Have you ever gotten into your car for your morning commute, only to find yourself in your parking spot and having no recollection of driving there? If you’re like me, it happens quite often. You’re so absorbed in your thoughts that you go through life on autopilot.
In your mind, you tend to live either in the past or future. You flip through the events of the past with regret, analysis, or with envy to relive what once was. Your mind can fast-forward to a potential future by scanning the to-do list or some future goal. Rare is the moment when you allow yourself to be fully immersed in the present.
Even as a yoga teacher, I have to constantly remind myself to stay rooted in the present moment. Follow these tips on how to bring yourself back to the now.
1. People Watch
People watching simply means sitting down in a place and getting into observation mode (without checking your phone’s text messages or emails).
You can also extend this activity beyond people, to include nature watching or any other type of environment watching. It’s an incredible experience to schedule in observation time to simply notice everything around you fully. In complete observation mode, you learn so much.
Every time I travel to a foreign country, I love sitting in a local café and putting on my people-watching hat. I learn more about a culture, mannerisms, and customs through simple observation. But you don’t have to travel to do this. You can observe anywhere. Schedule in your “people watching” time—you can even do it with friends and share observations when you’re done.
2. Listen Fully
Have you ever noticed that when your lips aren’t moving, you find your mind wandering to either the past or the future? Fully listening is a wonderful way to stay rooted in the present moment. When a person is talking to you, pretend you are hearing what they’re saying for the first time, even if you’ve heard it a million times before. Notice the tone of voice, inflection, and body language while they speak. Take note of your internal reactions to the words said. Observe your body language while listening. Catch yourself jumping into the future, in your mind, as you formulate an answer. Try to increase the amount of listening in your daily life, so you speak less and listen more. This can be an enriching experience that can lead you to feeling happier and start living in the present.
3. Savor Magic Moments
Tony Robbins says that life with others is made up of magic moments. You may have a tendency to think of the big moments such as weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and other big events as being the special times in life. However, most of life is made up of little moments. It’s your child rushing into the room just to give you a hug and say, “I love you.” It’s your husband buying toothpaste without you telling him. It’s your work colleague bringing you your favorite coffee in the morning. It’s catching a beautiful sunset on the way home from work.
When my son entered high school, I started this silly tradition of taking him to coffee one day after school, just he and I, without his brother. My intention was to get him alone with me, at least once weekly, because I knew as a teenager I might not get a lot of talk time with him. Four and a half years later, he still reminds me, that when he’s home from college, we need to get our coffee time together. It was nothing huge or eventful—just coffee, where we sat sometimes and said few words. But those magic moments made a huge impression on a growing boy, who without saying it, needed those quality moments with his mom.
4. Savor the Senses
Have you ever seen anyone have a genuine love affair with food? It’s an absolute joy to watch people fully immerse themselves in the flavors.
Take one sensory experience and allow it to halt time and quiet the mind. Enjoy a meal, savor an essential oil, spend time with a painting or sunset, feel the warmth and energy from a campfire, listen to enchanting music—this will not only bring you into the present moment, but it can even create a spiritual experience and can be a mindfulness practice. When you do this, other senses will be drawn in by habit, but try to keep your focus and pay attention to the sense you chose. The practice of creating focus can pump your present moment awareness muscles and calm the mind.
5. Appreciate the Absolute Ordinary
Have you ever walked through your own house during a quiet time and just enjoyed the moment and appreciated the seemingly menial things?
- Feel the carpet under your toes and feel so grateful for it.
- Notice the heat of your electric heat pump, and remind yourself of how fortunate you are to have heat.
- Open your refrigerator or cupboards and appreciate the food and items at your fingertips.
- Open the door slowly, offering gratitude for the key, the shelter, your address, and location.
Have you ever felt that you don’t have enough at times? While lack, in some respect, may certainly be present in your life, take stock of what you do have. You might have clean air to breath, water that flows out of a faucet, food in the fridge, and a place to sleep at night. If nothing else, appreciate the sun rising and setting each day, bringing the planet light and life. Something as simple as your fingers moving to grasp your coffee cup is a thing to celebrate. There are so many ordinary things to appreciate each day.
