I realize that for some people reading this that the title may be controversial at best. I am sure that some people may argue that there are other words more dangerous than the word “tomorrow,” and while I respect other people’s opinions, I simply disagree.
I believe that the word “tomorrow” is the most dangerous and most powerful lie the devil uses against humanity. Let me explain why…
I will pose it with a question first. How many times have you ever said something like…
- I will start my diet tomorrow
- Tomorrow I will spend more time with the kids
- I want to begin getting into shape tomorrow
- Tomorrow I will spend more time growing my relationship with God
You get the picture…
You see, tomorrow is a moving target. It never happens. Any given day has twenty-four hours, and from that day’s perspective, the next twenty-four hours is tomorrow. However, the moment the clock strikes midnight, it resets the twenty-four hours, and the previous day’s tomorrow now becomes today.
The reason why this is so dangerous is that tomorrow is always ethereal. Since it never comes into reality, we take it for granted that there will be a “tomorrow” from today’s perspective. Since we never actually see tomorrow, it has no substance, and in a weird way it diminishes the force and fragility of today. In fact, it diminishes the force of the moment that we are living in. See the blog posts Minute by Minute and In an Instant that both touch on that topic.
The devil uses the concept of tomorrow to lure us into a false belief that we are guaranteed one. Yet scripture clearly tells us that we are not. Consider Proverbs 27:1…
1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth. (NKJV)
Also consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:34.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
(NKJV, italics added for emphasis)
The KJV says at the end of that verse, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Also, consider the infamous words that James wrote in chapter 4…
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;
14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away
15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
(NKJV, italics added for emphasis)
All three of these passages point to the fragility of life as it exists today…now…not tomorrow. James says that if we are boasting that there is a tomorrow, then we are doing so out of arrogance that is considered evil in its own right. Jesus said that there is enough evil to fill today, and tomorrow will take care of itself. Proverbs is telling us that none of us knows what today will bring.
The great lie of the devil is that tomorrow will somehow magically appear, and we can plan to make changes for good at that time. He deceives Christians by telling them that they can effect changes in their lives tomorrow, so it does not matter whether or not they spend time in prayer, scripture, or worship today. “Tomorrow” will be just fine. He deceives non-believers into a false hope that they can put off salvation until “tomorrow” without any thought of what today will bring to pass.
It is an endless cycle, and for the devil there are never too many “tomorrows” to promise you.
A little more than two decades ago, there was a young man whom I had met at a local college. We will call his name Bruce for clarity sake in the story. We had a mutual friend…one of my best friends…whom we will refer to as Matthew. To set the stage, Bruce was always the proverbial “life of the party” who never seemed to have a serious side to him…ever.
Matthew told me the story about how Bruce had been over at his house late one evening. Matthew lived in the country, so on a clear night the sky would be filled with stars. They were both looking at the magnificent celestial canvas, when Bruce suddenly went somber and turned the previous light-hearted conversation to the topic of God and Heaven. He began asking Matthew why he (Matthew) loved God…why he had ever wanted to be a Christian…it may have included conversation about what it meant to be a Christian, though I must admit a lot of time has passed since Matthew told me this story. What I do remember is that Matthew said that Bruce suddenly asked him this question…“Why can I not live my life like I want to now and become a Christians when I am fifty?” In other words…a lot of tomorrows.
Matthew and I had this conversation about two years after Bruce was killed in a bizarre automobile accident. He was twenty-two.
Bruce had bought into the lie that he had tomorrow to repent. The devil had convinced him that he could change tomorrow instead of acting on it today. To this day, I do not know where Bruce ended up when he stepped into eternity that Sunday afternoon, and I think about him frequently.
A perfect example of a similar thing can be found in scripture. When Moses went to Pharaoh to tell him to let God’s people go, Pharaoh responded with harshness against the Hebrews and thumbed his nose in the face of God. The resulting punishment was what we now know as the Ten Plagues. Each plague was designed with increasing severity to give Pharaoh every opportunity to repent and come into obedience to what God had commanded (even though he himself did not believe in the sovereignty of God). The first plague, recorded in Exodus 7, was the Nile being turned into blood. Scholars disagree as to whether or not it was actual blood. All agree, though, that it was poisoned and unusable through some means. The second plague was the plague of frogs, recorded in chapter 8. Scripture says that they were in such abundance that they were in every home, bed, bowl…even on the people themselves. Read Exodus 8:3-4, 6…
3 So the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into your house, into your bedroom, on your bed, into the houses of your servants, on your people, into your ovens, and into your kneading bowls.
