Today, I want to look at the discipline of deliberate awareness of God’s presence. The new-agers have taken the term mindfulness, but we want to be always mindful of God with us. Some call this discipline contemplation, to contemplate is to examine, deliberate, or meditate. It is to reflect and study something. It experience something fully.
It is a choice to stay focused on ourselves or keep our focus on the Lord. We can do amazing things when we remember that we have Almighty God next to, behind, in front, and within us. Look at the story of Peter whose zeal for Jesus allowed him ask Jesus to command him to step out of a boat onto the sea and walk on water to His Lord. He was walking on water, not being knocked by the waves or sinking in the depths of the roiling water. But when his focus returned to his circumstances, he began to sink in them (Matthew 14:22-33). That was before the Holy Spirit had indwelled him! Imagine you and I today with God in us, allowing Him to be fully realized in us.
There is much more than being able to operate in the fullness of God. Imagine, I love a man, perhaps a famous man. That’s not real love but it will do for this illustration. Now, I am excited to see him in a film or watch an interview, but if I get to meet him, I am that much more thrilled. If he talks to me, I am over the moon! And if he chooses to befriend me or even date me I would be ecstatic. Would I ignore him most of the time that I am with him? Would I marry him and just have an attitude of, “I am Mrs. Gerard Butler, but I am going to live as if I am still Miss Donna Campbell. My husband is here somewhere, I spend an hour with him once a week.” If I live as a Mrs. I will be different, have certain privileges, and live up the expectations of being Mrs. instead of Miss.
I have that choice with Jesus. I love Him, and I can actually really love Him because He loved me first! And I get to be His friend and bride. I get to spend as much time as I want with Him. I should be overjoyed. That joy imbues me, it becomes part of who I am and is manifested in my life. If I maintain my awareness of Him, if I choose to acknowledge Him in everything I do. God is not far off. He is right here, right now. Acts 17:24-28 reads,
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.
God enjoys it when we pursue Him, when we draw close to Him, and He doesn’t ignore our affections, He draws close to us (James 4:8). Just like Peter said, “If it is you, command me to come to you” and Jesus said, “Come,” He answers our request to come to Him by saying come. It is not always easy, the waves and wind are easier to see, they are right here, visible and affecting us if our eyes are on them. But though we can’t see Jesus face to face just yet, He is so much more real than any circumstance. 2 Corinthians 4:17- 5:1-5 says it like this,
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
You have a choice about how to look at your life, you can see the darkness and lack or you can choose to see the awesome blessings He has given, life, His creation, and realize that the entirety of the world is His. Psalm 24:1-2 and 5-7 reads,
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
You can see Him in the little things and the big things. When I see a sparrow, my mind is immediately on the LORD and how much He loves me. When I see a butterfly, my thoughts are about how the Holy Spirit transforms us. When I see a skyscraper, I think what an amazing God that He made man with such abilities. I can choose to let things point my mind to God because I know that the earth and everything in it is the LORD's. I seek God in my surroundings and circumstances and He lifts up my head, He comes in and I see Him.
Enjoy life! Live life! It is a gift from God and it is so much more awesome when you celebrate life with God purposely in everything you do. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 says,
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
Maybe you’re saying this is nice but how do I focus on God’s presence. How do I keep my eyes on Jesus when I can’t see Him? What are the actual things I can do to be mindful of Him with me? We will look into several disciplines that will help you to do that over the course of this series. They include:
- Having a daily time of devotion between you and the Lord to include honest prayer, listening, worshipful prayer, and Bible reading.
- Continuous prayer including supplications, worship, breathe prayers, and intercessory prayer
- Being cognizant of creation and blessings with the knowledge that it all belongs to God, came from Him, and was created through Him.
- Reflecting on your surroundings and circumstances with the awareness that God is the giver of all good things.
- Remaining open to hearing from God, listening to Him and discerning what you see and hear in case it is God choosing to speak.
- Take time to worship God.
- Point other people to Jesus, Let them see who you see.
Everything we do is a choice, the attitude we have is a choice. Choose to focus on Jesus and just do it.