I accepted Christ as a 7 year old child. I understood that I was a sinner and that I could not save myself. I knew I did not want to go to hell.
I was baptized and fully confident in my “fire insurance.” If I were to die, I was assured that I would go to heaven.
My past was redeemed, my future was secure, but what about what happens in between?
Have you ever noticed how much of the Bible is written in the present tense? I don’t just mean the letters in the New Testament. The Old Testament’s psalms, proverbs and more are written loaded down with the truth of who God is and what God does in the present tense.
My devotional this week looked at the present tense of just one verse, Galatians 2:20:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (emphasis mine)
The present tense truth is based on the past tense truth of who Jesus is and what Jesus did – “I have been crucified with Christ . . . . in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
David Mathis was quoted by Desiring God on Instagram the same morning I read the devotional mentioned above. Mathis also reminded me of the “present tense” of God’s Word. He said, “God’s written word . . . is what the Holy Sprit ‘says.’ Not just ‘said.’ Not just ‘has spoken.’ But ‘says.’ He is speaking.”
Then there was this quote on a church sign on my way to work: “Don’t say God isn’t speaking if your Bible is closed.”
God is not done working in us just because we have been saved. He isn’t just waiting to call us home for some future reward. He has a plan for our here and now. He wants to grow us and He wants to talk to us through His Word.
Our present tense is a big deal.
In middle school, the idea of discipleship was explained to me and I began the “now” part of my faith. I learned how to have a quiet time, to read my Bible, to talk to others about my faith, and other spiritual disciplines.
Middle school was a long time ago. There have been parts of my “now” journey where I slipped into complacency and self-righteousness in those disciplines. I practiced a religion instead of pursuing a relationship. But through it all, God was patiently kind with me. He never left me. He continued to lovingly pursue me.
A big part of the reason I am writing this blog is so I have a place I can chronicle my present tense, what God is teaching me right now.
Last week was a long week. In some aspects, it was a hard week. But God . . . as I was in His Word, He did speak to me. He lived in me by the faith that He gives me. faith in who He is and what He has done (exactly like the verse above). As I sought Him, He revealed Himself to me. Yes, it was a hard week, but He was a good, good God, faithful in all the ways. AND that faith, my faith, grew.
I want to share one more quote from my devotional this week: “We need to study, examine, teach, preach, counsel, and encourage one another with the nowism of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Until I hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want, no I need, to live in the now of what God is teaching me, doing in me and accomplishing through me.
Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow is not promised.
What does the “now” of today look like? What He is teaching me through His Word? How am I applying that truth?
My “now” with Jesus this week proved over and over again the truth of who He is in my “now.”
The gospel IS good news just not for my past (covering my sins) or for my future (the promise of paradise) but especially for all that takes place in between.