Monday, April 10, 2017

Learning to "Remain In Him" - Awareness

By Alfred Turley

Walking with Jesus in a personal relationship is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience we are ever called to know.  This experience is a real relationship with another living being for whom we were created. The older I get and the more I know Him, I realize that He truly can be the treasure of my life and the one thing that motivates me and makes life worth living.  But it is a journey that takes intentional work, learning each day to "stay connected" to God and remain connected.

In the first post, Learning to "Remain in Him" - Part 1, I detailed how God is already with us, which begs the question: "I have Him.  Does He have me?"

Does Jesus have my AWARENESS?  Does Jesus have my OBEDIENCE?  Does Jesus have my AFFECTION? Does Jesus have my AGENDA?

Today I have been thinking more about this AWARENESS piece, that I can honestly say has been one of the biggest factors in my own life.  I have realized that in a relationship, the simple practice of being aware of the real presence of God in the moment can change everything.  It can prompt me to obey when I might normally do something I would regret.  It can prompt me to have faith and courage when I might normally be afraid or panic.  It can prompt me to move into amazing peace and joy even in the midst of circumstances that are trying and frustrating.  It is truly a place of rest for me and a place of strength for me!

Listen to what David said in Psalm 27: 4-6
I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple.
For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock.
Then my head will be high above my enemies around me;
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy.
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

There is a beautiful picture of seeking God and treasuring Him that results in protective sheltering that is priceless to our souls!  The result is life "on a high rock" with our heads above the fray. This is a major product of AWARENESS of Jesus - dwelling in His presence, in His temple, intentionally gazing at Him.

From a very practical standpoint, there are many ways to cultivate awareness of Jesus, but there is one by far that stands above the others: a daily devotional time.

I cannot even begin to say how foundational a daily time with God is for our hearts.  We were made to need Him daily.  That is the spiritual principle of the manna in the wilderness: God was showing them they needed Him daily, and that His desire was daily dependence.  This need is confirmed in the Lord's Prayer: "Give us today our daily bread." Daily is God's pattern for us. 

There are two primary and two secondary activities as a part of a devotional time that I have found helpful and others have confirmed:
  • Bible Study:  Every day we need to spend at least a few minutes in the Word of God as our primary method of hearing His voice and understanding who He is.  The Word of God is the source of truth that changes everything, the source of our power and authority, because it is the truth He has given us to impact our lives.
  • Prayer:  Prayer is simply talking with Him, and every relationship needs two-way communication to set our hearts on the right path. Prayer is also where we do so much of the work of aligning our hearts with His, and this is critical.  It is also where we "call in" the power of God to our lives!  God answers prayer!
  • Journaling:  Journaling helps us remember and value what we learned.  Going through past journals when I have a bit more time can be so awesome as I see God's faithfulness and this boosts my faith incredibly.
  • Personal Worship: Listening to worship music and having a time of personal worship is a huge blessing as well.  God tells us something special happens when we worship Him, and we were made to do that.  This can be in the morning, in the evening or mid-day, but it is truly helpful for us.  
Awareness of His presence is a powerful, life-changing thing for us that requires some intentionality and work, but it's worth it!

In another post we'll talk a bit more about additional and helpful ways to grow in awareness.

Have you been more aware of Jesus today?  My prayer is that we will all take steps toward Him today in cultivating awareness.


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