Week 4, Day 5: Life with God
READ: PSALM 139
We were made for life with God. In Romans 12:1 (The Message), Paul writes:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
One of the unifying themes of the story of God, as revealed in the Bible, is that God desires for us to experience and enjoy life with him. From Genesis to Revelation, the constant refrain of God to his people is “I am with you” or “I will be with you.”
More than that, though, God designed us for life with him. The early church father Augustine, who was born and lived most of his life in Hippo (modern day Algeria) in the third and fourth centuries, said, “You, O Lord, have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” Author C.S. Lewis put it this way:
God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
The reality — and the good news — is that God is always with us. Jesus has promised us as much. Jesus lived the fullest life a human being ever has because he was aware of the presence of God at every moment; he was constantly experiencing life with God. This is why he was able to live out the reality of the kingdom of God as completely as he did. It is no mistake that Jesus was called “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He came to be God with us so that we might know life with God.
However, more often than not, we are distracted and not attentive to the presence of God. The practice of noticing God, which we learned about while we worked on our stories, is a key tool to help us be more aware of God and live more fully in his presence.
Dallas Willard says that persons “are mostly made up of experiences.” As we learned in looking back over our own lives, we are more than skin and bone; we are made up of the experiences we have gone through and the ways God has worked in and through them. If you think about it, when you love someone, you invite them to be part of your experiences and you desire to be part of theirs. The same is true of our relationship with God: he desires to be part of our experiences and desires for us to be part of his. This is the invitation to life with God, for every moment to be lived in the presence of God, whether we are at home, at work, or at play; whether we are browsing the internet, on a date, or taking a test; whether we are talking to someone we love, someone we hate, or someone we don’t really know.
God is always with us. We usually just don’t notice or think about it. What might it look like for you to live more fully in the presence of the God who has promised to always be with you? What might it look like to be more tuned in to the reality of God’s Spirit in and around you? What might it look like to be as close to God and aware of God as Jesus was?
REFLECT & RESPOND
Head: What difference would it make in your work, in your relationships, or in the way you spend your money or your time to know that God is always with you?
Heart: How does the thought that you were made for life with God — and that God is present with you right now — make you feel? Why?
Hands: Set three alarms today on your phone. When they go off, whatever you’re doing, remember that God is with you. Say a quick prayer.
God, of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough for me. I may ask nothing less that is fully to your worship, and if I do ask anything less, ever shall I be in want. Only in you I have all.
- Lady Julian of Norwich
God is always with us.
We usually just don't notice.