4 And the frogs shall come up on you, on your people, and on all your servants.
6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt
Now read verse 8:
8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.”
There is a suggested urgency and insistence that Moses go pray for the frogs to go away. This is a complete shift in thought compared to the first plague. Read Exodus 7:20-22…
20 And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the Lord commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
21 The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.
23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.
(NKJV, italics added for emphasis)
Two plagues, two different reactions…one passive, the other actively distressed. Now, returning to chapter 8, Moses asked Pharaoh to tell him when he would like for Moses to pray for this intercession. Now one would think that with this many frogs in every corner of every house throughout the land of Egypt (including Pharaoh’s house), that Pharaoh would have been quick to say something like, “Now! Get rid of the frogs now.” However, notice what he says in verses 9-10:
9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only.”
10 So he [Pharaoh] said, “Tomorrow.” And he [Moses] said, “Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God.
11 And the frogs shall depart from you, from your houses, from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only.”
(NKJV, Italics added for emphasis, brackets added for clarity)
If you continue reading that chapter, you will find that Moses did, in fact, pray for the frogs to be removed, and once they were Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the Hebrews leave. In other words, he was going to change tomorrow. There was just so much stubbornness and pride that changing today was not good enough. Unfortunately, he suffered eight more plagues that ultimately destroyed the entire nation and killed his first born before he let the Hebrews go, and even then he did not learn his lesson because he tried to kill them at the Red Sea before it returned to its full strength and destroyed him along with his entire army. Tomorrow never came for him.
How similar is that to our own lives? How stubborn we are sometimes in our own rights where we refuse to let go of a habit or a sinful behavior today with the promise to God (and ourselves) that we will tomorrow? How many times have we had the intentions of getting stronger in our relationship with Christ…reading the bible more, praying harder, learning how to fast, etc…only to find that we got busy with so much today that we ran out of time…so we promise God (and ourselves) that we will do better tomorrow only to find it to be a repeat of the previous day? How many resolutions made each New Year mirror those from previous years?
My pastor preached a message on this very subject on New Year’s Eve last year (watch the sermon No Going Back here). He made the statement that all too many times the resolutions this year look exactly the same made five years earlier. Later in that same sermon, though, he asked this question…“If what you are doing today were repeated every day for the rest of your life, would you be healthy? Wealthy? Wise? Stronger in Christ? (paraphrased and embellished). In other words, could the habits you are doing today sustain you over time? If the answer is no then you need to change whatever habits those are.
While the devil is always looking at tomorrow, God is looking at today to effect changes in our lives so that it can sustain us in the long-run. Re-read Jesus’ words in Matthew. He said to focus on “today” and the evil that is sufficient within the parameters of these twenty-four hours. James and Proverbs say the same thing in different words.
God is about the “now” and “today” and focusing on this moment because this moment…is all we have. The heartbeat you just had and the breath you last took are the only ones that you are guaranteed…not the next heartbeat or breath.
Consider Matthew 24:27, 36 where Jesus is speaking of His triumphant return at the end of the age:
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Now look at how it is worded in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52:
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Both passages infer something much deeper than just what they read on the surface…that is that at any moment the trumpet can sound and Jesus appears faster than a lightning flash for the Rapture. In other words, there may not be a tomorrow because Jesus could return at any moment. There’s something for you to think about…
God is about changing your life today in order for you to be better equipped and better blessed in the future. He does not want to delay, which is why He never tells us to wait until tomorrow. It is always today.
If you are finding yourself thinking in terms of tomorrow and not today, then…ahem…today is the day to change that. You need to change how you think to be focused on the present…not the past…and not what you will or will not do in the future. You need to be focused on how you live your life today.
Any bad habits, anything that you have been putting off until a later time, or any changes to yourself to improve yourself and your relationship with God needs to be addressed today…not tomorrow which may never come for any of us…today.