Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 4, 2013

practice His presence

Personality assessments fascinate me. By just answering a list of questions, I have seen my life presented in living color. Attributes about me, both positive and negative are pinpointed with incredible accuracy. You have probably also had the same experience of looking at your strengths and weaknesses through the lens of a few questions.

One particular test highlighted my personality characteristics to be that of a lion, and there were several attributes listed in the feedback from the test that made me proud. But lions can also be too driven, spill their coffee with regularity (my wife says that is a lion trait), lose car keys (in the ignition), drive too fast and generally push themselves and others too hard. It can be interesting to evaluate and respond to the not-so-desirable parts of our personality.  Many times we try to excuse our weaknesses with words like, “that’s just the way I am”.

When it comes to living out our faith, we should never use our personality as an excuse. Whether you are as driven as a lion, as passive as a golden retriever, relational like an otter, or as analytical as a beaver, God has a design for you. Our responsibility is to live out His plan in the context of the way He built us.  My premise comes from a quote in the book God is Closer Than You Think, by John Ortberg. In a chapter about practicing the presence of God, he states, “My task is to meet God in this moment.” What a spiritual statement! But quite frankly, most of us don’t live this way, or even believe it is possible. We may agree with the concept intellectually, but our lifestyles, personalities and preconceived notions get in the way. So, is this really possible for me to meet God in this very moment? Is it possible for you?

My easy out is my strong-willed, fast-paced lion personality. You can also probably name an excuse or two. It is so easy to put meeting God in this moment within the confines of a worship service, or our devotional time. But do we really believe that God just shows up at specific places, and at predictable, prescribed times? Of course not! So why isn’t it logical to practice His presence all day long, in the midst of every ordinary day?  Seeking to meet God in this moment changes the way we respond in tense meetings, traffic jams (sorry), at the grocery store, when we spill the coffee and in every other part of our day.

Now, if you are anything like me, meeting God in this moment sounds like monk stuff, not something that is possible in 21st century America. In the same book mentioned above, I read a quote about a man named Nick, later known as Brother Lawrence. He determined his life would be a “habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God.” His life has challenged generations, and he wasn’t a monk or a preacher. He worked … in a kitchen. He lived out his “habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God” amidst the washing of pots and pans, and scrubbing of floors.  If you want to practice His presence, invite Him into each activity of your day. Don’t believe that meeting God in this moment is monk stuff; it is His design for Christ followers.

As a lion (so the personality test said) my flesh often wants to roar, but my perspective changes if I meet God in each moment.  For one day, would you consider inviting Him into each detail and activity?  Prayerfully and intentionally invite God to each meeting, each phone conversation, the 3 a.m. feeding and diaper change, each class, and yes, even the traffic jam on the drive home.  Living in the reality of His presence will change your perspective and deepen your faith.  He longs to be with you, and never turns down an invitation to this moment.

Each moment is lived only once; invite Him to join you!


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