One Day at a Time

This is an excellent article by our mentor and friend Dr. John Woodward.

One Day At A Time
By John Woodward

Have you had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? You’re late for work, stuck in traffic, lock your keys in the car, have a headache, get into an argument with your spouse … You wish you could go back and get out of the other side of the bed, if that would help!

More frequently, we waste emotional energy by regretting something in the past, or worrying about what may happen in the future … We can benefit from this basic principle of wisdom: live one day at a time.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said,

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?… Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt 6:27,31-34 NKJV).

Notice in particular verse 34 (NIV), “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” This could be paraphrased, “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time” (Living Bible).

The Lord Jesus is not implying that we should neglect our responsibilities, however. As Proverbs 17:12 states, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Yet whatever tomorrow holds, we know God holds our tomorrow and He holds us!

Evan Hopkins commented on Matthew 6:

“It is against anxious thought that our Lord here warns His hearers. There is nothing in these words to encourage careless neglect of means. It is concerning unbelieving anxiety which He speaks … One secret of freedom from anxious thoughts is in the fact that our heavenly Father knows all about us–knows exactly what we really need. The other is found in following the divine direction, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ “[1]

You may be thinking, “Yes, I know that we should live one day at a time. . .”, but don’t we need to be reminded?

The path of discipleship seems to lead us to basic life principles which we need to learn again and again at deeper levels. For example, I recall that two decades ago Bible teacher Dan DeHaan said to my wife and me, “Many people can quote Galatians 2:20 but do not really know what it means”. Now we admit that in recent years God has been illuminating us much more about the truths of our spiritual union with Christ. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit daily as He applies the Cross in deeper ways to various areas of our lives.

Not only is each day’s trouble “sufficient,” but God’s daily grace for His children is “sufficient” also! As the Lord promised Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9). He gives us grace for the place, one day at a time.

Annie Johnson Flint penned these lines:

“The Two Sufficients”

Evil shall pass with the day that brought it,
As the sea is stayed by the barrier land;
When the Giver of Good shall say, “No farther,”
And bid the foeman restrain his hand;

But the grace of the Lord outstays the evil,
Outlasts the darkness, outruns the morn,
Outwatches the stars in their nightly vigil,
And the foe that returns with the day re-born,
As he left it unwearied, shall find it unworn.

God’s grace is left “unwearied” at the end of the day, and found “unworn” the next morning because His resources are infinite. Each day has sufficient trouble, so let us humble ourselves and depend upon the Savior’s all-sufficient grace.

Our Heavenly Father, we so readily look over our shoulders or beyond the horizon. Guide us to heed Christ’s counsel to trust You fully today. Displace our worries with Your peace which passes all understanding. Amen.


[1] Broken Bread, May 5

Copyright by John Woodward 1999, 2014, 2nd edition. Biblical quotations are from The New King James Version (copyright by Thomas Nelson). Permission is granted to reprint this article when credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com.


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