“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” I was reminded just this weekend of this aged old hymn. I was reminded because I realized that as that particular day was passing food wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. Jesus was. And as I engaged with Him more and more I was captivated by how delighted it felt to stay fixed on Him.
On that day (Sunday) I served in my areas of responsibly at church, and then participated in worship and the sermon that morning. Following church we grabbed a bite at Subway and then went home. I decided to plant pansies while my husband watched football. Usually I enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap. However, this day was different. All day long I sensed the Lord just wanting to be with me, for no other reason that He liked me and wanted to spend time together.
In the spiritual 17th century classic, Practicing the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence says, “It is exactly that ‘moment by moment,’ every waking moment, surrender, responsiveness, obedience, sensitiveness, pliability, ‘lost in His love,’ that I now have the mind-bent to explore with all my might, to respond to Jesus Christ as a violin responds to the bow of the master.”
Isn’t that lovely ? Isn’t that where freedom resides … in the relationship between us and the Lord, free from distractions and interruptions. It’s not that life isn’t swirling all around us. It is. However, in that time we’re walking by the Spirit and not the flesh (Galatians 5:16-18) and so our minds and hearts are free to embrace His love for us and respond with our love for Him. Nothing else matters. Why then, is it so difficult to find this place and remain (abide) in it for any length of time, apart from our early morning devotional time perhaps? Because fixing our eyes on anything other than what’s in front of us takes deliberate effort and is often hard to sustain, especially when we have an enemy who is constantly and relentlessly, seeking to rob, kill, and destroy (1 Peter 5:8) any and all progress we are making in Christ. And he knows that we are making progress in Christ.
Brother Lawrence goes on to say, “I cannot imagine how a Christian can live a satisfied Christian experience without the practice of being in the presence of Christ. For my part, I keep myself retired with Him in the center of my soul as much as I can. While I am with Him I fear nothing. Even the slightest turning away from Him, on my part, is indefensible.”
Among the Thin Within “Keys to Conscious Eating” are: eat in a calm environment by reducing distractions (or calm your mind), eat while you are sitting; and, eat when your mind and body are relaxed. These three particular keys are challenging to many of us. Perhaps they even come across as less important than some of the other Keys or even impractical for our busy lives. For me, they confirm what Brother Lawrence purposed to do, and what we Christians should seek to do. Because when we make room for Jesus in the rhythms of our daily lives we find Him there faithfully waiting to capture our attention. And it’s in that place where we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face that we are walking in the Spirit, making no provision for our flesh (Romans 13:14). Friend, there’s simply no better place to be.
What about you? Do you find it hard to calm yourself down long enough to truly enjoy God’s presence and the food he’s provided for you to eat? Are the three Keys mentioned ones you view as impractical for your lifestyle? If so, you’re in good company. We all live in the same culture that clamors for our attention and too often receives it. Could it be that God is calling us to nestle into His chest so he can quiet us with His love? That’s when we learn once again how to live by the Spirit and not the flesh.