Practicing the Presence of God or the Presence of Self

By Pam Miller

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself…” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NLT)

I think I often evaluate this truth in a negative light by perceiving it to mean: don’t do this and don’t do that or you better behave because God is ever-watching. But how freeing it is to view this in the positive: “Wow! Awesome – I have God’s Spirit in me!” I want to embrace the truth that the Holy Spirit living in me provides the necessary strength to do the good works He has prepared before time for me to do.

I recently read Ephesians 2:7-10 in The Message: “Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

A friend of mine made this comment: “Jesus ushered in the reality of God’s deep concern and compassion of how we’re doing on the inside and how we need to stop practicing the presence of self.” Ouch! I don’t know about you but my SELF loves attention and loves to go around bragging – if not out loud then on the inside of my heart. I truly desire to walk in the power of God’s Presence – to do otherwise is exhausting (not to mention fruitless).

Isaiah 58:11 speaks to our soul: “The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (NLT) So the obvious question becomes: “So what does the garden of your soul look like?” Currently my soul-garden is going through a rather dry time but I know the soil is moist and full of nourishing minerals and God will restore what has been damaged.

I don’t know if the following is original with Dan Wetzel (former VP of Church Ministries at our National Office) but I had never heard it before. In regard to our actions and God he says:

In giving thanks we recognize His Deeds

In giving praise we recognize His Character

In giving worship we recognize His Presence

Our friend, Thomas George (Great Lakes District Superintendent) likes to say: “You are made by God, for God and for His glory!”

~ AMEN ~