Practicing God’s presence in our life gives us a reassurance that no person or circumstance can take away from us. It is a reassurance that can be found only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the reassurance that sheep have when they are under the watchful eye of their Shepherd.
Many churchgoers have head knowledge about God and His Word. Yet God desires that we put into action the things we learn. It’s a matter of practicing what you know and who you know.
It is one thing to know about the Bible; it is another to do what it says. James 1:22-24 says that we deceive ourselves when we merely listen to God’s word but do not put it into practice. There are three benefits to putting God’s word into practice:
“He [Jesus] replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice. ’” (Lk 8:21)
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Mt 7:24)
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me– put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil 4:9)
Practicing the presence of God begins with the correct knowledge and understanding of who He is and what He has done. When you have the right understanding of God, you develop an absolute sense of peace, comfort, security and confidence that the Lord is who He is, regardless of your situation. Christian author A.W. Tozer said, “What enters your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.”
This is why it is important to get to know God intimately—to learn about His wonderful characteristics. When you practice who you know, you trust that the God who knows you best, knows what’s best for you!
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures… Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” (Ps 23:1-2, 4).
Psalm 23 describes an intimate relationship between the Shepherd and the sheep. Jesus, our great Shepherd, uses His tools to comfort and guide us.
The Lord uses His staff to guide us to safe and green pastures. Because God cares for us, He will lead us to where we will prosper and be fruitful for Him. Where you are right now is your green pasture; however, God may not want us to stay where we are permanently.
When a shepherd knows that the grazing area of his sheep will soon run out of grass, he makes plans to move his flock to a new pasture. In the same manner, God will give us a reason to leave our comfort zone, and He will lead the way.
The Lord’s rod is for protection and discipline. Just like the Israelites, we can also become self-dependent and self-directed when we get too comfortable with the good and prosperous life we experience in this world. Remember that this world is only a temporary dwelling place for us; our real home is in heaven with Him!
God disciplines us because His name which we carry is at stake. His reputation will compel Him to do something to discipline us. He leads us back with His rod of discipline because He loves us and will not allow us to lose focus on what is truly important.
A shepherd loves his sheep. He cares intimately for them because he is not a mere hired hand—he owns them. (Jn 10:11-13 ESV) Our Lord and Shepherd Jesus will lead us through the valleys of trials, temptations, and suffering, because we are His. What a blessed reassurance for those who follow Him!