Friday, December 28, 2012

Practicing the Presence of God


Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” One morning as I was reading Psalm 32 and meditating on this verse, I felt the Lord’s prodding – be God-oriented and direction-oriented instead of being merely activity-oriented and result-oriented. What does it mean to be God-oriented? Perhaps, it is simply avoiding being overwhelmed by our to-do list and daily pace of life so that we do not overlook encountering God in the minutes of our daily life.
In ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’, Brother Lawrence said, “I make it my business to rest in His holy presence which I keep myself by a habitual, silent and secret conversation with God. This often causes me joys and raptures inwardly.” He desired a lifestyle where he intentionally and consciously cultivated a deeper awareness of God’s activity in his lives. This is a good desire and I have asked the Lord to help us live this spiritual discipline out in 2013.
It involves habitually building in small pauses and breaks in our daily routines to turn and re-tune out hearts back to God. Before we pick up the phone, we breathe a prayer to the Lord to help us listen. As concerns pop up, we place those concerns in God’s hands before moving on to handle them. As we fulfil our daily tasks and responsibilities, we talk it over with God and dedicate each task to Him before we begin and after we complete it. When interruptions happen, we ask Jesus to help us be like him, who always had time for people who questioned and interrupted him. We set our mobile devices to alert us several times throughout the day so that we intentionally pay attention to God and live in his presence. It can just be for five minutes reading a short Psalm, praying or even simply revelling in his goodness. I would be glad to hear from anyone who can add more practices to these suggestions.
Ultimately, the desire to develop this awareness of Christ’s presence is to see God grow spiritual fruit in our lives. The fruit could be keeping company with Jesus through the day, receiving each daily moment as a God-given moment. It could be learning a new lifestyle of letting go of our need to control and compete and growing in awareness of our constant need of God. We learn to rest in his presence so that we see him even in those who needlessly sap our energy, irritate and anger us. We will reap the promise of Ps 32:8; that he will instruct us on the direction we ought to go as we orient our lives with Christ at the center. I am very sure God will grow even more fruit other than these as we continue to intentionally set time aside regular time for him daily.
However, it is important that we remember that the spiritual discipline is about personal relationship. It is not just an activity embedded with ritual and strategy. It arises out of a love for God that desires to live in a deeper union with Christ. Ultimately, it is about our life being a love letter to Christ, an expression that we love him and desire to remain wired to him alone throughout the day.
May our Lord Jesus be your great reward in 2013 as you remain in him and may you see the fruit of his tender care as you walk with him.

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