Living in the awareness of God’s presence
BY BILLY HOLLAND
Here is a touching story found in John chapter 12 about humble servants love for her Lord. Verse 3 reads, “Then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” Judas managed the finances for the ministry of Jesus and was angry about how the perfume should have been sold and the money used to help the poor. Jesus spoke up and said, “Leave her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor, always you have with you; but me you have not always.” We can picture this scene in our minds as a beautiful example of the importance of having our priorities in the right place. Mary was not intimidated by the criticism of the world because she was mesmerized in the holy aura of God’s presence. She discarded what this realm considered logical and practical and was only concentrating on the revelation of who He was. Her personal relationship with Jesus was her highest calling and nothing was more important than becoming one with Him. This is a glimpse of humility that has made the bold decision to be free from embarrassment and fear and is determined to live and serve God whatever the cost.
Pure and love are not two words that we often connect together because much of what we know about love in this world is not always pure. We are flawed humans and realize that love many times has a slightly twisted angle or ulterior motive. Within our dysfunctions, it’s common to feel that we need to earn someone’s love as we learn how to exchange and trade love in order to receive it. However, the wonder and beauty of God’s love is not based on how much we can do or how well we perform. He loves us with a pure unconditional love which means that even in our worst moments – he loves us just the same. When we receive this revelation of his pure love for us, we are broken and drawn to express our sincere love back to him through worship. When Jesus was on the cross, we were on his mind and we will forever bow before him in gratitude. To recognize who He is and to love him with all of our strength, mind and soul is all that he has ever wanted. What more can he say, what more can he do?
Brother Lawrence, whose 17th century work, “The Practice of the Presence of God” details his determination to re-train his conscience to become so discerning that he considered everything as an opportunity to know and serve Christ. By allowing this concept of awareness to transform who we are, we not only have a wonderful opportunity, but a responsibility to mature into a higher level of spiritual sensitivity. We are learning that the Christian lifestyle is about establishing and maintaining a bond of intimate devotion with God, as we allow our mind and heart to be changed into a reflection of his image. It’s not just about the world watching us sing a song to Jesus, it’s all about us demonstrating his character in our life. Brother Lawrence is quoted, “many times the most powerful sermons are without words.”
If we truly desire more of God, we must choose to deliberately pursue him. Spending time with him is how we get to know him and everyday he patiently waits for us to acknowledge him and get alone with him. It is enlightening to discover that the more he is on our mind the more sensitive we are to his voice. When all is said, and done, and we stand before his throne, the amount of our thoughts we allowed him to occupy will reveal what meant the most to us. The extent we are filled with Jesus depends on how much of our will we surrender to him. When he is invited to sit on the throne of our heart as Lord, is when the awareness of his presence will become a lifestyle.
This is an excerpt from my new book, “A lifestyle of worship, living in the awareness of God’s presence.” It is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble or you can contact: billyhollandministries.com