Originally published Monday, 02 November 2015.
How can you stay in the presence of God with the presence of a hundred and one things working against you?
Often, the world comes in like a wrecking ball of faith, knocking down the tall temples 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.
Our "He is for me," turns into "I better figure this out."
Our "Thy will be done," ends up as "My will is getting done."
Our "I trust you," turns into "Where did he go?"
The presence of God - is often exchanged for the presence of our anxieties.
Then, we feel alone - lost in the woods, 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.
Shame pushes us away from the One who casts no shame.
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.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4
What are we to do, when "prone to wander" kicks in?
We copy the only One who was entirely real, reliant and receptive in relationship with his father - Jesus.
The One, who faced the anguish of the world,
yet was not swayed by the earths' chatter.
The One who, despite the outcries to "crucify Him,"
knew who to cry out to.
The One who could see the looming pain,
but kept his eyes only on the end goal - eternity.
The One who dwelled not on our offenses,
but his power to save our fair-weather hearts.
Despite everything that promised to break his back, he ministered to us, the sinners, the weak, the broken, the distracted, the annoyed, the betrayers.
3 Ways to Stay with God, as Jesus teaches:
1. Let your will be his will.
(Jesus said), "Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” Hebrews 10:7
When we know that all is for him, through him and by him, for his glory, forever and always, until eternity arrives (Ro. 11:36), our heart learns to live at rest. The inner-knitting of our faith rests in the idea that God is sovereign, he has a plan, his will is best, his leading is unparalleled and his protection is perfect.
2. Come out of hiding.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
When we come out of hiding, we start abiding. Jesus didn't run from his desire to escape his turmoil. He brought this hope to God. He didn't say, "this is not a Godly feeling or Godly request" and decide to brush it under the carpet, instead he was open, transparent and willing to receive the will of God.
God's power is perfected in our weakness, it is ordained through our reliance on him and it uncovered through a humble heart.
He hears our lowly calls for help.
3. Remember, remember - and then remember again.
“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
Jesus' near final words instruct our heart to remember. Not to remember once, but to remember over and over again. Dwelling on God’s faithfulness resets our internal dialogues to the truth and the power of what has been done for us.
You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God…You don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. Ps. 119:1-8
We are not soaked by life's downpours, but covered by the protection of God's great love as we go with him.
God is calling us to hold hands with him as we skip down straight roads of life towards his great purposes.
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