Hey, this is John Ortberg. This is passage to wisdom. And the word for today is actually two words. Wake up. I remember a long time ago, talking with a friend mentor teacher, entrepreneur, Neil Warren. He was the psychologist used to be the head of the school of psychology at fuller and was an author. He was talking one time about how easy it is to adjust drift through a moment an hour a day. And Neil said that sometimes when he would get in the shower in the morning, he would get so urgent about wanting to experience each moment of the day to be fully present, to be fully there. He would just yell at himself in the shower, wake up, Hey, Neil, wake up. And there was something very enduring about Neil Warren, who is trained at the U of Chicago under, uh, RA and Carl Rogers therapy of being very, uh, unconditionally accepting giving Warren positive regard.
Wake up, wake up. I don’t wanna miss today. This morning I left, uh, where Nathan and I live. I walk about a hundred yards over to little room that I used for an office and was between four and five o’clock in the morning. And there was a little animal in the darkness waddling past that I realized it was a skunk. I walked right next to skunk, wake up Ferris. Bueller said, life moves pretty fast. If you don’t wake up, you might miss it. Way more importantly. The apostle Paul says, wake up, oh, sleep arise from the dead for the light of Christ shines on you. And the idea of this is not simply live in the present moment, although it is. And we’ll talk about that. It is that what we need to experience is a kind of resurrection that my tendency to sleep walk through the day to miss this present moment is not simply a psychological issue. It is a kind of spiritual deadness in me that I cannot change on my own.
So that brings us to this passage from uncle screw tape to warm wood. I had noticed of course, that the humans were having a lull in their European war. What they naively called the war. This is written during world war II, and I’m not surprised that there is a corresponding lull in the patient’s anxieties. Do we want to encourage this or to keep him worried? Tortured fear and stupid confidence are both desirable. States of mind. What are remarkable line? I was thinking when I read this, I have experienced in my life roughly about 59 years of stupid confidence and about five years of tortured fear, I prefer stupid confidence, but both of them can be equally dangerous to the wellbeing of our souls.
Screw tip goes down. Our choice between them raises important questions. The humans live in time, but our enemy, God Destin them to eternity. He therefore I believe wants them to attend Shely to two things to eternity itself. And to that point of time, which they call the present for the present is the point at which time touches eternity as an extraordinary observation, all of past we cannot access or the future. We cannot access somehow in between them. There is this moment and life happens here and the eternal is in the present of the present moment. And of it only humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our enemy has of reality as a whole in it alone, freedom and actuality are offered them amazing to think what we experience in this present moment is available to God transcending all of time and space.
He would therefore, uh, have them continually concerned either with eternity, which means being concerned with him. Now you may well know John 17 three famously the only place in the Bible that defines eternal life. Jesus is praying and he says, may they have eternal life? Which is to know you, the father and interactive participatory engagement with God that is eternal life everlasting life is quite different. Eternal life is not primarily about duration. It’s about quality it’s to experience God. And the only way I can do that is in this moment right here, he would have them continually concerned either with eternity, which means being concerned with him or with the present, either meditating on their eternal union, with or separation from himself or else obeying the present voice conscience, bearing the present, cross, receiving the present grace giving. Thanks for the present pleasure.
And I thought this was quite an inspired list. So to wake up to experience this day right now and all through this day, you might think of each of these four items that Louis talks about to obey the present voice of conscience. What’s the next right thing I can do? What action can I take? What obedience can I offer? What love can I give? What encouragement can I send along to obey the voice of conscience to accept the present cross? There is suffering that comes to me. There are things that I cannot fix, and I can take that in a self ping way in a Marty way. I can try to resist it. I can try to deny it, or I can surrender God, you will be done.
And then thirdly, receiving the present grace and that is to enjoy. I think of my buddy, Ron, Ron, I hope you’re listening to this. Enjoy is the business, the organization, the name that Ron has given to the movement that he is leading and that faces wonderful moments. These days, this week, I can receive grace with joy or giving. Thanks for the pleasant for the present pleasure, gratitude attitude. So each of these actions, the opportunity of duty to do the right thing, the opportunity to bear suffering with the right kind of spirit, the opportunity to enjoy what it is in this moment, what I’m eating or seeing, or reading or hearing, watching, feeling, and then the opportunity for gratitude. God, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It roots me in this present, which paradoxically roots me into eternity, cuz that’s where eternity in the present intersect screw tape goes on.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal and from the present. With this interview, we sometimes tempt a human, say a widow or a scholar by the way, Lewis lived a while ago. There is kind of a sexist theme with him in the way that he treats gender stuff. So just to note that great man way better mind and heart than I will ever have, but, uh, that is what it is. Interestingly enough, Lewis himself would become a widower and uh, his, his mourn for the past would be so deep that he actually wrote a remarkable book called a grief, observed about his pain as a widower. So he would learn about that. We sometimes tempt to human, to live in the past, but this is of limited value for, they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature.
And to that extent, resembles eternity far better to make them live in the future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction. So that thought about the future. Inflams hope in fear. Also it is unknown to them so that in making them think about it, we make them think of on realities in a word. The future is of all things. The thing, least like eternity, such a remarkable observation. I would often think of them as quite connected with each other. There’s the future tomorrow. And then the next day. And then someday there will be eternity, but actually no eternity is going on right now. The future is the most completely temporal part of time for the past is frozen, no longer flows. The present is all lit up with eternal raise. Hence the encouragement we have given to all those schemes of thought, such as creative evolution, scientific humanism, secular communism, or secular capitalism, which fix men’s affections on the future on the very core of temporality, hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. What we are invited to instead is to live in. Now this moment, wake up what will happen in the future bad things. Oh yeah, for sure. I used to wish that I could know what the future held now. I’m so grateful that I do not,
But I know that God is there and I know that I will not find him tomorrow. Today. I can only find him right here right now. And he is present and that his coldness of spirit sin anxiety, the evil one that tempts me to leave here. Wake up, wake up. That is a call. Not just for attention, but for resurrection. Oh God, help me to wake up as best I can. I put tomorrow in your hands, not knowing what will happen. God help me to be awake to you today in Jesus name. I will see you next time. I hope.