Living in the presence of God

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it! (Genesis 28:16; NLT).

God’s presence
Jesus was so accustomed to living in the full awareness of God’s presence that when he lost this awareness on the cross, he felt utterly alone for the first time in his life.

Whether we know it or not, we too are always in God’s presence. There is nowhere else to be, because God lives over, in, and through all things, including ourselves. However, we are always free to choose whether we want to recognise and relate to him, or not.

Remembering God
If we want to be conscious of living in God’s presence, we need to develop the habit of remembering him, communicating with him, and remaining in him, rather than forgetting him for long stretches of time.

This can be done in the following ways:

1. By recognising his presence in everyone, without exception.

2. By acknowledging him in all that exists, including everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell.

3. By being aware of his presence within us.

4. By being honest with him about everything we feel, think, say, and do.

5. By listening for, and responding to, his still, small voice.

6. By remaining mindful of his presence whilst we are busy.

7. By spending time with him in silent communion.

Self-awareness
Being able to practice all these things depends on developing our self-awareness. This is because without self-awareness we can, for example, eat without tasting, pass people in the street without noticing them, disregard the beauty of the world, neglect the suffering of others, or ignore the quiet voice of our conscience. We cannot grow closer to God by living like this.

Furthermore, without self-awareness, we cannot identify our emotions and thoughts in order to share them honestly with God. This means we cannot immediately ask for his forgiveness and help whenever we need them.

Conclusion
Learning to live in constant awareness of God’s presence is an ongoing process, but no matter how forgetful we are, we can always ask him to help us start afresh each day. In this way, with mindful practice, we will gradually become more like Jesus, whose short life was spent in full awareness of his Father’s presence, no matter what was happening around him, until those final, despairing moments before his death.


References

God’s presence
You are in me, Father, and I am in you (John 17:21; NLT).
Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; NLT).
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (Psalm 22:1; NLT).
The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

Remembering God
Remember the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 8:18; NLT).
Remain in me, and I will remain in you (John 15:4; NLT).
1,2,3. There is […] one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT).
4. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).
Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).
5. Obey his commands, listen to his voice (Deuteronomy 13:4; NLT).
6. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).
7. Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NIV).
Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Self-awareness
The hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them (Matthew 13:15; NKJV).
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 4:7; NIV).

Conclusion
He helps me (Psalm 28:7; NLT).
When I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:18; NLT)
We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image (2 Colossians 3:18; NIV).