What’s the most important choice you can make right now to grow spiritually?
If I were to tell you, you probably wouldn’t even believe it.
It is so simple, so unsophisticated, so candid that you might even kick yourself for not realizing it.
At least that’s what I did when I first realized it.
If you’re reading this, you are probably one of those people who have vowed to spend more time with God in 2015. Maybe you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of your relationship with Him. Maybe it worries you that your relationship with God has been relegated to a prayer meeting, one worship service, and one church service per week.
If you are not, that’s ok. I’m going to let you know this anyway.
Here it is:
The single most important choice you make RIGHT NOW to grow in your relationship with God this year is to be aware.
Did you catch that?
The one thing needed to start, improve, or deepen your relationship with God this year is awareness.
The sound of those wheels and cogs turning in your head is almost deafening, so allow me to unpack this concept.
If there is a resounding refrain God has been trying to sing toward mankind throughout history, it would be the following stanza:
“I am with you.”
The story of God as mentioned in the Bible starts with God “in the beginning” with the first humans at the Garden of Eden. It ends with God promising that He will be with them in the earth made new. The story of Jesus in the New Testament starts with God declaring that He is now physically and spiritually with man. The last thing Jesus mentioned before ascending to heaven was a promise to always be with his disciples, even to the every end of the age. Time and time again, God has revealed Himself in various ways to various people and has reminded them that He is and will be with them.
It’s also evident that whenever God is with people, they change.
God revealed Himself to Moses through a burning bush and Moses was never the same. God displayed himself through the elements of nature to Elijah and he was never the same. God interrupted Saul’s trip to Damascus and when he regained back his sight, he was never the same. The disciples of Jesus, when they experienced God through the Holy Spirit, were never the same. These are some of the many exemplars throughout the story of God where people are changed and transformed because of the presence of God.
But here’s a question:
As disciples of Christ, if God’s presence is with us all the time, why aren’t we experiencing change? Why don’t we seem to be growing in our relationship with Him? Why are we not experiencing spiritual growth as much as we hoped we would?
Here’s the answer: it’s because we are not aware of His presence most of the time.
We live in a world of distractions; a world that is vying for our attention while sapping our attention spans. According to the results of a survey, if this blogpost didn’t get your attention within the first 3 seconds of you clicking it, you probably wouldn’t be reading this sentence. Ads, posts, and tweets have gotten shorter yet flashier to accommodate to our ever changing media interests. Our attention is their currency.
If attention is currency, God is broke.
God is not getting all the attention He deserves from His professed people, and if you’re anything like me, you may still be struggling with paying attention to God. But the sooner we realize it, the better off you and I would be. Giving God attention is being aware of His presence and that makes all the difference to our spiritual lives.
Moses was aware of God’s presence and he was changed.
Elijah was aware that it was God who was speaking and he was changed.
Saul was aware that God was with him and he was changed.
The disciples were aware of God’s presence and they were changed.
One of my professors summed it up this way.
The presence of God + awareness = growth
The disciple of Christ, Paul, towards the end of his life wrote that it is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose.
God is with us and in us working. All the time. But spiritual growth is cooperative act! God does the growing when we are aware of Him and is work in our lives. It’s only when we are aware of His presence, through prayer, reflection, study of His word, or in service to others, that we take the most crucial step in growing towards a deeper relationship with Him.
More awareness, more growth. Less awareness, less growth.
Do you want to grow deeper in your relationship with God?
Leave this page, close your eyes, and be aware.
What about you? What are you going to do this year to become more aware of God’s presence in your life? Leave a comment below!