The more you practice mindfulness and living in the present moment, the more aware you will become. Practice one of these five things daily and watch your life transform into a more peaceful and joyful existence full of happiness.
Learn a natural, effortless style of meditation that helps invite renewal and freshness into every day with Basics of Meditation, a self-paced online course guided by Deepak Chopra. Learn More.
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.”
Hafiz of Persia
Are you moving too fast to enjoy life? Are you caught up in problems and struggles? Are you pressing forward on automatic, burning the candle at both ends?
This post is all about slowing down – and I’m writing it for myself as much as for anyone reading this. Because it’s time to stop, be still, hop off the treadmill, and return to sanity.
It’s so easy to slip away from being aware. Even with the best of intentions, before we know it, we find ourselves moving mindlessly through life. We go through the motions, taking care of obligations, inhabiting habit patterns, and meanwhile longing for a time when the to-do list is empty. Our minds are caught in mental whirlwinds while we are missing out on what is already here.
We feel separate, deadened, and half-alive.
Joyful living takes commitment. It asks us to be awake and aware in the moments of our lives. It invites us to stem the momentum of our habits so we can reclaim peace, appreciation, wonder, awe, presence.
Do you want to master the art of joyful living? Integrate these 10 steps in your life, and the seeds of joy will flourish endlessly.
1. Bring silence and stillness into your life
If we turn down the volume on all the noise in our lives, we discover the amazing fact that silence and stillness are already here. And when we intentionally allow ourselves to be still, we naturally open to a deep appreciation of the present moment. We become relaxed, grounded and clear, and stress begins to melt away.
How can you bring silence into your life? When can you stop and be still?
Someone recently told me she feels disgusted when she looks into her closet because of all the clutter. It”s a shame because every moment of disgust is a moment empty of joy.
If there is anything you are procrastinating about, anything you can easily fix, anyone who drags you down, pay attention. Don’t wait or settle for good enough. Carve out the time, figure out a solution, and clean it up. You are making the space for joy, peace, and happiness to illuminate your life.
3. Mind your own business
Do you want to be unhappy and frustrated? Then try controlling things you can’t actually do anything about. Like other people or most situations or the past or future.
If you are caught in an emotional reaction, turn the mirror onto yourself. Let the story go, and see what is actually true in your direct experience. Bring compassion right into the places where it is needed most.
Diligently work on the areas where you get stuck, and joy will naturally shine through you.
4. Give to others whatever you feel you are lacking
So many of us want attention, love, and understanding. We live in a state of lack, thinking that life can begin if only we get what we think we need.
Consider that you may not actually need what you think you need. It might just be an old story that has outworn its welcome.
Instead of living in lack, contemplate generosity. Give out to others what you want or need. Pull out the stops in offering attention, interest, and caring. Your sense of lack will be transformed into fullness. Believing you don’t have enough becomes love overflowing.
5. Use your senses
Life is so abundant right before our very eyes. Slow down and take the time to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Eating an apple becomes a sensual delight, doing the dishes a symphony.
6. Recognize what is working
It is so easy to focus on problems and unhappy feelings. They grab our attention and won’t let go like a dog feasting on a juicy bone.
Take stock of what is working in your life. Is your living situation a good one? Do you know people who you love and appreciate? Do you enjoy your daily runs or a good home-cooked meal? Simply look around you, and you may be surprised by the bounty that is already present.
7. Live in forgiveness
If a grudge is interfering with your joy of life, then it requires your loving attention. Don’t let the minutes tick by while you live in self-righteousness or regret. Neutralize the stories from the past, and make the choice to live joyfully now.
Then live in amends. If you feel wronged by someone or you hurt another, deal with it. Don’t let it fester. Make a lifestyle of living free from hurts and grudges. You will feel strong, clear, and empowered.
