Practicing the Presence of God–2.2
We finished last week’s post, looking at Moses and the first step towards learning to practice the presence of God. The first step is to: Get Determined. Today, we’re looking at the second step.
Step 2: Be Prepared
I love the story of Moses and the Israelites. The Israelites remind me a lot of me. They often took God for granted but when it came right down to it, they knew they needed Him. God listened to their plea for His presence and He responded. He wanted them to be ready for His presence.
“And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto Mount Sinai, and present thyself there to Me in the top of the mount.” Exodus 34:2
Desiring the presence of God requires being ready to receive it. In short, we’ve got to do the work. We can’t flippantly seek the presence of God. Don’t misunderstand. This is not about cleaning up before you approach God. We can approach God with our ugliest sin and messiest messes. In fact, He wants us to come to Him. He is an approachable God. But, He is looking for the one seeking hard after Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
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Getting Down To Business
There is a clear theme throughout the Bible of God doing business with those who mean business.
In the 2012 Summer Olympics, there was an athlete named Kim Rhode. Rhode won the gold medal in skeet shooting. She was the first American to win 5 Olympic medals in five consecutive Olympic games. For 20 years she competed and won! She didn’t just win, she set records. In the 2012 games, she hit 99 out of 100 skeet and set a new Olympic record. In her first Olympic games in 1996, when she won, she became the youngest female gold medalist in Olympic shooting.
New York Times interviewed Rhodes and asked her the question, “How do you distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd?”
Very firmly she answered, “I shoot anywhere from 500 to 1,000 rounds every day of the week year round.” (To save you the math, that’s 3 million plus shots. That’s around 600,000 rounds per medal.)
If you look at those numbers, her medals and accomplishments aren’t that surprising.
She didn’t just show up to the Olympics to compete on a whim. She came prepared. She invested time and money. She would have had to reject things that would interfere with her training.
When so many people in our culture are living lives of desperation longing for fulfillment, how are we as believers going to distinguish ourselves? How can we be set apart from the culture, even many in the church?
The Answer: According to the Bible, we prepare our heart to seek the Lord.
In 2 Chronicles we find the accounts of two kings. One who was evil. Scripture clearly states of a king named Rehoboam,
“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.”–2 Chronicles 12:14
However, if you read just a few chapters down about another king named Jehu you would find these words:
“Nevertheless there are good things found in thee…in that thou hast prepared thy heart to seek God.” 2 Chronicles 19:3
Preparation means something to God. If you want to practice the presence of God throughout your day, it must begin with preparation. Experiencing God’s presence begins with a whole-hearted desire to meet with God. Like the Olympic star, reaching your spiritual goals will require an investment. It will mean turning down things that will interfere with the goal.
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Choose everyday to get away with God. Close a door, get a Bible in a translation that is easy to understand and a notebook. Turn off your cell phone. Communicate to God that He is the priority.
Your time alone with God is not the only act of seeking God but will help as you prepare to continue to seek Him throughout your everyday activities.
Determine not to casually approach God but prepare to seek the conscious presence of God.
Question: In what ways have you communicated the priority of God in your life?
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