The Apparent Luxury of Speculation

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 55

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

–James 4:13-15 (ESV)

You do not have the luxury of overthinking and second guessing; you do not get to ask why, what for, or what next. It is enough for you to walk in the simplicity of pure duty, as if there were nothing in the world but God and this present obligation. The present moment is, for you, like a desert where you can see nothing but God himself, and where you enjoy him, concerned only with what he wants from you. Everything else is left alone, forgotten, abandoned to providence.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

There are certain “luxury questions” that you must give up on the path of abandonment. These include questions such as “Why? What for? What next?” But do not worry, you will not miss them. They are not really luxury questions at all; they are an unnecessary burden.

You value a different question: “What is my duty in the present moment?” Unnecessary, self-chosen burdens fall away when you focus on this one necessary burden—which is no burden at all. This is what Jean Pierre de Caussade calls “the simplicity of pure duty.”

You walk in this simplicity by a combination of desire and discernment. First is desire: you must want to do the will of God and nothing else. The next step is discernment: what does the moment demand of you? More accurately, what does the moment communicate to you about the will of God? And this is not a deep mystery; this is simple and on the surface. Unnecessary questions make it seem complicated.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.