As we bring this series to a close our hope is that we end in the same way we started it: If there’s one thing we want to appreciate and understand about the Holy Spirit, it’s this – He is present.
As a kid I used to do something strange to get my mom’s attention. Maybe you can identify with this. I’d stretch out my hand, move my mom’s face toward mine, and hope that if she was actually looking at me, she’d be listening to me. Kids think that parents aren’t listening to them, c’mon, is that true? Well…as a parent myself now, I can admit to not paying full attention every time my kids are speaking to me. Guilty as charged.
I wonder if we do this with God? Actually, I know that we do. We plead for him to show up. It’s consistent with what we read in the Scriptures. People like King David would ask God to turn his face toward him, to show up, to be present, to help, etc. But can’t we understand that God is already here…with us…present? And perhaps it’s actually us who need to turn our face toward him?
To be spiritual is to know fully that God is present, right here, right now!!! It’s the narrative of scripture – God is always reminding, repeating, renewing this truth…OT/NT, through Jesus, via the Holy Spirit,
GOD IS PRESENT!
When the Holy Spirit abides in our hearts, it is he who makes us understand that the Lord is near and takes care of us. (Pope Francis)
We read these words in Psalm 139:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
The question we must ask is…Am I present? Am I aware? Am I awake?
Spirituality, as followers of Jesus, must mean that we are awake to what God, through the Holy Spirit is doing…In ME, In OTHERs, In the ROOM, In the WORLD.
I need to be awake to God’s presence. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
In the preceding verses, Paul is focused on transformation – on conviction about things in our lives that need to change. If we don’t stay awake to the SPIRIT, we will miss how he wants to lead us, how he wants to change us, how the Spirit wants to transform us.
There’s nothing more ‘near’ than something living in you! These are Paul’s words, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s new dwelling…not in bricks, or nations, or just one people, but in anyone who will have the Spirit live in them.
IN / FOR OTHERS
How about being awake to the Spirit for the sake of others…for the sake of what God is not only doing in you, but what he wants to do in others? We talk about wanting to make a difference in the world, but if we aren’t aware of the Spirit’s activity around us, how can we dive into it? If we’re not awake to what God is up to, how can we participate in it?
Practice the Presence of God
Is it possible to actually know God’s presence or his voice or his leading in the ‘now’…right now…and now…and…now.
A few of years ago I came across a Greg Boyd book called, Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now. He argues of course that you can. And so do the scriptures. The thing is, as Boyd says, most of us live like God is only around a percentage of the time. This isn’t a legalism thing, it’s a relational thing.
We need to somehow get used to capturing his presence. Think about it like photography…there are those who can, and those who can’t. Some are naturally gifted, but much of it is practice and being ready for the moment. The more you understand and know your camera, the better you’ll be at capturing the moment it when you see it. Mark Buchanan calls this practicing being attentive to God: rehearse, repeat, work, rework, pray, reflect…and then when the moment comes, capture it.
The question isn’t if I can explain the theory or theology of a relationship with God but did I actually take time today to listen to God? (Tim Day)
The Christian life is the practice of living in what God has done and is doing. (E. Peterson)
We remember the past and anticipate the future, but we always do so in the present. Reality is always now. And the single most important aspect of reality is that God is present in it every moment. (Greg Boyd)
Our brains are constantly at work. We’re told that we have 7-9 thoughts every second. Greg Boyd suggests at least keeping one of those thoughts open to God. I also heard him ask this question, “In the last 7 days, when did you do something you didn’t plan?” When did you do something, simply because you sensed God wanted you to…because you were awake and alert?
Remember, we are only as good (impactful) to the degree that we are aware and awake.
We need to be as present to God as he is present to us.
So I leave you with this prayer…
“May we have a robust spirituality knowing deeply that God is there…that God is here, in every moment, in every place, in every space. May we respond to his presence in a way that reflects his kingdom on earth, his ways in mine, his values in my actions. May we be awake to the Holy Spirit, his conviction, wisdom, transformative power, and mission – in the right now of our lives.”