You can have an amazing relationship with God!
You might say, “Sandra, I already do. I’ve been Born Again for 20 years.”
What I mean is, you can have such an amazing daily relationship with God that you actually live with an ongoing consciousness of His presence, even in the midst of your busiest activities.
The kind of lifestyle I’m suggesting you adopt isn’t strange or off the wall and it’s not something that you have to work hard to muster up. In fact, it should be rather effortless and oh my gosh, the fruit you will enjoy in every area of your life will just blow your mind!
Let’s just think for a minute what we mean when us Christians say we have fruit in our lives. Of course, the fruit of the Spirit according to Galatians 5:22-23 is excellent fruit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Other good fruit could be our victory, our health, a good marriage, good relationships with our kids and good success in everything we set your hand to. And this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Isn’t it amazing thinking about being able to live such a fruitful life? And it really is possible.
As many of you know, God did a huge work in my life which started in early January, 2012. He set me on a journey to truly understand the depths of His grace.
I distinctly remember that sometime later that month, He very clearly spoke the following to my heart, “IT IS POSSIBLE to live the Christian life successfully.” I’ll never forget God speaking this to me, but I knew right when He said it that He wasn’t just speaking it to me, for me. He was saying, it IS possible for every Christian.
If God had spoken this to me one month earlier, before He touched me with His presence on January 2nd, I would have responded, “Well, sure it’s possible God. I know I just need to try a little harder and I’ll get it right.” But not on this day.
When He spoke this to my heart, it was like He injected me with a million liters of ‘hope’ at the same time. I remember getting so excited and just knowing in my Spirit that what I had tried to do for so long in my own strength (live the Christian life successfully), and failed over and over again, was actually possible, but it wasn’t gonna be done the way I had always thought it would be done.
At that time, I didn’t know the right word for it, but not too many months after that day, God connected the word grace to everything He had been showing me and to the unbelievable, constant peace I felt inside for the first time in my life.
For a long time I have believed that it is possible for us Believers in Jesus to go about our daily lives and also be conscious of Jesus and His presence at the same time.
I never believed this experience of the presence of Jesus was solely reserved for the times when we were sitting still, in the silence, with our Bible opened up.
I really believed Jesus’ presence was meant to be enjoyed no matter where we were at or what activity we were doing – when we were in church, at Six Flags or mopping the floor and I was living this reality of enjoying the presence of God in my various daily activities to some degree, but I wasn’t experiencing it to the degree that I knew I could.
Then, about 10 days ago, after hearing my Pastor, Jeff Perry, say a few things about practicing the presence of Jesus, I remembered that Joseph Prince had a whole chapter (ch.5) titled Practicing The Presence Of Jesus in His book, Unmerited Favor.
I spent hours during the afternoon of March 20th re-reading, underlining and taking notes from this chapter. I learned so much that afternoon about how we can practice the presence of Jesus. So I would like to share my own experience – both what I learned from Pastor Prince and anything else that the Holy Spirit brings up for me to share with you today.
I can tell you this. Over these last 10 days, since reading that chapter in Pastor Prince’s book, I have enjoyed Jesus’ presence more than I normally do and I’m not planning on going backward – only forward!
One way you and I can practice the presence of Jesus is by being conscious of His love for us.
Yesterday I was driving somewhere and started singing Jesus Loves Me right there in the car. One thing I have noticed over the last 2 years in regards to God helping me to really ‘get grace’ as a revelation is that the more I meditate on God’s love for me, the more I witness my fears just melting away.
Not a day goes by now that I do not purposely focus on how much I am loved by God.
This is one way that I have felt the presence of Jesus so close to me – by knowing His great love for me. This includes frequent thought and thankfulness about the fact that Jesus came to this earth and right in the middle of my sin, He rescued me!
Pastor Prince says, “The consciousness of Jesus’ love for you removes every vestige of trepidation and fear. You feel and start behaving like the new creation in Christ that you are, regardless of your current circumstances. Hallelujah!”
Another way to practice the presence of Jesus is by being conscious that Jesus is with you in the midst of everything you do.
Of course, we know that we can only think about one thing at a time; therefore, if something happens in your life that begins to make you anxious, you can either spend your time being anxious or, a better choice would be to purposely turn your thoughts in the direction of God is with me in the midst of my situation.
What about problems you encounter? How does practicing Jesus’ presence come into play when this happens?
Pastor Prince says, “Jesus is not asking you to Psych yourself up and live in a state of denial. No way! He is saying to you, In the midst of your affliction, I am your shield. I am your defender. I am your fortress. I am your refuge. I am your supply. I am your healing. I am your provider. I am your peace. I am your joy. I am your wisdom. I am your strength. I am the glory and the lifter of your head! He is not asking you to pretend that the facts are not there. He wants you to realize that HE IS THERE WITH YOU!”
I absolutely love doing this – purposely being conscious that God is with me.
I actually enjoy sitting around and thinking about how I want to respond in faith in the midst of situations that would normally provoke fear. I do this quite often. I believe this is why I was not afraid when an angry man in Whole Foods parking lot suddenly started banging on my window a few months ago.
My default reaction was not, “Oh my gosh, what is this guy gonna do to me?” My default reaction has changed as a result of meditating on the fact that God is with me and I can honestly say that when he banged on my window my first thoughts were, “Im safe because God is with me right here, right now!”
I think my favorite way to practice the presence of Jesus is by worshipping Him, whether that is me just breaking out in a song of ‘Jesus Loves Me’ in the car or playing one of my worship playlists over our Sonos sound system while I do work around the house. I would include in with this, living with an attitude of thanksgiving. It’s so important and so powerful.
I know how much it blesses Steve and I when our girls come back to us and thank us for things we have done for them and I know it blesses God when we are continually giving thanks to Him all throughout the day.
Another awesome way to be conscious of the presence of Jesus is by reading and studying His Word.
Pastor Prince says, “When you study your Bible knowing that the Lord is with you, you will be amazed at how God’s Word comes alive! This is how I read the Word. I don’t study just to prepare for messages to preach on Sundays. I come to the Word and drink of the living waters from Jesus. I am conscious that Jesus is by my side, teaching me, speaking to my heart, and I can tell you that we have the best conversations during these times and I always come away from such times feeling refreshed and energized. Reading His Word has become a great personal time of intimacy between Jesus and me. I get completely lost and absorbed in His presence until I lose track of time. You know what it’s like when you are enjoying a steaming cup of latte in a cafe’ with friends that you love, and you are having so much fun, laughing and sharing, that time just seems to disappear? Well, you can enjoy Jesus’ presence in the same way!”
Seriously, I don’t even drink coffee, but I know exactly what Pastor Prince means. My good friend Cally and I are long distance and we keep up through texting a lot, but we had scheduled a phone call yesterday and since I know how easily we can talk, I set my timer for 30 minutes, only because I knew I had to go somewhere. Surprise, we weren’t done in 30 minutes so Cally, being the woman of wisdom that she is, suggested we do a second phone call to finish, which we did last night and we talked for another 60 to 90 minutes.
I really don’t spend that much time talking on the phone, but I know what it means, and I’m sure you do too, to have those friends that you feel like you could just talk to for days and days without stopping. Well, guess what? Jesus is our best friend!
The Apostle Paul reminded us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that as we behold Jesus we are transformed into His very same image from glory to glory.
So what do you say friends? Let all stop trying to work change in ourselves from the outside in and start practicing the presence of Jesus and allow His presence to work the changes in us from the inside out. Let’s allow God to prepare us to fulfill our destiny and let’s let Him show us how to shine for His glory – all while we simply enjoy His presence!
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!