morningGod

Wake Up to God’s Presence

Jesus taught us to “remain” in him. We read this in John 15:4-5:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

The Greek word translated “remain,” means “to take up permanent residence.” Jesus makes this clear when he said that just as branches are attached to a vine, we are to be attached to him. 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, we are to take up permanent resident in Christ, remaining attached to him at all times as our source of all life.

One way that do this is to “wake up” to this reality. I find that the most uncomplicated time of the day is when I first open my eyes in the morning. My heart and mind is clearest before I get filled with the cares and concerns of the day. Biblical authors expressed the preference for worshiping praying, and meditating on God as the first act of the day (see Ps. 5:3; 59:16; 88:13; 90:14).

Frank Laubach, a missionary who wrote about ways he remained in Christ, testified that he found it helpful to practice the presence of God when he first woke up in the morning. Each morning, he wrote, “I compel my mind to open straight out toward God.”

He also wrote, “I wait and listen with determined sensitiveness. I fix my attention there, and sometimes it requires a long time early in the morning. I determine not to get out of bed until that mind set upon the Lord is settled.”

I too have found the practice of surrendering the first moments of waking consciousness to God to be profoundly helpful. At first it was hard to remember to do this before getting out of bed, but now I find that, more often than not, God is automatically the first thought on my mind. For ten to fifteen minutes, I lie in bed and simply try to remain aware of God’s every-present love. Then I preview my day and offer up each part to God.

This practice sets the tone for the rest of the day. I find that when I do this, it affects my remaining in Christ throughout the rest of the day. Try it and see how you become more aware of God’s presence with you.

—Adapted from Present Perfect, pages 34-40

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