Have you ever had that feeling where you are driving down the road and all of a sudden you aren’t quite sure how arrived at your current location? It’s not that you are someplace strange that you have never seen before. No, it’s the opposite. It’s the same stretch of road you drive every single day. Perhaps it’s the way to work, or to your child’s school. You start driving, but your mind is in a totally different universe. Perhaps you are thinking about a project you need to accomplish, or a conversation from the night before with your spouse that didn’t go well, or a health issue in which you worry about the outcome. Even though you are driving a motor vehicle (a pretty important task that should hold your attention) your mind is wandering to different places. You are driving on autopilot. You suddenly realize you are miles down the road and not sure what has happened over the last few minutes. It is scary to realize how easily we zone out of really important things.
Zoning out while driving a vehicle is scary and dangerous. We are lucky we haven’t been in more accidents. What’s even scarier, however, is zoning out in life. So often we put our lives on autopilot and we just go from one day to the next without much thought as to what is happening. Or, we spend so much time worried about what is happening every single day (work, kids sports, yard work, what to make for dinner…) that we spend zero time thinking about God. For some reason we think the things we can physically see around us are more important than the things which seem invisible, but are in reality more real than anything we can touch or feel. Because we can’t see the spiritual, it doesn’t seem as pressing or vital, so it slips from consciousness. Before we realize it, we are two or three years down the road with no idea how we got there. It’s tragic.
There has to be a better way. It’s not that we need to quit going to work or participating in youth sports, but somehow we have to reclaim all of these areas as God zones. Somehow we’ve got to learn to live daily in the reality that God is in and around us and that the more time we spend recognizing that truth the stronger our faith will become; and the easier life will become. Not that life will have less problems, but we will face them with peace and trust.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses is getting ready to turn leadership of the people of Israel over to Joshua. Moses has led Israel for forty years and brought them to the brink of the Promised Land. While Moses won’t enter the land, he does give them advice and encouragement of how they should live while in the land. In Deuteronomy 10 Moses says this:
“So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 The Message)
What does God expect of you? Live in God’s presence. Imagine how much different life would be if we fully embraced this encouragement. To be fully present with God everyday. In some ways, your daily routine wouldn’t change. You would still go to work, still take the kids to soccer practice, still mow the yard, take out the trash, and cook dinner. But you would be fully present in those moments with the God who is always near. Your perspective would change ever so slightly so that you come to understand you are in the presence of God. While your daily routine might not change, living continually in God’s presence will change your life. God will rub off on you even if you don’t know it. Over time, little by little, the Spirit will transform you into the image of Christ. You will become more patient, loving, and accepting. You will discover true peace and security. You will become content, resting in God’s love and sharing that love with others.
This may take some effort to begin, but it’s worth the life change. Place reminders in your life that will draw you back to God’s presence; A note on your desk or a reminder on your phone. Memorize and repeat short verses that draw you into God’s presence. Find accountability with a friend and encourage each other. Turn off the radio and spend quite time with God. It doesn’t actually require more time from you, it’s just refocusing the time you already use. Don’t live on autopilot. Live fully in the presence of God and wait as God transforms everything.