8. Learn from life experiences
Sometimes the road of life is a bumpy one. If you want to master joyful living, be open to learning from the challenges that life brings you. Be honest about what buttons get pushed and recognize when you have dropped into a hole that you can’t seem to find your way out of.
Difficult life experiences are designed to show us the areas in our lives where we are not yet free. Use these situations well for your own liberation. You might have noticed that the teachings come until we understand the lesson. If there is a self-defeating pattern playing out in your life, slow it down so you can become conscious of what you are doing. Then make different, better choices with your eyes wide open.
No matter what is going on in your life, show up in an open, good-natured way. No one likes a Negative Nancy. Stop complaining, and instead be patient, open, kind, and agreeable in your day-to-day life.
10. Move in the direction of joy
Every moment offers a choice. Take a look at your life, and it will show you what you value. Are you choosing stress, conflict, and unhappiness?
Joy provides the perfect barometer for navigating through life. All you need to do is recognize what brings you joy, then follow it. Simple, right? Make room in your life for what is positive, light, and life-affirming. You will have mastered the art of joyful living.
Do you live joyfully? Where do you get stuck? What other suggestions do you have? I’d love to hear…
“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman
We are always getting ready to live but never living.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Forever is composed of nows.”
― Emily Dickinson
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
― John Lennon
“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
― Maya Angelou
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
― Henry David Thoreau
Life is available only in the present moment.
― Thich Nhat Hanh
Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.
― Eckhart Tolle
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
― Thich Nhat Hahn
Living in the present moment creates the experience of eternity.
― Deepak Chopra
Act in the moment, live in the present, slowly slowly don’t allow the past to interfere, and you will be surprised that life is such an eternal wonder, such a mysterious phenomenon and such a great gift that one simply feels constantly in gratitude.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”
― Eckhart Tolle
“All I have is all I need and all I need is all I have in this moment.”
― Byron Katie
All the Buddhas of all the ages have been telling you a very simple fact: Be – don’t try to become. Within these two words, be and becoming, your whole life is contained. Being is enlightenment, becoming is ignorance.
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.
― Eckhart Tolle
Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.
― Thich Nhat Hahn
This is real freedom—the ability to enjoy the choices we make in every successive moment of the present.
― Deepak Chopra
“Life is a preparation for the future; and the best preparation for the future is to live as if there were none.”
― Albert Einstein
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
― Benjamin Franklin
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.
― Abraham Lincoln
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
― Bill Watterson
You are only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.
― Jon Kabat-Zinn
All you see in your world is the outcome of your idea about it.
― Neale Donald Walsch
Today is life – the only life you are sure of.
― Dale Carnegie
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
― Dale Carnegie
Be Here Now.
― Ram Dass
Stress is the distance between where your thoughts are and where your life is happening.
If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.
― Alan Watts
Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.
― Jean de la Bruyere
We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.
― John Newton
I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
― Alan Watts
Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always.
― Albert Schweitzer
Thank you for checking out my live in the moment quotes. If you like these, please have a look around my website for other content about how to live in the moment.
Our perspective on the future impacts our decisions in the present.
by Ed Stetzer on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 3:49 PM
“We know that if our temporary, earthly dwelling is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands” (2 Cor. 5:1).
At some point in life, each of us has to learn the necessity of taking the long view.
Deferred gratification causes us to live differently. For example, we continue our education now so that we’ll have more opportunities after we graduate. We save today so we can have financial security later in life. We exercise now so that we might be healthier as we age. Our perspective on the future impacts our decisions in the present.
This is a truth taught throughout the Bible. Paul, drawing from his experience as a tentmaker, gives a fascinating picture of this:
“We know that if our temporary, earthly dwelling is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands”.
Our physical lives are fleeting.
Paul reminds us of a reality we must acknowledge: Our physical lives are fleeting. To have the proper perspective, he says we should focus instead on what comes next, the eternal dwelling that is the future. From Paul’s perspective, when we consider the long view, our future state actually undergirds our current faith.
