How Do We ‘Practice’ God’s Presence?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. . . . Apart from me you can do nothing.”
~ John 15:5
Following Christ isn’t a once-and-done action. It’s a process of continual following and drawing near to God.
Here’s how I explain it in my book Life in the Presence of God: “Practicing God’s presence [is] . . . a process of drawing nearer to a person who loves us and wants us to come close to him, to look to him in every circumstance of life as the eternal source of all goodness and truth. . . . Knowing God and living in his presence is the best thing that can happen to us; it’s life giving, not draining. Intimacy with God (through Christ) grows like any relationship, over time, and naturally overflows into activity.”*
Below are 13 different images of this process — each illustrating something about the ongoing nature of our relationship with God. We’re never finished doing any one of these things; neither do we have to attempt them on our own. We’ll experience freedom and enjoyment in these actions as we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us in doing them.
- ABIDE in Jesus and you will bear fruit; without Him, you can do nothing (John 15:4–5).
- LOVE God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40).
- SET YOUR MIND on what the Spirit desires, not what the flesh desires (Romans 8:5–6).
- WALK by the Spirit and keep in step with Him (Galatians 5:16, 25).
- SET YOUR HEART on things above, making Christ first in your heart (Colossians 3:1–2).
- REJOICE always (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
- PRAY continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- GIVE THANKS in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- RUN with endurance/perseverance the race marked out for you, fixing your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1–2).
- SUBMIT to God, offering yourself as a living sacrifice to him, not conforming to this world’s pattern but being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1–2).
- PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12–14).
- DWELL ON the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, the admirable—anything that is excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:6–8).
- REMEMBER that we don’t live on bread alone but on the food of God’s word (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).**
*Quoted from Kenneth Boa, Life in the Presence of God: Practices for Living in Light of Eternity (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2017), p. 30.
**Quoted from Kenneth Boa and Jenny Abel, A Guide to Practicing God’s Presence: A Companion Guide to Life in the Presence of God (Atlanta: Trinity House Publishers, 2018), pp. 116–117.
Lord, make me aware of your presence throughout the day. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.