How to Press into the Presence of God

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How to Press into the Presence of God

Two snail toys, two pencils, a slinky, assorted Lego pieces, a receipt, a plastic bag, a leaf, two marbles, a plastic toy soldier . . . all these and more I have found today as I sweep the cracks and crevices of my house in my weekly cleaning ritual. Now don’t get me wrong, I do light sweeping several times a week for things I can clearly see, but on Friday, I and my family give the entire house a good, deep cleaning and organization. It’s my job to sweep all the floors and clean the bathroom counters.

 

As I cleaned today, I was amazed at all the things that that broom was able to reach and clean. All of the things that I previously mentioned I couldn’t directly see. They were either under something, behind something, or camouflaged around something. These items were on my floor the entire time but they only came to light when I picked up the broom that I’d had and used it in a focused and intentional way to do its job.

 

Nice story but what does it have to do with my relationship with God? Simply put, in my daily attempts to know God better and love Him more, I seek to walk as closely as I can to Him. Which means that I don’t want anything—including me—to get in the way of my relationship with Him. This means that when I knowingly slip up and get out of step with Him, I immediately confess my sin and ask Him to forgive me—like generally sweeping up those things that I can see; but what about those things that I do during the day that I’m not consciously aware of—those things that aren’t so readily visible?

 

You know, for example, those little snarky, angry, passive-aggressive, comments that I tend to may make to the people I love the most because I’m put out, impatient or that I generally didn’t get my way. Or it could be for a million other things that I’ve done, as I frenetically move through my day that separates me from a closer relationship with Jesus.

To fix this problem I intentionally create some margin in each day. At the end of the day I get alone, still, and willingly give God the broom and plead with Him to search and sweep me clean of all those thoughts, motivations, words and actions that I, for whatever reason, have been unaware of. Down through the years, theologians who wrote about knowing God better have called this the “spiritual discipline” of confession and repentance.

 

This sounds like a cheesy name, but to tell you the truth it is indeed correctly named. Out of all the things I do to know God better every day, this and prayer are the two most difficult. I can’t speak for you, but I find it really hard to slow down . . . and stop, and then consciously give somebody permission to dig around the cobwebbed corners of my crazy, crooked, mind. It takes discipline!

 

RELATED LINK: Spirituality is a Necessity

 

Well, how do you do it? I’ll tell you my method and then you can find your own that works for you. I lay in my bed, stare at the ceiling, and I simply pray,

 

God, I want to know you better. Please calm my mind and help me to listen to your voice. I am ready and willing to confess and repent of anything and everything I’ve done that puts an obstacle between me and You.

 

To be honest, some nights it may take me a good 20-30 minutes to calm my mind down, and that’s why it’s important that you think deeply and seriously about this habit. There is a real price to pay. It means that you have to put a relationship with God above all the other things that you do as you wind down in the evening. If you do it too early, then you’re mind’s not calm enough, but if you do it too late, then you end up falling asleep. Truthfully, it took me several weeks to get the timing right.

 

RELATED LINK: Biblical Medication and How to Do It.

 

Once God finally gets my mind calm, I recite what I like to call “the most dangerous verse in the Bible:”

 

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139: 23-24, NIV).

 

It’s dangerous because you’ve just given God permission to really do His work of deep cleaning with broom He calls the Holy Spirit. God knows you’re serious about having a relationship with Him and are willing to do what it takes. I promise you that He will honor your commitment to the relationship. For me, God immediately begins to bring to my mind things that I’ve done that have separated me from Him.

 

Sometimes it’s things that I need to confess and repent to God and ask His forgiveness, but then other times it’s things that I need to confess and ask others for their forgiveness . . . whatever it takes, I’ll do it. I usually keep some paper and something to write with to make sure that I follow up properly.

 

You see, this whole thing is about restoring relationships. When I work to restore my relationship to God, by extension my relationships with others become better. Jesus loved you and me so much that He came to this earth and took our death so we could have an opportunity to have a relationship with Him.[1]

 

So today, I want to encourage and challenge you . . . no, I want to triple-dog-dare you to give God the broom. You’ll be amazed at the you that He sweeps into view!

______

Notes.

[1] See John 3:16-17.

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Omar Miranda, a counselor for more than 20 years, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sexual and pornography addiction. He was the editor/director of Insight Ministries for Adventist teens and has written numerous articles and books. Omar lives in very unplain Plainville, Georgia, with his wife and two children. Check him out at omarmiranda4.wix.com/mirandawrites.