Monday, April 26, 2010
Practicing His Presence
I sit at my computer tonight VERY contemplative....
I was recently let to borrow a book called Practicing His Presence by Brother Lawrence & Frank Laubach. Once again, the Lord proves His faithfulness and the glorious fact that He talks to us in so many wonderful ways. This time - He was speaking to me through the repetition of recent words and ideas.
In the most recent Bible study I completed (In the Dust of the Rabbi - which is incredible by the way), the concept was discussed that in order to whole-heartedly be one of the Lord's disciples - His Talmid - once must truly give themselves completely over to Him in every thought, action, word, moment, etc. The faces in our Bible study class went almost immediately to stunned. We discussed how seemingly impossible that idea seems, especially in today's bustling society. But, the fact remained that it was a concept that was also so beautiful, so thrilling! It became something I thought a lot about throughout the weeks following. I pondered a lot the beautiful effect something like that could have on the spirit but how difficult it would be. I wondered if I even had the capacity to even attempt it - if ANYONE did.
That's when the book was placed in my hands by one of the people I count as being the most instrumental in my faith as I know it - my wonderful aunt/sister, Carolyn. She too had just completed the Rabbi study and was excited to hand me this book that had given her a spiritual nudge as large as the one it would soon give me. In God's perfect form, the book spoke exactly to this concept I had wondered so hard on of late. The book is made up of several diary entries made by 2 men, living in very different time periods, but who both experienced God in every moment of their life. I was intrigued from page one. In the book, you hear of the effect this practice had on the men and of the process of actually living it out. Oh, and a process it most certainly must be. It was something they started out doing for 30 minutes a day and extending over and over again until their days were filled with nothing but thoughts of God - every action, every decision filtered through the Lord. Can you imagine?!They even discuss how they would practice allowing the Lord to guide their hands as they shaved and ate. Such devotion! How beautiful! As I read, I grew more and more intrigued. I was still afraid though. I mean, both of the men were devoutly religious, living in monasteries and practicing their faith seamlessly. Surely, I could not do this - Not me: the one too busy, too tired, to thinly stretched, too unworthy. Then, I came to the most important and powerful portion of the book thus far...
I started to notice that the men would sometimes fail. That they would point out moments in their days when they lost track of God in their thoughts, but they always came right back when first they realized it...and God was always right there. They would mention their "business," their "responsibilities," their "illness and exhaustion." They were just like me, and they succeeded! So, what am I so afraid of?! Why do I always allow myself to forget who He is - who I am in Him? Why do I run away in shame when I miss a quiet time or skip a night of bible study homework? Why do I worry over the world? See, here is the beautiful part - the most brilliant revelation in this book thus far: whenever God is the center of your being, of your every thought, everything else just falls into perfect place. Your decisions are His decisions. Your words are His words. Your actions are His actions. WOW! A concept I've always known with my head but never explored with my heart! Why?
Why indeed, Linsey? WHY do you forget that "there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)? The disciples woke up and fell asleep with, ate with, walked with, talked with, cried with the Lord Jesus each and every day. Jesus was man as we are not only to rescue us from our sins but to show us that we CAN do all things through Him. He was flesh and blood just like we are, and He overcame the world. We claim that the world gets in our way. We claim "busy," "weak willed," "tired," "forgetful." Lord, help our unbelief! Christ spent every moment in God's presence. He met Him in prayer and meditation at every free instance when His work was not being done. Please don't misunderstand - God's work is God's work, and may He bless us every moment that we're doing it. My point is, why can't our every moment be God's work? It already is. We just foolishly live as though it's not - as though we have control. We know better! Oh, how I long for that kind of faith, that kind of obedience, that kind of CLOSENESS! I'm the only thing standing in my way. My daddy is waiting!
I have to remember, we all worry. We all feel guilty, but these men have truly opened my soul to the beautiful notion that if we live every moment in the truth that it is God's and allow Him to guide us in it, then we will have nothing to worry over, nothing to fear, and certainly no failure. Satan devises so many ways to separate us from God. We must draw close to God! NO MORE FOOTHOLDS!!! There may be times that we fail as far as the world is concerned, but in His presence we are always victorious! We just have to keep our eyes, ears, minds, hearts, and souls on Him. We've already learned that His presence brings love. His presence brings protection. His presence brings security. His presence brings grace and mercy. His presence is everything! Oh, how I long to pratice it!
I am stepping out in faith here - I'm going to try and practice that kind of closeness with God. I'm going to take this one day at a time, one moment at a time. I know I'll fail, but I'm going to get back up every time. No more living in defeat. It's time to practice letting the Holy spirit run free in me. I'm going to try and make every moment His. It will be all be about listening and doing. I'm not so prideful that I believe I'm going to be able to do this on my own. It's going to take a lot of accountability on my part, on the part of my trusted friends, and all the strength of Christ that is in me. I pray you will all join me on this journey!
"As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).
I'm so, so scared, but I just keep hearing Mrs. Claire Brunson saying "No fear - just jump in!"
So, here we go beloveds...