And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him… Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. Colossians 3:17, 23-24 (NIV)
I was sitting on the couch eating dinner, watching tv, thinking about writing, wondering about y’all, asking Father whether what I had started to write was the thing for this week. One thought turned into another and after a trip round Alices’ Rabbit hole, I was thinking through this idea: what would I be doing right now if Jesus was actually sitting on my couch.
Don’t ask how I got there…I think Lewis Carroll and I could have been good friends. My dinner was lovely too thanks.
If we take a trip back to sanity, I was thinking, if Jesus was sitting on my couch having dinner with me, would my evening still go the same way it would without Him bodily there – like usual?
Alternately, I looked at the program I was watching, and at the other end of the couch as I was eating for a while and figured that; probably, yes. Tonight.
I’m ok with eating my dinner on the couch with Jesus and chatting over the top of the tv. It’s a program I have on in the background while I do other things mostly, and for a little while it would be ok. I think I’d have to re-evaluate whether it was a good idea for longer than about an hour, but then again, the very act of picking up the computer to write has already broken into that.
I don’t know what we would do after dinner if He was physically here. Probably stack the dishwasher. I know I wouldn’t want to waste a moment of time with Him though. I’d want to ask questions and listen, I also have an overwhelming urge to lay my head in His lap and just do nothing. I don’t particularly care if nobody talks at all if Jesus showed up. Just being around Him would be enough. I don’t exactly know what I’d do if He went away though.
It must have been devastating for the disciples, no wonder Mary is so distraught she doesn’t recognize Him when He shows up again. Grieving the loss of a loved one is hard enough, let alone grieving the loss of someone who saved you from yourself and worse. (John 20 NIV)
The process then has to continue. If I look at my evening tonight, I really have to look at the rest of my day today. I spent most of it on the couch trying to convince my head that it wasn’t full of cotton wool, jack hammers, untuned violins and other horrid things and it could think straight. Didn’t work. Physically the day was a write off, but in the middle of that, if Jesus was physically here, would I have done the same things that I did, conducted myself the same way that I did?
The answer to that question is no. I don’t believe I would have ‘done a Martha’ (Luke 10:38-42 NIV) and tried to get up and make Him coffee and cake or whatever. Frankly, if the Queen-Her-Royal-Self had come to visit, she would probably have been waved in the direction of the kettle and mugs, told to help herself and keep the noise down. In my opinion, Jesus ranks higher than that, but I know I didn’t do our relationship any favours today*.
Being uniquely placed as I am to spend nearly 100% of my time with just Him – being single, and not counting the dog, I am realizing that there is a disturbing trend in my personal choices towards entering into a relationship with Netflix rather than moving closer to Jesus.
The TV itself is not the issue. The issue is the inattention I am paying to bringing Jesus into each moment. Forgetting to ask Him if there’s something that God the Father, God the Son or God the Holy Spirit wants me to pay attention to, do, see, know, spend time on, or etc. Forgetting to ask how God feels about something, what He thinks about something, if there is something He wants me to know or learn about.
I spent many years in the dark, not by choice, but choosing during that time to deliberately keep God in the front of my experience. It became a time of great beauty, growth and peace. Now, in those times, I look for ways to shorten the time or multi-task. I think maybe I am missing the point…
In Colossians 3, Paul talks about what life should look like in Christ. He begins the chapter by talking about what salvation has done for us, the middle is about the fact that there is no person higher or lower than any other person and he ends it with talking about the difference between slavery and servanthood.
Instead of being intentional, my actions have begun to be mindless. I have stopped serving, and allowed slavery to begin creeping in. Even though my body does things that I have no control over, in those moments, even the most subtle change in my attitude, actions or choices can take me back from being a slave to the process to being a servant.
This also applies to other areas of life. How well am I doing at inviting Jesus to be a part of stacking the dishwasher? At asking Him to be part of walking the dog? To be part of collecting the mail or vacuuming the floor? Are there other things that he is being shut out of because we forget that those parts of our life are just as important to Him as any time we deliberately set aside to sit down and ‘spend time with God’.
In fact they may be more important, because those are the moments that portray or maybe even betray who we really are…
Who I am when I clean the loo or what’s worse, have to do the dishes, might be the exact part of me that Jesus loves best. Maybe because it is the part of me that is the most difficult to love.
I think that we all know that any relationship is about putting in time and effort, about building emotional intimacy, about getting to know each other. The most amazing thing about our relationship with God is that we don’t just have to carve out time to go and see Him. This is necessary. It is important. But it isn’t the only thing. He is always available, and practising the continual Presence of God is (among other things) beautiful and sustaining.
Can I encourage you to stop and locate His Presence often? If you don’t know what He feels like, ask Him to teach you. There are some great books out there to read and learn from, and a great place to start if you can, is to make your home an atmosphere of worship.
I’d love to hear how you’re going!
God Bless You Very Much.
The God Chasers – Tommy Tenny
Hosting the Presence – Bill Johnson
Face to Face with God – Bill Johnson
*at time of writing