By contrast, the spirit of this age encourages you to take the short view. Recently, global headlines were consumed with Ashley Madison, a website for people seeking to cheat on their spouse. A hack exposed the names of 30 million plus account holders, which were eventually made public. But the tagline of the website is worth our consideration at this point. They told visitors, “Life is short; have an affair.” But that’s the exact opposite of the perspective we see in the Scriptures. Instead, the Bible says that life is eternal; therefore, live your brief time on this earth in light of the eternal realities. It’s about taking the long view.
No matter what culture—or even some in the church—says, the Christian life is fundamentally not about our best life now. To follow Jesus faithfully is, in part, an acknowledgment that our best life comes later and our lives right now should reflect this reality. To do that requires four shifts in the way we view life.
1. Live with an eternal perspective.
This idea saturates Scripture. The biblical emphasis on keeping eternity in our view reminds us of the brevity of our existence. The Bible compares life to a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow. Having this fixed in our mind points us to a reality that goes far beyond the years we may have on this earth. Recognizing this truth, it would be foolish to obsess over such a small portion of our existence. Wisdom would have us remain focused on what happens after this life is over.
2. Live in a contrast between now and not yet.
Paul says we “groan while we are in this tent, burdened as we are” (2 Cor. 5:4). We groan because we are in this imperfect, broken, struggling reality, but we look forward to the time when that reality is replaced with something better, something greater.
We know this to be true because of our own experiences and the experiences of those around us. We groan when we hear of the hurt of our friends and family. We groan in our own bodies because of the physical challenges we have. We all groan sometimes, but this groan is for heaven, for an eternal and better place. As we groan, we should remind ourselves and others these groans are temporary. They are momentary echoes of a future truth. Our best life is yet to come.
3. Engage the confident hope that permeates our lives.
In 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Paul’s point is that currently we live our lives based on faith, but one day that will no longer be the case. Then we’ll walk by sight because we can actually see the fulfillment of God’s promises to us. But for today, in a life characterized by our stumbling attempts at walking without sight, we rest our hope in our currently unseen Savior. It is hope now because it is faith in what is to come. One day that hope will be realized into full sight, but for today a confident hope should shape you.
We can see an example of what this looked like in Scripture. In describing great faith leaders in Hebrews 11:38, the writer says, “The world was not worthy of them.” But, it’s important to note that the world was not worthy of them because they were not focused on this world. Their confident hope focused them on what is to come.
4. Embrace a proper understanding of our reality.
In 2 Corinthians 5:9, Paul writes,
“Whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.”
Herein is the truth that we cannot miss. Paul says we make it our aim to please God, both now when we are in our physical bodies and later when we see rightly and live for eternity. For Paul, the promise of the resurrection leads to a current life shaped around resurrection values. We want to please Jesus in our brief time here so that we might worship Jesus for an eternal time there. The hope of personal presence later leads to the desire of personal actions now. In the end, the focus is not necessarily on heaven, but on life now lived in light of heaven.
This is not my best life now.
There are good moments for which we should praise God, but we know there are challenges, difficulties, struggles, physical ailments, hurt and pain. The world is indeed broken. But the good news is Jesus will make all things right, including you and me. For those who follow Christ, we will be in right, perfect-sighted relationship with Him for eternity, and that should cause us to live differently now. It should cause us to take the long view.
Article courtesy of Mature Living magazine.
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In a previous post we saw that when the apostle Paul said, “Jesus Christ is in you,” he was not speaking metaphorically. He was speaking of the wonderful fact that Christ as the life-giving Spirit actually comes into those who believe in Him. We looked at eight verses that confirm and enrich our understanding of this wonderful reality.
Of course, our knowing Christ is in us isn’t for a mere doctrinal understanding. Christ lives in us to be our life. So in this post, we’ll discuss how we can experience Christ living in us in a practical way.
What does this look like?
