Spending time in God’s presence
The abundant Christian life that God wants for His followers goes beyond simply knowing about Jesus but actually knowing Him. Many of us are familiar with the popular phrase that Christianity isn’t just a religion, but a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. While this is certainly true, many self-professing Christians tend to mistake Christian activity with being connected to Jesus. We may identify and associate with the Christian faith by going to church on Sundays, being in Christian circles or even doing good things in the name of Jesus and yet still not know who He is. If we are to personally know Jesus and produce good, spiritual fruit in our lives, we must be intentional about spending time in His presence and getting to know Him on a deeper level.
"I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me." John 15:5
Jesus famously referred to Himself as The Vine and His children as the branches. In this teaching, Jesus emphasizes the importance of abiding in Him to produce a fruitful life. Have you ever seen fruit grow apart from the vine that it’s attached to? No, of course not! As a disciple of Jesus, the same is true about our relationship with Him. Being close to God is not the same as being connected to Him. It’s possible for branches to get caught up and intertwined in a growing vine but because they are not connected to the source, the branches are barren and fruitless. Similarly, we cannot claim to be true, born-again believers without being connected to our source of life, Jesus. Unless we know God and remain in His presence, we will never produce the spiritual fruit that only comes from Him.
Being connected to Jesus is about our devotion to Him. Just as our earthly relationships thrive on communication and quality time, we cannot expect our relationship with Jesus to thrive when we limit our time with Him to a Sunday morning church service. To truly abide in Him and remain in His love is to invite Him into our day-to-day lives and let Him take up residence in our hearts. We do this by spending time with Jesus in worship, prayer and in studying His Word. If we diligently seek Him, He promises to reveal Himself to us and refresh us with His presence. The more we spend time in the presence of God, the more we will be able to feel Him, hear Him and understand His nature.
Can you say that you personally know Jesus today? Is He that friend that you just can’t wait to spend time with every day or are there other priorities in your life keeping you from resting in His presence? What we need most is not what God can give to us but the gift of God Himself. If you want to know Him more, you will need to intentionally set aside time for Him. Through Jesus, we have been given the wonderful gift of open access to God. Like a caring friend, He desperately wants to be a part of your life but He will not intrude if He is not wanted. With the utmost love and patience, He is always there, open and ready to connect with us—we just need to pull up a seat next to Him.