present perfect

Living As If God Exists

It is so easy to do our daily stuff of life as though God does not exist. This is not a statement about our beliefs about God’s existence. It’s a statement about our moment-by-moment living. This is even true for those of us who spend most of our time in daily work that is directly related Christian ministry. We can easily find that we go through the motions of doing daily ministry without much direct awareness of God’s presence. Greg challenges us to “wake up” to God’s presence in his book Present Perfect so that we can tear down the walls between the secular and sacred. Here is an excerpt from this book where Greg grounds the need to live in the awareness of God’s presence in the New Testament.

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1. Seek First the Kingdom

Jesus calls us to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and trust that God will provide us with all that we need (Matt 6:33). But this isn’t something we can do one moment and then forget the next. We can’t pretend we’re obeying Jesus and seeking God’s Kingdom because we sought the Kingdom yesterday while today our sole focus is on a job promotion or a family matter or a new house. … While we will, of course, have other goals on our mind in any given moment, the primary goal of each moment must be to make that moment one over which God reigns.

2. Living in the Spirit

The apostle Paul tells us that followers of Jesus are to live in—and be led by—the Spirit (See Gal 5:16-18, for example.) Again, this isn’t something we can do one moment and then forget the next. No, to live in the Spirit means that we submit to the Spirit in the present moment, for the only life we have to submit to the Spirit is the one we’re living right now. To obey Paul’s teaching, therefore, means that we learn to cultivate a surrendered awareness of the Holy Spirit moment-by-moment.

3. Remaining in Christ

Jesus teaches his followers to “remain” in him (John 15:4-5). The Greek word translated “remain,” meno, means “to take up permanent residence.” Jesus makes this clear when he says that just as branches are attached to a vine, we are to be attached to him (John 15:1-5). Branches don’t visit a vine once in a while on special occasions. Rather, branches are permanently attached to their source of life. So too, followers of Jesus are to take up permanent residence in Christ, remaining attached to him at all times as their source of their Life.

4. Praying Continually

Paul instructs us to pray continually (1 Thes 5:17). While we do have to set aside time for concentrated dialogue with God, as Jesus did, the biblical model of prayer is that it should permeate our life. …

5. Take Every Thought Captive

Paul says we are to take every thought captive to Christ and be transformed by the renewing of our mind (2 Cor 10:5; Rom 12:2). … Our brain never shuts up. To submit every thought to Christ, therefore, we’re going to need to have Christ on our mind at all times.

This doesn’t mean we should try to analyze every thought to make sure it’s submitted to Christ. This would turn our mental focus completely onto ourselves and would pull us out of the present moment. It would also likely drive us crazy. Rather, to take every thought captive to Christ simply means to remain aware that he is ever-present and to surrender to him. Invite him into your thought process, and turn your thoughts into conversation with him. (32-36)

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