Practicing the Presence of God
I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Jesus doesn’t care how busy you are. He really doesn’t. He wants you to be healthy, fulfilled, and obedient but he is not concerned with your business. The bad news is the same: Jesus doesn’t care how busy you are. If you were banking on the idea of working your butt off for Jesus, your out of luck. There is no quantity over quality formula to take advantage of here. What you need to focus on is how well you can practice the presence of God. Get this: being with God is the most profound act of discipleship, service, and obedience you can ever choose to do.
Our church just completed a 40-day biblical journey that lasted eight weeks. Each week consisted of five daily devotionals with scripture readings, reflection questions, and thoughtful writings. Many of us were stressed out over how much work was required. Some dominated the task and strategically contemplated each of the 40-days. Others flew by the seat of their pants, catching bits and pieces as the days and weeks flew by. Who grew more over the past eight weeks? Those who learned how to practice the presence of God had the greatest opportunity for growth. Completing any number of readings or tasks does not guarantee closeness to God. There is no task you can check off to transform your heart into His likeness. But don’t read this insight as a license for laziness. Practicing presence requires great discipline and focus.
Practicing the presence of God requires each of us to draw close to God for each and every moment of our normal lives.
Practicing the presence of God requires each of us to draw close to God for each and every moment of our normal lives. This is not a devotional, a worship song, or a podcast; this is everything, everywhere, for all the time. Start by praying all the time. That’s right, just start praying and don’t stop. You don’t have to talk out loud like a crazy person, just run a constant dialogue in your mind between you and Jesus (yes, this counts as prayer). Ask Him questions, praise his awesomeness, express true humility, and request to see people and situations how He sees them.
What is step two? Listen to what God tells you and have the guts to do it. This may be a conversation, a gift, or an act of service. The quicker you obey the easier it is. Don’t overthink it and remember that you are doing it for Jesus. We often get hung up on the hook of self-righteousness and resist helping someone who we think don’t deserve it. Get over yourself. Do it because you love Jesus and trust Him with the outcome.
There is no step three.
The good news is that you can begin practicing the presence of God right now. You don’t need to buy a book, a bracelet, or attend a conference. Start the conversation right now, close this tab, and then be ready to respond when you feel God leading you to do something uncomfortable.