“I was talking with one of my neighbors the other day,” Stan commented one morning.”He was telling me something about his relationship with his dad. Later, as I thought about what he had said, I saw a clear application to my faith walk.”
“Your neighbor’s dad and his relationship with him, and your faith walk? What’s that all about?”
“My neighbor told me that when he was growing up,” Stan replied, “his dad traveled a lot with his work. Apparently most weeks he was gone at least a few days.”
“That must have been tough,” I commented.
“That’s what my neighbor indicated,” Stan responded. “But he also said that his dad almost always brought him a present when he would come home.”
“Maybe to make up for being gone so much,” I replied.
“Could be,” Stan said. “But my neighbor, in really a sad way, also said that he grew accustomed to the presents his dad brought, and actually found himself looking forward more to the presents than to being with his dad.”
“This ,” Stan continued, “is the part of what my neighbor said that has a direct application to me and my faith walk.”
“In what way?” I asked. “Was your dad gone a lot?”
“No,” Stan replied. “My dad was a farmer and hardly ever traveled away from the farm. But it’s like how my relationship with Father God can be if I start having the wrong focus.”
“Oh,” I said, “like enjoying what God gives you more than just loving and enjoying Him because He’s God. Is that what you mean?”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “If see my relationship with God from the wrong perspective, it’s easy for me to look to God’s presents, what He gives to me, as my primary focus rather than just wanting His presence in my life.”
“And how,” I asked, “is a person supposed to focus on wanting God’s presence rather than just His presents?”
“How about the three steps of discipleship?” Stan replied.
“Oh,” I said, “you mean like denying self, taking up what God has for me to take up, and following Him?”
“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “that’s a good start if I remember the ‘follow’ part is to be however, wherever, and whenever God leads.”
“And whenever should be always?” I said. “Right?”
“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied with a smile.
Bible verses to consider:
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad. Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually. Psalm 105:3-4.
Do not cast me away from Thy presence. Psalm 51:11.
Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23.
Prayer: Thank you, for your presence in my life. Thank you, too, for all you provide for me: life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening relationship, and all of everything you provide for this life. I confess that too often I focus on the presents you provide rather than simply enjoying and relishing your presence in my life. Please forgive that foolish approach to living in your presence as you intend. Please help me in following every step of your lead to have only the focus you intend for our relationship. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you know that you will spend eternity in God’s presence because you have accepted His free and gracious provision for that? If no, why? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with seeking God’s presence on this side of eternity? If you realize you more often think about God’s presents, rather than His presence, and you sense the need for change, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?