Today I saw the “One Day At A Time” slogan again on a bumper sticker. It is often used by recovering alcoholics to remind us that staying sober is a day by day walk of trusting and obeying Christ, one step at a time. We need to forget what’s gone, appreciate God’s blessings today, and look forward to what He has in store for us next. That mind-set reminds me of Jesus’ words:
Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
The message of living “one day at a time” is woven throughout the fabric of Scripture. The Lord supplied the Hebrews with manna day by day and Christ taught us to ask the Father for daily provision, daily forgiveness, and daily protection. Jesus teaches us to take life day by day and to be grateful for all the little and big things He sends us. Not to stress about what we can’t control, but to trust in His control over everything. Pastor Dave Zuleger reminds us that we cannot defeat anxiety, fear, and fretting with to-do lists and well-planned schedules, although these have their place. Rather, it’s better to start each day by remembering Jesus’ words in Lamentations:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” (Lam 3:22-24)
These Scriptures are not meant to encourage carelessness, laziness, or passivity in us. Reminders of the Father’s love, mercy, and faithfulness are meant to make us trust Him and do good, one step at a time, one day at a time (see Ps 37:3,27; Titus 3:1,8,14). These thoughts remind me of a poem by Sybil Farish Partridge (1856-1917):
Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray; Keep me, my God, from wandering just for today.
Let me diligently work and faithfully pray; Let me be kind in word and deed, Father today.
Let me be slow to speak, prompt to obey; Help me deny myself and serve you, Savior today.
Let me no wrong or hurtful word carelessly say; Set a seal upon my lips, Spirit today
Make me follow you, Lord, and not to stray; Keep me in step with your Spirit all through the day.
Teach me when to go forward and when I should stay; Make me wise, make me trust you, dear Lord, today.
And if today this life of mine should ebb away, Take me with you to Paradise, Jesus today.
Lord, for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray; But save me, help me, keep me, love me again every day.
Trusting and obeying Christ one day at a time; that is enough. Let us not look back and regret the past too much, for that is gone. Let us not worry about the future, for that has not yet come and it’s in Jesus hands. Let us serve Him today, in the present, and make this day our thank-offering to Him.
Note: I have adapted Partridge’s poem.