If living in the present is hard, this one's for you...
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
- John 15:4
To live in the present we must be abiding in Christ. It's easy to think of this scripture in the general sense of remaining in the faith and in general fellowship with God. Yet when we look at the word abide in the Greek text we get a more specific sense of abiding - we'll highlight the definition which reads; "to continue to be present".
To continue to be present, or in other words, maintain an unbroken fellowship with the Lord can be difficult in a time of such great accessibility, and in a generation with such an overexposure to dysfunction.
In this post we'll look at a few things to help in this area of unbroken fellowship, and remaining present.
Exchanging memories, surrendering the vision
One of the things which can pull us away from present-living is our past memories and future hopes or fears. Whether it's the pain of the past or the mourning over what used to be, desiring what has been promised or dreading what may lie ahead, one thing that is certain is that our meditations must change.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly God was speaking: ‘My name is I Am.’ I waited and God continued: When you live in the past with it's mistakes and regrets it is hard. I am not there, my name is not I was. When you live in the future with it's problems and fears it is hard. I am not there, my name is not I will be. When you live in this moment it is not hard. I am here, my name is I AM.
Such a profound quote. Though our past, present and future all exist before an ever present God, He is with us in the here and now, willing to exchange our painful memories, heal our wounds and fill us with hope for the future and strength/contentment for today.
When we find ourselves drifting out of the present because of the past or future, we simply need to take some time aside to pray, release, and speak the Truth over our lives. Christ came that we would have life abundant (John 10:10), not life tormented or life discontent.
We can also carry a vision for our future without being driven by ambition to achieve it hastily in our own strength and timing.
Reacting Vs Responding
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
It is not only sin or the past and present meditations that breaks our fellowship with God, but our moment by moment responses to Him in our everyday life.
When we face difficult or unpleasant situations throughout our day, the habit may be to retreat, escape, or become enraged/discouraged/etc by what's happening. We can react without taking thought to first ask Abba how He wants us to respond.
This act of practicing God's presence extends even beyond difficult moments to literally everything; schedules, conversations we engage in, activities we engage etc.
Keeping God at the centre of all we ask, think and do, then being obedient to His leading means we are abiding - continuing to be present with Him and in everyday life. If we can do this consistently, then the habits that draw us away from abiding can be broken.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Praying this post has been helpful to you!