Thursday, December 15, 2011

Completely love God and you will have what you need

When you live completely for God, you have what you need

DURING the 17th century, a man known as Brother Lawrence wrote a book, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”

Its point is that we should be aware of the presence of God at all times and in all things, and this should guide us in everything we do. Lawrence made it his practice to converse silently with God throughout all his daily activities.

We are not like him. To us, God is like a genie in a bottle, forgotten and on the shelf most of the time. Come a crisis, and we reach for him, rub him and wait for his magic. We talk about God when it’s expected and convenient, but we don’t live for God throughout our day.

When we’re driving and someone cuts us off and we’re ready to curse at them through the window, are we aware that God is with us? When we give less than our best at work, are we aware that God is with us? When we yell at our spouse or our kids because we’ve had a bad day, are we aware that God is with us? When we make public statements that are deceptive or outright lies, are we aware that God is with us? When we’re married and we’re “spending time” with someone who isn’t our spouse, are we aware that God is with us?

The point is that our relationship with God isn’t some trinket we wear like a bracelet to show off to others, then throw it in a drawer when we’re done. Our relationship with God is meant to be the air we breathe with each breath. It’s meant to sustain us and keep us going during the worst times, while giving us a reason to feel a sense of awe and gratitude during the best times.

If we’re serious about our relationship with God, sooner or later it has to be reflected in how we live our lives. I’m talking about when we’re at home dealing with familial conflict, when we’re at work figuring out how to carry out our daily responsibilities, when we’re at school and we’re dealing with bullies, teachers and peer pressure, and when we’re in the community dealing with those, some good and some not so good, on our block.

We will make mistakes, but our relationship with God will guide us. It will guide us to sincerely admit both to God and those we’ve harmed that we’ve done wrong, and then strive to be better. Some will accept our apology and others will not, but it’s not about how others react. It’s about whether we’re doing what we believe God wants us to do, regardless of how others react.

When you learn to practice the presence of God at all times and in all things, you become the most dangerous person alive. When you live completely for God, you can’t be bribed, pressured or threatened. You have what you need, God.

The Rev. Dr. Eric B. Smith is pastor of The Adoni Spiritual Formation Center, P.0. Box 3534, New Haven 06525. Email: eric_b_smith@sbcglobal.net.

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