to do that very thing. He wants to make the best use of every hour for God’s glory, and he is making decisions, some hard, that put him in the best situation to do so.
Every Saturday at midnight, everyone’s time account for the week is the same. We all have 168 hours. We can fritter those away, or we can be purposeful and live them for God’s glory. I’m not talking about busyness and seeing how much we can get done. I’m talking about a purposeful use of the hours that best takes advantage of our skills and gifts, which includes rest and time with friends and family and work and time with God in prayer and his word. And that takes purpose because the world offers distractions left and right.
So as we prepare for the birth of our Savior, let us remember what life was like without him. Let us look to the future of what life will be like in his presence, and then let us live in today for his glory.