By Tyson Thorne

May 22, 2019

PersonalWorship Large

So much happens in life. Sometimes we receive bad news like the death of a loved one, news about having a terrible disease, or loosing a job and sometimes we get great news like the birth of a new family member, finding out you don't have a terrible disease or finding a job. We never know what is around the next corner, the good or the bad, but there is one constant in both cases: God is present. Pursuing God's presence may sound like the title of a new book by some mega-church pastor, but nay, it is the topic of today's study.

Admittedly it is a bit of a misnomer. If you are a Jesus-follower God is always present in your life. Unfortunately we have become too accustomed to ignoring his presence and living as if everything depends on ourselves. For this reason, when I say we ought to "pursue God's presence" what I'm really saying is that we need first recognize God's presence, then make decisions based on that recognition, and then to be free to worship God spontaneously.

Recognizing God's presence involves discipline of thought and short prayers. If we are fixing dinner for friends and family and one of them sets the table you would of course recognize them with a "thank you". It is instinctive for most people to show a measure of gratitude for even the smallest of things. When we begin to recognize God's presence little prayers of "thank you God" and "help me Lord" become just as instinctive. These miniature prayers not only teach us that God is always present but that he is involved in our lives in meaningful ways and help us build a special connection with him.

There are few people who balance their decision-making with their brain and their heart. Most people favor one over the other, even healthy Christians. Once we are practiced at recognizing God's presence he helps us see through our preferred process and make the right choice — regardless of how big the decision might be — and be able to have peace with that decision. We've expressed a decision matrix before, but it bears repeating here. Often, with any difficult decision, if we ask ourselves "How does this affect my relationship with God," "How this affects my spiritual growth," and "How does this impact my witness to the non-Christians around me" we can come to a godly conclusion. There is one more question we perhaps ought to consider, "What does my conscience say?" From the time we first profess faith in Jesus God's law, which is written on our hearts, starts to become a more powerful influence. This is the conscience speaking, and it is trained throughout our spiritual journey by the Holy Spirit.

Finally, stop thinking of worship as only a part of a church service and start thinking of it as a way to thank God for his presence. Try singing when you are alone. No, not to a song on the radio while driving to work, but on your own as an expression of your appreciation. Personally, I find this easiest at the end of the day as I think through what has happened and what I have for the next day. It helps me see God's hand in my life and it leads me to sing and to pray. Whatever time works for you, and whatever daily discipline can inspire you is fine. Paul and Silas found their promt for praise in a jail cell so, really, it can be anywhere. Not only does this build your relationship with God, I find I enjoy my worship at church is better too. There is just no downside to singing the Doxology one your own, or with your pet as the only other witness. I find songs I know by heart are the best, but I occassionally break out a hymnal for a change of pace. If you don't own a hymnal, buy one. That was one of the best tools for spiritual growth I've ever purchased.

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