Let’s say we have a problem with losing our temper. We know this is our weak point, and we struggle against it, trying again and again to suppress our temper. But when something irritates us, we become angry and lose our temper. After a while, we calm down again. Ashamed and convicted, we confess to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us. We experience His forgiveness and our fellowship with Him is restored.
But maybe we go on from there and pray something like this: “Lord, please help me to not lose my temper again. Please give me more patience.” Yet the next day, or maybe even the next hour, we find ourselves in another situation reacting with impatience, and our temper flares up again. After praying earnestly for patience, our temper remains unchanged, and we have no more patience than we had before.
We find ourselves in a frustrating state of affairs, and we wonder why the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers. What’s wrong? The problem is this: the Lord doesn’t want to help us control our temper outwardly. He doesn’t want to give us patience.
What does He want, then? The Lord Jesus wants to be our patience.
For Christ to be able to come to live in us was not a simple matter to accomplish. He took some tremendous steps for this to happen. So it doesn’t make sense that He would want to merely help us live good Christian lives by ourselves, occasionally asking Him for help when we feel we need it.
Christ wants us to see that from the time we believed in Him, He came to live in us to be life to us and to be lived out of us. As the Spirit, He is now living in our spirit. First Corinthians 6:17 tells us that we are joined to the Lord and are one spirit with Him. Since this is the case, the Christian life is not a life we are meant to live by ourselves, by our own strength, with packages of things like patience and self-control distributed to us by the Lord. Rather, the Christian life is a life in which Christ is the One living and doing everything in us, with us, and through us. He wants us to take Him as our life, our source, in all our circumstances.
How can we experience Christ living in us?
If we really see that Christ lives in us, we will know He is never far away; He’s right within our spirit, present with us in every situation and ready to be applied at any time. He wants to live in us in every instance. So how can we experience this?
Let’s return to the example of our temper. Something vexing happens, and we feel our temper rising again. Here we would usually and unsuccessfully try to suppress our temper. But instead of trying to suppress our temper, if we would right there, at that moment, turn away from our struggling self to Christ in our spirit, He would be in us exactly what we need. When we turn to Him, we experience Christ in our spirit as the enduring One, the patient One. Then instead of living by our natural, failing life, or hoping for a packet of patience that will never come, we experience the One who is patience dwelling in our spirit and being lived out of us and expressed through us as the real patience.
How to turn to Christ in our spirit
One of the best ways to instantly turn to the Lord Jesus in our spirit is to call upon His name. As we call upon the Lord Jesus, we contact Him as the indwelling Spirit in our spirit. Depending on the circumstances, we can call, “Oh Lord, Lord Jesus,” quietly or, if we’re alone, loudly. In the midst of our upset, He quiets our being and becomes our living patience.
Romans 10:12 says that the Lord is “rich to all who call upon Him.” How is He rich? He is rich to us in patience, in calmness, in longsuffering, in endurance, in whatever we need to face any particular circumstance. He Himself is everything we need.
As we turn to Christ by calling upon Him and contacting Him in our spirit, we enjoy what He is to us. Romans 10:13 tells us:
“For ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
This “shall be saved” refers not only to our initial salvation; it also refers to our daily salvation, after we believe. We all can admit that we still need to be saved from many negative things, such as our temper, every day.
Note 2 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version says:
“To be saved here means to be brought into the enjoyment of the riches of the Lord. The Lord is rich to both Jews and Greeks. All who call on the Lord’s name enjoy this rich Lord; as a result, they are filled with Him and express Him.”
So on the negative side, we get saved from our temper, but on the positive side, we enjoy more of the riches of Christ and Christ is expressed out of us!
Instead of asking for and expecting to be given a thing, such as patience, we experience a wonderful Person, the living Christ in us, as the real solution to our problem. By calling upon His name, we take Him like an all-inclusive dose that meets our every need and cures our every “sickness.” He is our peace, humility, love, hope, kindness, joy, and so many other riches! We enjoy being joined to the patient and virtuous One within us, and we experience Him as our life and everything.
