Review: In Part One on this subject, we learned that God’s presence is often termed “God’s face”, that He tells us to seek His face, that it is a vital need for us, and that He will help us. Part Two covered learn basic truth’s about God’s presence and the fact that He promises His presence if we love and obey Him. In Part Three, we will examine some of the many ways we can love God.
5. HOW DO WE OBEY AND LOVE GOD?
So, if God tells us to seek His face: What do we do to find Him? Why do we sometimes feel aware of Him and other times not? What makes it more, or less, likely?
How we behave when we truly love another human instructs us how to obey and love God.
- If we love Him. . . we will obey His commands.
- If we love Him, we will . . . meditate on the Word.
- If we love Him, we will . . . talk with Him – all day
- If we love Him, we will . . . live our life for Him and do our specific work for Him each day
- However, there is no magic formula.
How we behave when we truly love another human instructs us how to obey and love God. We will do work for those we truly love, like a parent lovingly labors to provide for his family and does special works of love as well. A mom will stay up late, making a Ralph S. Mouse costume for book character day. A dad will take his kids to a park, even when he is exhausted.
When we love a person, we will also do what they ask, we will think about the words they say, we will talk with them when we are with them, we will sing that person’s praises to others, and we will simply dote on them, as when a parent takes a child into their lap and cuddles them or when a husband and wife embrace. If we truly love God, all these things will come naturally, just as they come naturally when we love a human.
The most important thing, however, is obedience. God clearly says that if we do not obey Him, we do not truly love Him.
“He who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.“ (John 14:21, NIV)
If we love Him. . . we will obey His commands. God told Old Testament believers how to seek Him. Psalm 24:4-5 gives God’s first requirement of those who would seek Him. We are told to have clean hands and a pure heart, to not worship idols (be sure God is first in our life), and never tell lies (Psalm 24:4, NLT) And verse 6 in the AMPC clearly says “This is the generation [description] of those who seek Him . . . ) (emphasis added).
If we love Him, we will . . . meditate on the Word. If you really love someone, you think about what they said they wanted you to do right? That holds true whether that is a child, a friend or a spouse. God tells us what He wants us to do in His Word. For every believer, it is essential to think on His Word all day. He tells us to in Deuteronomy 6:7 and numerous other places in the Bible. Why? So we will live like He wants us to rather than yielding to the temptations of the world, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (I John 2:16, KJV)
Another reason, I believe, that God commands us to ponder on His Word constantly is that thinking about God’s Word all day keeps our human mind safe from fear and worry, which are more of a problem for some of us (like me) than others. Also, if we are always learning some new Bible truth about issues that trouble us, we will gradually learn the Bible principles pertaining to that issue or at least enough to master it with God’s grace.
God’s Word in my mind is a shield around my mind.
If we love Him, we will . . . talk with Him – all day. Perhaps you have heard of the classic little book “The Practice of the Presence of God”? Written in the 17th century, this small book shows us how to be aware of God’s presence throughout the day, every day. Brother Lawrence, the author, shows that the most important thing is to simply to talk with God as we go about our everyday tasks of life. The Bible models this behavior for us. Consider Abraham, whom God called His friend. You certainly talk with a friend. Consider Enoch who “walked with God”; surely when we walk with someone, we talk with them! Consider David, who obviously talked with God often!
“Brother Lawrence insisted that, to be constantly aware of God’s presence, it is necessary to form the habit of continually talking with Him throughout each day.” (The Practice of the Presence of God, p. 11)
Whenever I feel distant from Him, I usually find I have stopped talking with Him during daily life, and, that simply to begin talking with Him again restores my soul. It is amazing that I so often forget this simple thing, but I can only thank God for always reminding me to talk with Him and for telling me clearly that He does not condemn my human weaknesses (Psalm 103:14).
If we love Him, we will . . . live our life for Him and do our specific work for Him each day. Throughout the 29 days it has taken to write this, Holy Spirit has edited heavily! One essential truth I left out in the first few drafts was: We find His presence so often when we are just doing our best to live our individual, simple daily life for Him (I Peter 2:12, I Thessalonians 4:11).
We also find God when we are doing our specific work for Him, letting our light shine into the darkness (Mathew 5:16). We find the joy of His presence as we serve Him.
The love, the joy, the peace, all the good fruits that He showers on us every day as we live for Him are all part of His presence, and they are Him. God is love (I John 4:8), He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14-18), His joy in us gives us His strength (Nehemiah 8:10), and on and on.
We cannot outgive God! When we give Him a daily life that pleases Him and when we do the work He told us to, He surprises us with good things, like awareness of His presence and the indescribable pleasures that His presence brings.
However, there is no magic formula, even when we do all we can. There is no magic formula to make ourselves aware of God’s presence. God is God! He is in heaven, and we mere humans, His creations, are here below on earth. It would be presumptuous to think we have control over anything at all, much less anything concerning God, the Almighty, the Creator, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega! Take heed and stand in awe of God. Let us remember our proper place, at His feet, in constant, grateful worship and swift readiness to obey His slightest command. Remember Micah 6:8? We are to walk humbly before our God.
But, let us at the same time, remember He does tell us to seek his presence and He does tell us how we can do that. So, why are we not always aware of Him?
To be continued in Part Four. Be blessed as you seek God’s presence today!