Thursday, September 27, 2007
We read on the picture to the right, these words: “To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” [Marilyn vos Savant] In many ways, we might think that acquiring God's presence is the same as acquiring knowledge or wisdom. Brother Lawrence, on pages 69 & 70 of his book "The Practice of the Presence of God," leads us into a better understanding of how we can acquire God's presence in our lives.
1. The first means is a new life, received by salvation through the blood of Christ. Brother Lawrence starts in the obvious place, that we can attain nothing from God apart from the blood of Christ. First and foremost we must have faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. It all starts here!
2. The second is faithfully practicing God's presence. This must always be done ... without giving way to anxiety or problems. Jesus Himself was clear to us that the worries of this world can keep us from God's presence. Jesus says this in His description of the seeds that fell on the thorns in the "Parable of the Sower." In Matthew 13:22, Jesus says: "As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world ... choke the word, and it yields nothing." To let ourselves be influenced by God's presence, we can't allow ourselves to get caught up in our worries. We must let God's presence envelop us in a way that keeps the worries out!
3. The souls eyes must be kept on God, particularly when something is being done in the outside world. Since much time and effort are needed to perfect this practice, one should not be discouraged by failure. Romans 12:2 tells us "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Because we have the Holy Spirit within us, we can know the mind of God. And when we know the mind of God, we can rest in the knowledge that we are in God's will. That is what the practice of the presence of God does for us, it keeps us in God's will. So when we are "in" the world, we don't have to act like the world. God's presence will keep guiding our way.