“My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
Often, the world comes in like a wrecking ball of faith, knocking down the pillars of love established in the morning. It knocks down our reliance on Christ, our submission to his will and our connection to his Word, if we are not careful.
The presence of God is often exchanged for the presence of our anxieties. Then, we feel alone – lost, without a helper, without a guide, without a hope and full of aggravation at how we allowed ourselves to get so deeply misguided by all that surrounds us.
We are constantly in danger of becoming superficial in our relationship with God. We are often content with skimming the surface, rather than putting in the time and effort necessary for a more satisfying and intimate relationship with Him.
Yet, God never intended for us to live our lives like yo-yos of faithfulness – up one moment in the heights of his love and down the next in the depths of despair.
Distraction hits and our will loses traction with God.
With the many distractions around us, we also struggle to find a deep, satisfying relationship with God. We lose Him in the myriad of things that cloud our minds. Spiritual disciplines like Bible-reading, prayer and fasting take a back seat in our lives
In a world with so many distractions, is it possible to stay close to God? I believe we can become more aware of God’s presence by following a few spiritual disciplines.
Become more aware of God’s presence by creating space.
We become more aware of His presence by quieting our soul. Dallas Willard said, “Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life.” We need time and space to hear God clearly. When we are always on the go, moving from task to task with the ear phones in, email open, television blasting, and social media buzzing, God is left in the background. Listen to what Jesus did, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Why was it solitary? Simply, he was removing the distractions so that He could focus on God. We should do the same at least once a day if not more. And then we need to do it for extended times. It is during these times when we can hear and sense God more clearly.
Become more aware of God’s presence by obeying His Word.
A key spiritual principle is that God makes Himself known and reveals His presence to those who choose to obey His Word. Jesus explained it this way, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” (John 14:21) The word reveal means to appear in person! How cool is that? God shows Himself to those who are willing to obey because their obedience reveals their love for Him. He is drawn to those who love Him.
Become more aware of God’s presence by getting outside.
Since God created everything, getting outside into nature helps us become more aware of Him. The trees, wind, birds, animals, smells, and the warmth of the sun all point to Him. Through the night sky, God helps us to see Him. David points this out in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2) God’s creation is always speaking to us about who He is and how glorious and powerful and creative He is. When we come out of hiding, we start abiding.
Become more aware of God’s presence by talking to Him.
Paul encouraged all believers to, “…pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we turn our inner conversation into a conversation with God, it brings Him into our lives like nothing else can. You can literally talk to Him about everything that is going on all the time. As we get better and better at this, we begin to hear Him speak back to us. God’s power is perfected in our weakness, it is ordained through our reliance on him and it uncovered through a humble heart. And this, my friends, is what we were created for.
God invites you to seek Him. He makes it possible to find Him and to enjoy Him. My hope and prayer for you are that you will do just that. He hears our lowly calls for help. He is waiting.