Abundant Living: Practice the Presence of Christ
Live like Jesus is watching...because he is!
Would you invite Jesus to watch that movie with you?
That was used as an attempted deterrent on me, back in my teenage years, when I was wanting to see an R-rated movie that was popular at the time. You know what? It worked!!!
The thought of me inviting Jesus to see a movie full of vulgarity had such a cringing effect on me that not only did I not go see it, I encouraged others not to as well.
Last Sunday, at my home church, one of the things our Pastor said that really stood out to me was, "Practice the presence of Christ." I heard him say it, and then I immediately fell in love with the phrase.
However, that simple statement sometimes proves to be a difficult concept. How are we to practice the presence of Jesus in our lives? Well, it can be as easy as asking yourself if you would invite Jesus to come see the movie with you?
What it boils down to is, how would your life, words, actions, and thoughts be different than what they are now if Jesus were right there with you? Well...guess what? He is!
In 1988 legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz had all the makings of a championship team. He had a strong defense, fast receivers, a powerful running back, and a big offensive line. The only problem was that he had Tony Rice as his quarterback.
Rice was known for his ability to execute the option running attack quite effectively. Unfortunately he was also known to be an inaccurate passer, and if teams could put Notre Dame in a situation where they were forced to pass then the opponent would have an advantage.
Knowing this, Holtz gave Rice a dart board the summer before the `88 season and told him to practice throwing darts for an hour a day. Rice didn't see how it would help him with his passing accuracy but he did as the coach instructed and it wasn't much longer before his passes on the football field were hitting the targets.
By trusting his coach, Rice led Notre Dame to a perfect 12-0 record that season and the Irish were crowned national champions, after beating West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.
Throwing a dart and throwing a football share none of the same fundamental techniques. However, the focus that Rice learned on the dart board is what paid off on the football field. When he was practicing with the darts, he was really practicing to focus on his target.
When we practice the presence of Christ, we're practicing focusing our choices on what we would do if Jesus was watching. Would he encourage or discourage them?
Practicing this mindset will ultimately produce the habit of making Godly choices.
Here are three quick thoughts on practicing the presence of Jesus.
We're Promised The Presence of Jesus
Yep, it's right there in Matthew 28:20. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The "very end of the age" means that he's never going to go away. If the world were to end tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year, Jesus would be right there with us.
The Psalms tell us that there's nowhere that we can go to escape that presence of God (Psalm 139).
We love to cling to these verses during times of worry, sorrow, or doubt. We should also be encouraged by them in times of difficult choices that could damage our Godly character.
We Have A Constant Authority Present
The Bible tells us that, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding," (Proverbs 9:10).
The fear we're talking about here isn't a worry of death or other forms of punishment. While we should be very aware of the consequences to sinful actions, the word "fear" in this passage refers to a knowledge of the character of God.
The understanding that we gain from this knowledge is how our lives are to reflect his character. Doing so results in wisdom...which is simply the way we apply the knowledge that we have to the way we live.
Jesus Is Our Encouragement
There's two ways to look at the presence of Jesus in our lives. We could look at him as the ultimate party pooper, who is only there to convict us every single time we stumble with sin.
Or we could look at him as the constant encouragement to reflect the Glory of God.
Remember the goal is holiness. Four times in the book of Leviticus the Israelites were told to be holy because God is holy (11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:7).
Peter emphasizes the fact that the Old Testament charge of holiness applies to New Testament believers as well though (1 Peter 1:15-16).
Living a life of holiness can be hard. That's why we need to view the constant presence of Jesus as an encouragement. He wants us to succeed in our call.
It really is as easy as asking yourself if you would have invited him into that conversation, sent him that text message, or told him that joke?
Are you practicing the presence of Jesus today?