Practicing The Presence of God–2.0
I’ve offered a preview of some of what I’ve written in my unpublished book Room To Move on Spiritual Disciplines earlier this year. I took a break for other posts and our online Bible Study. So, I thought I’d come back to it for a few weeks. Be watching for more posts over the next weeks about what it means to Practice the Presence of God.
To read previous post from Room To Move, select the category in the sidebar entitled “Room To Move”
Before entering the world of women’s ministry, I served on church staff working with fifth and sixth graders. Talk about awkward. I saved socially awkward for middle school, but they start earlier these days. Preteens are in a weird stage of life. They aren’t children but they certainly aren’t teenagers. Hence, the label Preteen. Preteens taught me about people in general.
Most preteens haven’t mastered the art of hiding yet. They say what they feel and listening to their social interactions is insightful. Some of the common phrases I would hear as they talked to each other included: “You know they are telling the truth because you can’t lie in church.” or “Don’t say that word, you’re in church.”
Such comments are profound. Out of the mouths of eleven year olds can be heard the heart of many Christians. The presence of God has been compartmentalized. Unwittingly, we accept a belief that experiencing God’s presence happens primarily inside the walls of a church building. In our minds we recognize the possibility of knowing God’s presence in our daily lives, yet, many believers have become satisfied experiencing God’s presence only in a church building.
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Most church-goers have heard about what they should be experiencing outside the walls of the church. Experiencing God’s presence as a daily reality may sound appealing but quite frankly it isn’t happening for many of those walking in and out of the doors of the church each week.
If that’s you, you’re not alone. Experiencing the presence of God in your daily life is possible but it usually comes with practice. Experiencing God’s presence requires a living, active relationship with Jesus that sensitizes you to an awareness of His presence
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It makes sense that we should have an awareness of His presence because as believers, He lives inside of us.
“You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (The Message)
Stop, meditate on that truth for a moment. Maybe you need to mark out the “you” and put your name in that verse. This truth is for you. It is awe-inspiring. The Creator of the Universe, has chosen to live in you. He wants a real, all-the-time relationship with you.
When I was in college, I was around a guy that would constantly comment about the way the “old guys” at church would get up on the platform and welcome everyone by saying, “Isn’t it good to be in the House of the Lord today?” It drove him crazy because he always wanted to respond, “Why, yes, it is…and it was yesterday and the day before and the day before because, I AM the house of the Lord.”
It may seems petty, but it illustrates a powerful truth. You are the house of the Lord. Your body houses the Spirit of God.
The unfortunate part of this truth is how unaware many of us are to the presence of God in our lives.
I assure you, I am very conscious of the people that live in my house. I can’t seem to escape my consciousness of them. (Can a girl please go to the bathroom alone, already?) I’m aware of them because I interact with them. We talk, we plan, we laugh, we fight.
Instead of interacting with God, many of us perform certain duties and rituals. We adhere to certain beliefs and even after an exceeding amount of effort, God’s presence is not a burning, living reality in our lives.
What does it take to have a personal, interactive relationship with God, to be ever-aware of His presence? How do we get there?
The answer is simple but not simplistic.
There is a lesson in the life of Moses that I want to look at together that uncovers a basis for continually experiencing God’s presence in our lives.
Next week, we’ll unpack this story from Moses’ life that reveals central truths about experiencing God’s presence.