Day by day, knowing Christ our life more
We can enjoy the Lord’s indwelling when we begin our day by spending time to contact Him in our spirit, confess our sins to Him, open to Him, thank Him, fellowship with Him, praise Him, and pray His Word back to Him. The more we do this, and the more regularly we do this, the more we will not only know that Christ lives in us but also enjoy Him in our spirit.
Then throughout the day, we can continue to call upon the name of the Lord to experience Him in all the situations of our daily life, turning to Him in our spirit to be one with Him. By calling on Him in every situation, we can be saved and enjoy the riches of all He is. Instead of expressing our own reaction to things, we will begin to express the Christ who is our life, automatically and spontaneously. Praise the Lord, Christ lives in us!
All verses are quoted from the Holy Bible Recovery Version. You can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version here .
Spiritual warfare is real. But don’t worry, God is with you.
by Matt Erickson on Wednesday, November 02, 2016 at 4:00 PM
Spiritual warfare is real. In her Bible study “The Armor of God,” Priscilla Shirer explains how God has provided everything you need to live victoriously. And that through prayer we recognize and wield the weapons of our spiritual warfare.
Priscilla Shirer’s latest Bible study, The Armor of God, takes its name from the well-known spiritual warfare passage in Ephesians 6:10-20. She notes there are actually seven pieces of armor described there, not six, as is commonly thought.
“When Paul talks about spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, prayer is the seventh piece of armor. It activates all of the rest of the spiritual armor,” she said. “When we refuse to pray, it’s like having a refrigerator without plugging it in. Prayer is the divinely authorized mechanism God has given us to tap into His power. Without prayer, we’ll be ineffective in spiritual warfare. But with it, we will be victorious.”
The Truth About Spiritual Warfare
Priscilla believes we tend to see our problems and struggles in non-spiritual terms. And because of that, we tend to seek non-spiritual solutions.
“Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world,” she said. “The effects of the war going on in the unseen world reveal themselves in our strained and damaged relationships, emotional instability, mental fatigue, physical exhaustion and many other areas of life. Many of us feel pinned down by anger, unforgiveness, pride, comparisons, insecurity, discord, fear. . . and the list goes on. But the overarching, primary nemesis behind all these outcomes is the Devil himself.”
Did you catch that? Our biggest problems are actually spiritually rooted. Ephesians 6:12 says the same: “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” Spiritual warfare is real.
Craving and Praying for Spiritual Vision
We also have a need for spiritual vision — for an understanding of who we are in Christ, and all that entails. Priscilla reminds us that God has provided us with everything we need to win the spiritual battles we face, emphasizing that we need to know that, believe it, and act upon it. And it’s through prayer that we recognize and wield the weapons of our spiritual warfare described in Ephesians 6.
“The spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-20 (truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, God’s Word, prayer) is merely a repeat, a different way of describing what Paul had already been explaining in the rest of his letter. Because how could the readers ‘put on’ or ‘take up’ armor that they didn’t understand or even know they had? The first step for them — the first step for us — in utilizing the spiritual resources we’ve been given is to have our spiritual eyes opened so that we can see them,” she said.
To that end, Priscilla urges us to pray for more spiritual vision. She says we should ask the Lord to open our eyes to see the enemy’s activity and to be more aware of the spiritual resources He has given us to disarm and defeat him. Victory is available to us, but it will only come as we pray for God’s help in the battle.
We’re in a spiritual war that can only be won with spiritual resources, but we’ve got to know we have these spiritual resources at our disposal, and we’ve got to use them. Prayer is crucial for both.
Recognizing the Enemy’s Strategy
Priscilla reminds us the enemy operates by deception. He wants us to believe lies about him, about God, about ourselves and about what’s important and true. And he’s very strategic in the way he goes about it.
“The enemy’s attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God, and about your value in Him. He desires to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God — this way you’ll be disconnected from the Source of true power and strength,” she said.
“The evil temptations that appeal to your specific desires and happen to show up when you are most vulnerable are not accidental. They are his deceptive tactics (and that of his evil entourage), specifically designed, timed and personalized in hopes that you fall prey to his demon ploy and miss out on experiencing an abundant life in Christ,” she said.
