What does it mean to abide in Christ and how do we remain aware of His presence day to day?
The Lord Himself is what we long for
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If we choose to be His Children, God Himself actually takes up residence in our lives
If we have chosen to accept and receive God's path to eternal life (Christ's sacrifice for our sakes on the cross), He takes up residence inside of us in the form of His Spirit.
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. II Corinthians 1:21-22
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." John 14: 15-21
What Does the Presence of the Lord mean to me day to day?
What I am learning is that all the things that I thought life was about were not the most important things after all.
We all love for things to go well, to be happy and to accomplish the duties of life, but these things had become my purpose.
At the beginning of the day my goal was always to get the things done I needed to get done with out any problems. This seemed to me to be a worthy goal.
However, what I now believe that my life is about something else all together. Yes, I still do have things to accomplish and I really do not want problems. This is true. I do ultimately want to be happy. But God is reshaping my focus.
What I now believe is that each day he want me to recognise the fact that he lives in me and wants to live through me. He wants me to live as if I am dead and to allow His purposes to be carried out in my life. In other words, he wants me to always remember Galatians 2:20:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I'm not really sure how to live this way, but I know this is what he wants and I believe with all my hear that he will show me how.
What is the significance of God's Presence?
If in fact Christ lives in me, how does this change how I live my life day to day?
Christian writers of the past like Frank Laughbuach, Brother Lawrence and Andrew Murray suggest that a life of continual awareness of Christ's presence is not only possible, but is that expected norm. They suggest that a life of continual surrender, yielding and prayer has been elevated in our minds to the lives of the supper spiritual rather than the great joy of every Christian.
If God does desire for us to enjoy His presence in our daily routine over and above our times in church or our personal devotional times, then this is a cause of great celebration.
Throughout scripture, the absolute magnificence of God's very being and presence is the overriding theme that screams out in every page.
Take the word I AM:
He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
Jehovah = “the existing one” Exodus 3:14
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
And God said to him, "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from you.
Shaddai – Almighty, Most powerful
I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
For I am the LORD your God Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
sacred, set apart, separated, clean, free from idolatry and other profane and unclean things
And this is just a few of the references to who God is and what His very being means to each of his children
Now take the word 'presence' and what it means for to not have access to God himself:
Genesis 4:13-14 Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence (face); I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane my holy name. I am the LORD. "Say to them: 'For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the LORD, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD.
2 Kings 17: 16-19
They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the commands of the LORD their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced.
In fact, isn't the most devastating part of an eternal hell to be away from God's presence forever?
And how about the bread of His Presence, the symbol of the vital need of nourishment to our souls:
Make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold and carry the table with them. And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary showbread-literally, presence bread, so called because it was constantly exhibited before the Lord, or because the bread of His presence, like the angel of His presence, pointed symbolically to Christ. It consisted of twelve unleavened loaves, said traditionally to have been laid in piles of six each. This bread was designed to be a symbol of the full and never-failing provision which is made in the Church for the spiritual sustenance and refreshment of God's people.
And how about the protection and ultimate delight of just being with God:
The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name."
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.
We could go on and on, but the point is that nothing in the universe is more valuable to us than God Himself, not his blessings, not his benefits, but his being. Fullness of JOY is in His presence.