“Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?”
Psalm 15:1 NLT
Many years ago I made the mistake of compartmentalising my life. In the congregational gathering I was worshipping. In my quiet time I was praying. The rest of the time I was working and playing. It took quite some work to turn my knowledge that God was present in all of life into an experiential reality. Here the psalmist reminds us that to be present with God is the primary goal for God’s followers.
Rather like the catechisms of old, this psalm frames a series of questions which we are to answer through consideration of our life. In reality it captures the most essential elements of a disciple’s practice and offers us a self-contained rule for a God-centred life and our daily lifestyle.
One of the reasons that we lose our way in discipleship is that we lose sight of God, captured as we are by the many demands life presents to us. These are both the objective needs of running a home, meeting the requirements of our job and caring for our family. Yet, there are also the intrinsic demands on managing my mood, reaction and conscience. This is a world largely hidden to everyone save me and, of course, God. It’s here I nurture resentment, demolish people’s reputations and entertain temptation.
For me, learning to integrate my two compartmentalised worlds was difficult. It only changed as I committed to discovering God’s presence in each and every moment of my day. The process was to bring to the forefront of my mind the reality that God was with me 24/7. I was amazed that after a disciplined start to my day with prayer and scripture, I lost sight and touch with God the moment I left this ‘sanctuary’ and stepped into the rest of my day. Worship and prayer are never location-specific, since each Christian is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19); much like the tent of meeting for the Israelites in the wilderness, God is always with us on our journey.
What steps will help you to remain aware that you can be in God’s presence continually throughout your day?
Thank you, God, that through faith in Christ we have your Spirit always with us, and that we can never leave your loving presence.