As a Christ-follower what brings us before Him, spiritually in the here-and-now?
A famous book about Brother Lawrence is entitled “The Practice of the Presence of God”. Certainly according to a lot of scripture, God is everywhere at once all the time- omnipresence. And “in Him we live and move and and exist.” Acts 17.28
The reality is “we have the mind of Christ”, “the kingdom of God is -within-” us Jesus said. But worship of God, intimacy of our relationship with Him is incredibly and TRULY multi-faceted.
This includes but is not limited to any or only one of:
Thought, prayer, study of God’s Word, singing to Him alone or with others gathered, meeting together for all these as well as messages we hear or prepare to share ourselves and even in terms of (ready for this??) serving others in the most simple or deeply sacrificial ways- mission. There is more but in my view these are all involved at the very core of one’s relational life with God. The Spirit of God is ACTIVE in my life as I engage with Him in all these and more. Such is not liberal theology, leftist nor elitist in the least -it is reality.
Jesus of course always calls us to love God with ALL our heart, mind, soul and might. All of the things I’ve mentioned so far are part of this -and don’t miss the other part of His “greatest two commandments” that being “you SHALL love your neighbor as yourself”.
How often we divorce at least two things out of our love relationship to Him from living into and out of these?
First, we deny STUDY -including every way one can do this and increase our learning, not only knowledge but wisdom and then form practical boots-on-ground concepts which we then ACT upon in loving both our God and our neighbor. Some poo-poo, deny Jesus’ call regarding our “mind”.
This in part, is loving God with all our mind. The outpouring then must continue from the start of heart/soul/strength into service, mission, the very MISSION Christ calls each of us to related to our own spiritual gifts and callings. From that learning relationship we then love our neighbors better, more, as opposed to either grieving or quenching the Spirit. Some deny Jesus’ call regarding our “heart, soul, strength (or “might”, passion).
But many Christians disconnect intimacy of worship of the Lord from serving others – and seem to focus on personal worship experience aside, apart from, and even compartmentalize study as something other than love-relationship with Him. I think that a real mistake and even a tragedy.
If there is little or no love-motivated relationship which spiritually moves us to serve our neighbor, no real sense of one’s missional calling, we tend to think we are experiencing intimacy with God (we may well be… but only in part) while ignoring Jesus’ second and fully linked command to love our neighbor.
One more thing about “study”: I’m talking about studying the nature of God (Father/Son/Spirit) in His Word the Bible, but also human history (church, world, regional, local). And yes, current events from a wide range of verifiable news sources. On these matters many of my fellow professing believers are in short, thin and unwise living, therefore supply.
I’m not talking about everyone agreeing with me nor my take on issues, don’t hear that because that’s not the point! Is it yours?
ALL of this has to do with giving worship and genuine attention to God and yes, our neighbor whether or not we like ’em or would rather they live somewhere else.
The common mistake is to either focus so much on mission and working FOR God we miss living out His will for us -intimacy with Him… or on the other hand we figure because we’re already saved/born-again/living a life of faith in and with Jesus that prayer, song and a daily devotional is worship and equals depth of relationship with God, full stop.
That “full” or nearly full “stop” reveals a spiritual immaturity and even stunting of our growth, at times a stagnation in our life that does not equal being WITH the Lord except in a rather small portion of our life.
Do you recall what Jesus told His disciples about Him being WITH them… even to the end of the age? Consider the context of His statement! He told them to verbally share His Good News.
I believe these things important, even essential to consider for those who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn