Office: 0141 222 2920

This Is The Day

In our modern world it can be hard to live one day at a time. We’re encouraged to look ahead in our jobs, anticipate the latest upgrade, plan the next holiday, and save for retirement. Whilst many of these opportunities open up for people who become clean and sober, living one day at a time remains a staple for recovery groups both inside and outside Christian circles.


Of course, this philosophy is never meant to encourage a haphazard approach to life for the failure to plan is to plan to fail.  Living in the day is emphasised to encourage people to focus on remaining clean and sober for one day, and to limit the pressures of life to bite sized, manageable chunks. It is often the inability to do that, and the tendency to project ahead and manage the future, imagining all the potential outcomes, creating unmanageable pressure points that are beyond our control, that leads to an escape into oblivion through some form of addiction and sin.  


Well in the bible we are given plenty of motivation to live in the day for it leads to joy, contentment, and worship, whereas projecting ahead leads to worry, presumption, and pride.  Let’s allow the bible to speak and to encourage us for today.


Living in the day leads to joy.


Psalm 118:24 has been made famous for the children’s song ‘this is the day’ as the psalmist famously writes ‘this is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.’


The Psalmist’s joy in the day arises from his awareness of God’s goodness (verse 1), His everlasting love (verse 2), His help in life (verse 7), His protection (verse 11), His victory (verse 14), His presence (verse 19) and His saving work (verse 21). For the addict in recovery, living in the day leads to a similar sense of joy as all these themes apply having come through the other end of addiction. For the Christian (in recovery or not) these themes also have a special meaning as people who have experienced God in the gospel.


Living in the day leads to contentment.


In Matthew 6 there are some famous words of Jesus about worrying. When we worry, we sometimes think we’re doing something to help our situation, but Jesus suggests that the opposite is true. He says, ‘who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life’ (verse 27) and he gives a surprising command that sounds like the advice to live in the day.  He says ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ 


The reason for these words is because there is a tendency in the human heart to worry about the basic necessities in life like clothes and food. This leads to discontentment (verse 25, 28) as  people ‘run after these things’ similar to those who don’t know God and are unaware of his daily care.  


This of course is a common issue in our world but for those who have been on the sharp end of addiction they may feel this in a more pointed fashion. It could be the bare fridge or the shabby clothes because every penny has been spent on using. It may be the mounting debt or the lost job because of addiction, that intensifies that feeling all the more. Before long, a legitimate concern to be fed and clothed in life becomes an all-consuming worry that opens the door to ‘run after these things’ in all sorts of elaborate, cunning, and sometimes dishonest ways.


So, for the addict who is now in recovery, living in the day is crucial for according to Jesus it has the opposite effect. Living in the day slows us down and allows people to observe God’s behaviour specifically in recovery (perhaps along the lines of Psalm 118) but also generally in nature and so once again personally in our lives.


The Lord says ‘look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (verse 26).  


He also says ‘why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin, Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown in to the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith.’ (verses 28-30).


Living in the day leads to worship. 


At Hope For Glasgow, one of the common themes in relation to addiction and recovery is that of the worship problem or if you like, idolatry. That is that human beings are inclined to worship created things rather than the creator, which results in all manner of sin in life, including addiction. It’s no mistake then, that in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus’ teaching on worry (and living in the day) come hot on the heels of his exhortation to ‘store up for yourselves treasures in heaven’ (verse 19) and to remember that we ‘cannot serve two masters’ for love for one will create a corresponding hate for the other (verse 24). 


At the heart of our worship problem then, is the question as to whether we will treasure God first and foremost which Jesus further underlines in verse 33 when he says, ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ 


All of the aforementioned issues work against this for they epitomise someone who is first seeking the created things of the world (food, clothing….or a drink!) and chasing after them for a security that can only be found in God and so they will always be chasing. With this mindset it’s impossible to live in the day and appreciate and worship God for his care and presence in Christ in the present. 


So, living in the day leads to joy, contentment and worship but projecting ahead leads to worry. There are then two further examples from James’ letter to the church where projecting ahead is not only a danger to our mental health, but also to our character. 


They’re spelled out clearly in James 4:13-16 where we read;


‘Now listen, you who say, ‘”today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.’


Presumption and pride are the final two issues, and it is the desire to avoid these character issues that give further motivation to live in the day. 

Presumption puts people at the centre by creating a false notion that we are in control of affairs. This is why the world of business is such a good example to us, because many a financial crash and many a stress and strain has been caused because people plan ahead financially, as if the future is certain and predictable.

For the addict in recovery this is not irrelevant as it’s not uncommon for people to find their feet, steady themselves and then become presumptuous about what lies ahead. Better finances may be assumed, better relationships, material gain and improved job prospects can be assumed in light of the bright future that you feel should now lie ahead.


Yet it is this kind of presumption that needs cut down to size for even if we have found our feet and begin to feel a little bit more stable and even indestructible in life(!), we are ultimately a mere mist as James highlights. That’s the reality we are to live in. The addict should be well placed to know this as they have lived in the mist, on the edge of death and decay and have often experienced first-hand the vulnerability of poor health and the fragility of life. 


Furthermore, often it is when the  trappings of success are ripped away suddenly (and so easily) when self-will runs riot in addiction that the addict is brought to his or her knees. So, presumption and pride should be easy to identify and understand as it should be for any Christian who is familiar with the nature of sin. It is living in the day that helps to do that. It is by living in the day that we understand the present as a gift that is in no way deserved and it is by living in the day that we realise our time is in reality short.


It’s actually because time is short that James says in verse 17 ‘anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.’ Sin is as much about failing to do the right thing as it is about doing the wrong thing and living in the day makes it all the clearer that the time to live out the Lord’s teaching is always now for, we never truly know how much time we have on earth. 


This is humbling, it takes a swipe at our pride and a bite out of our presumptuous attitudes in life but it’s good for recovery.


Jesus of course isn’t asking us to do anything he wouldn’t do. He was joyful before his Father (Luke 10:21) and lived each day in constant awareness of Him (John 4:34). He was content in the midst of fear (Mark 4:38) and even in knowing the future, he humbled himself to the point of dying on the cross for sin (Philippians 2:5-11). 


So keep it in the day and be blessed with joy, contentment and worship and beware of projecting head which will lead to worry, presumption and pride.























Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *