Do you desire to spend the moments of this day in the presence of God?
The Bible teaches, “We serve in the new way of the SPIRIT, not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:6). We are instructed that as we WALK by the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). In addition, we are told, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us KEEP IN STEP with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
The Holy Spirit is Jesus present, invisibly. Jesus goes BEFORE us this day, inviting us to follow him by WALKING in his Spirit.
So how do we “walk in the Spirit”?
We begin by ASKING the Holy Spirit to fill us afresh, right now, with his life, power, and presence. We do this, intentionally yielding to his Lordship. We invite him into whatever we are presently doing. Then, we turn our attention to God.
We may or may not FEEL God’s presence, but by faith, we accept that he is with us. Then, we descend with our mind into our heart. In other words, we become aware of God, not just with our mind, but also with our spirit.
Our mind has a physical locality with our head. Our spirit, on the other hand, has its physical locality below our diaphragm. This is why Jesus used that curious phrase, “Whoever believes in me, ‘Out of his BELLY will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38). [“Belly” is the literal Greek, like used in the KJV. Other translations use “heart.”]
With our “mind descended into the heart”, we live in a simultaneity. We do our daily tasks with full energy and attention, but from a place of inner REST, simultaneously aware of God. Brother Lawrence, in his famous little work, THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD, could say along these lines, “It is enough for me to pick up a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
Out of this simultaneity of “God with us,” we inwardly worship, whispering our love to God, and find his help with our tasks at hand. We lift our concerns to him, continuing to entrust them to Jesus. We quietly sing to him, praying in the Spirit. In doing so, we experience the peaceful poise of living our moments aware God.
Perhaps more than anything else, we turn loose of haste and begin to listen.
However, we get easily distracted and can quickly revert to “living by the flesh.” When tired, hungry, surprised by the unexpected, or are in pain, by force of habit, we deal with things in our own energies, trying to force our will.
With practice over time though, we form new habits, and are not so easily dislodged from living out of our simultaneous awareness of God.
When we find we have gone astray, we do not berate ourselves. Instead, we gently return our thoughts to Jesus, thanking him for bringing us back.
Keep in mind that Jesus is going AHEAD of us in this day. He has things for us to walk in, not only in terms of service and ministry, but also in terms of our well-being. One of my favorite verses is Mark 6:31, where Jesus tells his disciples “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Furthermore, “keeping IN STEP with the Spirit” is an essential part of walking in the Spirit. We follow the Spirit’s GUIDANCE.
Most things we do not need special guidance with: which color socks to wear, whether to brush our teeth, if we should get to work on time, whether to help a co-worker fix the copier, and so on.
However, as we maintain a simultaneous awareness of God’s presence, we will also find ourselves led. We pay attention to “coincidences” and unexpected interruptions.
We also learn to obey the inner “nudges,” the sudden insight of a “word” emerging in our spirit, an unusually clear idea, or the flash of an image in our mind’s eye.
I teach my congregation not to debate “Is this God, or is this just me?” when they have in mind to do something good and helpful. Even if it is “just you,” if it is something good and helpful, what harm comes from that?
Seriously, Jesus wants us to get to the point where we do not need a special “leading” to act in love!
More than anything else “walking in the Spirit” is the conscious ABIDING in Jesus (John 15:5). Not in our own energies of course, but by faith.
THIS IS NOT PASSIVE. It is NOT “let go and let God” but instead “trust God and get going!” In other words, we actively pursue the presence of God and seek to trust and obey Jesus in everything.
Jesus is going before you this day. WILL YOU FOLLOW?