Why It’s Important to Pray
Priscilla believes the enemy often attacks us at points of strength, influence and weakness. So, we need to prayerfully discern where the attacks are likely to come from, and take measures to defend ourselves in the power of God’s strength.
“Consider your areas of greatest strength and greatest weakness. Keep a close eye on both of these areas and safeguard yourself through prayer. These areas are likely the places where you can expect the enemy to target his attacks against you. When you know where to look, you can see him coming a mile away. He’s really not that clever. He’s just cunning,” she said.
We’re fighting a spiritual war with an enemy whose primary tactic is deception. This enemy can be defeated through the spiritual resources God provides, and these resources are activated and empowered through prayer.
“Prayer is simply an outpouring of your heart to God and then making room in your life to hear back from Him in His Word and as He orchestrates your circumstances. God wants to have a conversation with you. He longs to hear what is really on your heart. He wants openness and honesty.”
How to Pray: Be Raw, Frank and Real with God
“Your prayer needs to be authentic and heartfelt. There is no need for ten-dollar words and poetic prose. Just be raw, frank, and real with God,” she said. “I believe prayer works. Prayer has been more effective in my life than human solutions. Time, and time and time again, I’ve seen that lasting change comes only through prayer. When I pray — release it into His hands — God accomplishes what I can’t do in my own strength.”
Priscilla believes prayer is absolutely crucial to knowing God, relating to Him and experiencing His power and grace in your everyday life.
“Prayer is how we see heaven invade earth. It’s what opens up the floodgates for God to come down and be involved in our everyday circumstances.”
Article courtesy of HomeLife magazine.
The day we get saved is a wonderful, momentous day. However, after experiencing the initial joy of salvation, it’s not unusual to wonder how to continue experiencing the Lord Jesus. You may have questions like How can I know Jesus personally? How can I experience Jesus in my life? Is being forgiven and saved from God’s judgment all there is to the Christian life?
Some may try different ways to experience Jesus like they did on the day they were saved. Perhaps they study the Bible, but though they learn something new, the Lord Himself may still seem far away. It’s like trying to enter a locked room with the wrong key; you need the right key to unlock the door. In the same way, we need to use the “right key” to experience Jesus. So what’s the key for us to know Jesus personally in our daily life?
We’ve been redeemed and reborn
Before we see the key to experiencing Jesus, we need to grasp two important facts.
The first fact is that Jesus redeemed us by His death on the cross. How we thank Him for this! And His redemption made the second fact possible: Jesus has come to live in our spirit! Through Christ’s death, He saved us from eternal judgment; in His resurrection, Christ as the life-giving Spirit came to live in our spirit. Knowing and appreciating this second fact is crucial to truly experiencing Jesus daily.
God created us because He wanted to give us His divine life so we’d express Him in our living. But because mankind fell, two things happened: we became sinful and our spirit was deadened, unable to contact or know God. So we had two great needs: our sins needed to be forgiven, and our deadened spirit needed to be made alive.
When we received the Lord Jesus as our Savior, both of these great needs were met! We were redeemed and forgiven of our sins, and we were reborn in our spirit with the life of God.
Now let’s go on to see the key to experiencing Jesus.
Three realms and three keys
There are three realms in this universe: the physical realm, the psychological realm, and the spiritual realm. When God created us, He equipped us with the three keys that give us access to each realm—a body, a soul, and a spirit:
- The physical realm is the material world, consisting of what we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. The key to experiencing this realm is to use our body’s five physical senses.
- The psychological realm is the realm of the human soul, which is deeper than the physical realm and consists of intangible things like thoughts, feelings, and decisions. The key to experiencing the psychological realm is to use the faculties of our soul: our mind to think, reason, and analyze; our emotions to experience joy, sorrow, and other feelings; and our will to decide, form intentions, and make choices.
