Why do people become friends or get married? Usually they want to be with each other and enjoy one another’s company. When I was courting my wife, I wanted to be with her all the time – nothing else compared. This is a shadow of God’s created order.
God created you, and He likes you, and He wants to be with you. That is why He formed and fashioned you. (You may want to take some time and let this sink into your soul – it is bedrock understanding for deep, experiential identity.)
If God created you in order to enjoy you, it follows that you will enjoy life and be most satisfied when you are aware of and are enjoying His presence, too. Unfortunately, our attention is prone to wander! We may go long periods of time without even thinking of God, let alone experiencing His presence. We can easily become distracted by others, worries, concerns, or our own obsessions.
What do we do when we realize that we have, for all practical purposes, been living apart from God? Some feel guilty, and hold on to those feelings – in an attempt to communicate to God that they are very sorry. Others try to make it up to God by doing something religious or altruistic.
These behaviors are actually not very helpful. If I have not been relating to my wife, doing moral things or expressing care to others is not going to close the gap between us. It is the same with God. Re-establishing a sense of HIs presence is the goal, and God has established a simple way to get there; it’s called repentance. Repentance literally means to change your mind or to turn around. We start by acknowledging that we have not been paying attention to God (confession). We then change our mind (turning from inattentiveness) and become alert to His presence.
We don’t need to become fixated on our mistakes or worry about whether we will be able to sustain our alertness. These things (and our performance) are not the point. Becoming aware of God’s presence and experientially seeing people and circumstances from His perspective – with Him – is the life God has for us. He has made it very simple for us to be forgiven, cleansed and reconciled to Him. (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Be careful to do what you can to remove hurry from your pace. It is one of the chief obstacles to the experience of God’s presence, purposes and power.
~ Coach Tom
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