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987. The Joy of His Presence

When our time in His Word and in prayer aren’t enough…

IT’S NEWS TO ME

Jesus spoke a lot about abiding in Him. In John 15 He tells us that this is the only way we can bear spiritual fruit for the kingdom. But what does it really mean to abide in Him? I’m convinced that there’s a lot more to it than most of us realize. Today I’d like to focus on one facet of abiding-enjoying the joy of His presence.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the doing that we mistake our activity for spending time with Jesus. They are two distinctly different things. We do this with Bible study all the time. We see it as a way of spending time with God. We can certainly learn more about God during our time in the Word. We can certainly hear from Him as He speaks through His Word. We may spend time in prayer, convinced that we have just had sweet communion with Jesus. This, of course, is true…to a degree. All these things which we call spiritual disciplines are very important and necessary if we are to grow to maturity. Abiding in Jesus, however, goes even deeper. It’s more relational, more up close and personal.

 AS I SEE IT

I feel qualified to write about this since I have made all these mistakes while missing the real point. Most of us guys are relationally challenged. We have to really work at shedding our misconceptions. We have to work at getting beyond our activity. We tend to attach our identity to what we do for a living. The first question we ask another man whom we have just met is what he does for a living.

The culture promotes this. Social media enables it. Enjoying the presence of one another is becoming a lost art. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus wants and expects from us. God promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. That implies that He is already with us. On this side of Pentecost, the life of Jesus is constantly within us via the presence of the Holy Spirit. That’s about as up close and personal as it gets.

What then, does He desire from us? I believe He wants us to live out the fact that we are “in Him” just as He is “in us.” I think He is inviting us to make these “spiritual truths” real in our lives by simply spending time with Him just as we spend time with anyone we love.

Sometimes it’s conversing. Sometimes it’s simply listening. Sometimes it’s sitting or walking quietly, enjoy His presence. It’s saying “Good morning, Jesus” when we wake up and thanking Him for a new day to spend with Him. It’s knowing that He is always there, ready to lift you up, calm you down, or whatever you need. It’s praying without ceasing by being in a constant state of communication with Him.

I wish I could tell you more about just how this works, but I’m still learning. It really takes focus because life is so full of distractions. Yet, Jesus fully understands. As a man, he faced everything we face. He knows what we’re up against, yet He has provided everything we need to respond to his overtures to come to Him. For most of us, this is new territory, but well worth the effort to enjoy the presence of our Lord, who gave His all so that we could be with Him forever.

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