Do children get into mischief when they think the teacher is looking, or when they think the teacher’s attention is elsewhere? Does the motorist exceed the speed limit when a highway patrol car is in the next lane, or when he thinks there are no highway patrol cars around? Does the employee spend company time pursuing personal interests on the web when the boss is standing at his desk, or only when the boss is not around?
Obviously, we tend to disregard authority only when we think we’ll escape notice. Now, apply that reality to the spiritual dimension: That is, if you die, go to heaven, and come face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ, will you do evil? Hardly. Thus we can do right…when we want to do right. Specifically, we are best at doing right when authority is present.
Every person who professes a belief in the Lord is professing belief in an omniscient and omnipresent God. That people believe these things about Deity is not surprising, for how could God be God without having these qualities? And yet most of these same people live as practicing atheists. That is, they live most of the day oblivious to His watchful eyes – as if He wasn’t present and didn’t know what they were thinking, saying, and doing. Why? If we would avoid sinning in the physical presence of Jesus, why sin now when He can see us just as easily?
To experience the Lord’s presence on this earth in this life we have to exercise faith. Faith is a conviction that unseen things are just as real as seen things. More specifically, it’s a conviction that God is, and that He rewards those who pay attention to that fact. Therefore, faith is remembering…remembering God.
We don’t work to form the habit of remembering Christ’s presence for the simple reason that it might inhibit some forbidden pleasure we might want to indulge – some grudge, some lust, some unwholesome thought. The whole world – even some people who profess loudly that they believe in Jesus Christ – cannot sustain the thought of His continual presence simply because they are unwilling to give up their desires for His. We want to think, say, and do as we wish, without any encumbrance. If we truly love the Lord, however, we’ll be happy to forsake those things He doesn’t like…so that we might live for His pleasure rather than our own.
If you believe that Jesus is everywhere and that He sees everything, start acting upon that belief and He will become as real to you as anything else in your life. Constantly acknowledging to yourself that His loving and righteous eyes are upon you will give you the power to literally be on your best behavior. This is what the Bible means when it encourages us to “walk in the spirit, and not in the flesh.”
Beware of living your life to impress people. This is where most of us make our mistake. Instead of living our life for the approval of God, most of us seem to be living it for the approval of people. Not necessarily all people. Some of us can be pretty choosy about whose good opinion we seek. But regardless of whose approval you seek, it will cause you to miss out on the benefit that comes from trying to please Christ alone. If you are trying to please people, you will – at the most – receive whatever rewards people are willing and able to give you. If, however, you are trying to please our Lord Jesus Christ, you open your life to the manifold and greater rewards that only He can give. Therefore, it behooves us to make our best impressions on Him, not on others. In other words, don’t try to impress people; rather, love people and impress God.
To seek Christ’s approval instead of people’s is a habit born of practice. You must consciously and continually choose to think your thoughts, speak your words, and take your actions based on your conviction that He sees everything and will respond appropriately to you. This is your faith. If you say you have faith in Him but don’t live this way, then you are only deceiving yourself. If you try to live this way but can’t, it just means you aren’t willing to let go of your sins or that you aren’t forgiving others of theirs. The presence of Christ is meant to redeem us from all this sin, not allow us to continue in it.
True faith is living for the approval of Christ. Therefore, true faith is practicing His presence.
For more context, see this overview.
For a time-honored account of someone who lived this way, learn more about Brother Lawrence and how he practiced the presence of God.
(If it seems to you that I’m using the term “Christ” interchangeably with “God,” I am. The reason for this is that Christ is God; this is explained in more detail here. )
The purpose of this blog is to provide information about Jesus to those who want to hear about Him without having to join something.