Today is significant. Often we lose sight of this; we hope for some sort of significance in the life that we live, but yet that significance seems distant and disconnected from any particular day. We vaguely dream for something big, yet today seems so mundane. But I think that these two seemingly contradictory realities are actually connected in subtle ways that we often miss.
One of the phrases that has served as a guidepost to me over the years is "Every Day You Are Becoming Who You Will Be Forever". This statement has often given me a proper perspective by recalibrating my outlook and by pleading with me to not overlook the bigger picture. It also reminds me of the connection between my biggest hopes and smallest routines. It does this in two main ways.
First, your character is not static. We are fluid, we are always changing, we are continually growing in some ways and shrinking in others. This is why 2 Peter 1:5-6 encourages us to "make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love." Getting to our destination is not done in one big, premeditated jump; it is only arrived at through a lifetime accumulation of small, obscure steps. But those steps will eventually lead you somewhere. Fruit grows and multiplies gradually through the seasons--whatever you feed grows (see Galatians 5:16-24). The thing about today is not limited to what you did or did not do today. The important part is that today impacts who you are becoming. And who you become will shape every aspect of your life.
Second, who you are becoming will affect your eternity. We all know that we will live forever; I have heard this truth over and over again in church since before I can remember. Yet I separated who I am now with who I will be in heaven. As if now I am me, but when I go to heaven I will be morphed into some angelic figure with an unchanging solemn, holy look on my face. But when I get to heaven, I will be me (this may sound like the most unnecessary, obvious sentence ever, but stick with me). Do you get it? I will be me; you will be you; we will be us. When Jesus created you as a person, your personhood is not a temporary necessity that will decompose with your body in the grave. Not only will you live forever—your personhood is eternal. Your person will not be different in the afterlife. You will be perfected and fully free from sin, but you will still be you.
Putting these two thoughts together, every decision that you make today, big and little, will determine who you will be tomorrow, and those tomorrows will build into eternity. Today's decisions will impact your days in heaven. Every way that you are shaped today will bear fruit for all of eternity, including your character, your habits, your actions, your thoughts, your skills, your affections, your virtues. Enlarging your capacity for joy in Jesus each day on earth will give you a greater capacity for joy in heaven (for more on this, see Jonathan Edwards' Miscellanies, No. 367: Degrees of Glory). That is how what you do in the subtle opportunity of today will influence your eternity. The only influence that is greater for your eternity is Jesus.
So what do you need to do . . . today? Don't underestimate its significance. Don't slide along and miss the opportunity. Because Every Day You Are Becoming Who You Will Be Forever. As God directs us in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, "train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."