Last week, I took a break from the daily grind of work and walked to my car which is parked in the parking garage at my work. I shut the door to my car and resisted turning on the radio for some background noise. I picked up my personal cell phone to put it on silent and noticed that I had multiple texts that I had yet to address… so I quickly worked through them. While doing so, my blackberry from work was “dinging” with e-mails and calendar reminders… once again, I scanned them quickly and put my phone on silent. My attempt to withdraw has already been sidetracked multiple times!
To some extent, I believe that this 10 minute exercise represents a microcosm of my life (I’m guessing yours as well). There are phone calls to make, deadlines to meet, agendas to keep, and that is just during the work day. My effort of even putting this all aside during the middle of my work day has led me to conclude:
1. Communion with God requires effort
I’m typically not one to shy away from effort, with the caveat being that my effort is for something that I desire! Too often, I find that my desires are based on selfish motives. I desire success in my job, the feeling of being a valuable member of my team, and the satisfaction of a task well done. I was recently challenged to consider my use of time as a plumb line for determining my desires (any one else not want to answer that challenge?!).
2. Communion with God requires the denial of self
Too often, my thoughts are more “kingdom” focused than “Kingdom” focused (little “k” vs. big “K”). My outlook is more temporal than eternal and my desires more superficial than genuine. In fact, my entire purpose of withdrawing during the middle of my work day was to test myself regarding the driving force in my life: work or communion with the living God?
3. Communion with God requires the submission of one’s will
Until I was able to shut down “Travis’ agenda”, I had no chance for true communion with God. I praise God that he works in me through the power of the Holy Spirit, consistently and faithfully drawing me into communion and prayer. While my shortcomings are many and my faults easily identifiable, I can boldly ask God, just as King David did, not to cast me away from His presence nor take His Holy Spirit away from me (see Psalm 51:11). I am forever indebted to the grace of God and my God does not withhold good from those who walk uprightly (see Psalm 84:11).
To reduce it all down to one sentence, communion with God requires effort, denying oneself, and the submission of one’s will. I pray that my journey to true communion with the living God will come quickly today!