Robert Frost wrote a poem about a man in his horse and buggy on a cold, dark winter night going through the countryside. He gets into the woods, and enjoys the falling snow and the beautiful evening. He stops, and the horse shakes his head as if to ask, Why are we stopping in this moment in time?
In the last stanza of this poem, Robert Frost wrote –
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
In his words, we see tension between the miles and the moments in life. Even Paul says, “Forgetting what is behind, I press toward the goal” (Philippians 3:13-14).
We all have a press and pull in the moments in our lives. We have times of mindfulness. We’re told to stop and smell the flowers and get off the merry-go-round. Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matthew 6:34)
It matters because we live both in the miles and the moments of our life going. We can’t avoid it.
When moments meet expectations, they smash against reality. Your goals stand face to face with the giant in your life. You say to yourself, I intend to be patient. That’s the miles; that’s tomorrow. Then you wake up and life happens with your three-year-old. Or you intend to get healthy, but then you face the chocolate chip cookie.
The miles are the things you look to in the future – the hopes, the intentions and the expectations of what will come. And reality sidetracks you and disappointment sets in.
His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Tomorrow brings new realities. That’s why living intentionally comes down to the moments. You have to ask, “How am I going to respond now – today, in the next moment?”
God’s Word speaks to both.
In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul speaks to believers, emphasizing some are starving spiritually because they’re not applying what they’re being taught about how they are to live this new life in Christ.
- “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 4:1 NLT).
- He redeemed you. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 4:7 ESV).
- “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 4:13 NKJV).
- He made you alive (Ephesians 2:5).
Get a picture of what you have in Christ by reading Ephesians. Paul ends Ephesians chapter 3 with “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21 ESV). That could be the end of Ephesians. He gave them the big picture of why it matters. But he starts Chapter 4 with the word therefore, and then he gets practical.
The last three chapters of Ephesians are all about the moments of our lives and how we are to respond in the moments.
- “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24 ESV).
- Husbands love your wives; wives submit to your husbands (Ephesians 5:25-26).
- Children obey your parents (Ephesians 6:1).
When you get up each morning, here’s how to live. We are to always bring it back the Scripture. There is no other light.