- The spiritual realm is more mysterious and deeper than both the physical and psychological realms. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit.” In spirit here means in our human spirit. The key to experiencing the spiritual realm is to use our human spirit to contact God, who is Spirit.
To illustrate the importance of using the right key for each realm, let’s use the example of the delicious aroma of bread baking in an oven. To try and “experience” that aroma by using the faculties of our soul would be futile. Our soul is simply the wrong key. But with a single sniff, we can use our sense of smell and immediately experience that mouthwatering aroma.
In the same way, we can’t experience Christ if we use the wrong key. Jesus Christ is no longer physically present on earth, so our five senses don’t help us there. And even using our mind to think about Him or our emotions to try to sense Him doesn’t work, because God is Spirit. Using our God-created human spirit is the right key for us to experience Christ, who lives in our spirit.
How to use our spirit
To use any part of our being means to exercise that part. For example, physically we use or exercise our feet by walking. Psychologically, we exercise our mind by studying or considering a topic.
So how do we exercise our spirit to contact and experience the Lord Jesus? The best way to exercise our spirit is by praying. Our prayers don’t need to be long or formal. They don’t even need to be made in a particular place. In fact, simply calling on the precious name of our Lord Jesus is a good way to exercise our spirit to contact Him in prayer. When we call on the name of the Lord from deep within, we experience Him as living water, satisfying us and quenching our thirst at any time during our day.
Another way to exercise our spirit is to pray with the Word of God. As we read the Bible, we can turn what we read into our prayer. When we pray with the Scriptures, we use not just our mind to read the Word, but more importantly we use our spirit to contact the Spirit in the Word. By exercising our spirit with the Word of God, we experience Christ as our spiritual nourishment.
We can also exercise our spirit by praising and thanking the Lord for all He is and all He has done for us. We can be filled with Him by giving thanks to Him for all things.
By regularly practicing these different ways of exercising our spirit, we can go on from the initial step of salvation to know and experience Jesus more every day.
Experiencing Jesus day by day
The Lord Jesus doesn’t want to be an objective figure whom we worship from afar. He redeemed us and regenerated us to live in us and be our life. Jesus lives in us, so we can experience Him subjectively as everything to us in our everyday life. In all matters of our life—whether big or small—we can experience Christ as whatever we need when we contact Him by using the key of our human spirit.
What a joy to experience Jesus by exercising our spirit!
This post is based on chapter 5 of Basic Elements of the Christian Life, vol. 1, by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee. Click here to download this e-book for free.
How to Live the Bible — Living in the Exile of Pandemic
This is the one-hundred-third lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
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For a season, “How to Live the Bible” will focus on biblical truths that bear on the global health crisis that has so profoundly affected our lives in these days. Mel Lawrenz is teaching pastor at Elmbrook Church and the author of numerous books including Spiritual Leadership Today.
What do you do when life is suddenly terribly disrupted? When you have to change your pattern of life? When your relationships become disjointed?
This is where we live now. The global pandemic has imposed this on us. We now have fears about an illness that could be fatal for many people. Large numbers of people have suddenly become unemployed. Friends are limited in the contact they can have with each other. In some parts of the world with limited medical infrastructure, large numbers of people are wondering how they will get through this period.
This time in which we live will require a new level of faith.
This is not the first time people of faith have had to trust in God in greater measure because some dramatic force has disrupted their lives. In fact, this is a story told many times over in the Bible. One such time was when the people of God suffered the destruction of the core of their nation. When the Assyrian Empire and then later the Babylonian Empire descended on Israel and Judah and scattered their inhabitants and took many into exile.
God’s people needed to know how to cope. How to survive. Maybe even how to thrive.
It is possible. In the Old Testament we have the stories of how God’s people coped with disruption and exile. And in the New Testament the story continued. Yes, the Jews were able to return and rebuild Jerusalem and a semblance of what used to be their nation. But then they were conquered and dominated by the Greek Empire, and then by the Roman Empire.
Plan B became Plan C. And then Plan D.
Many of us have experienced the same. We thought our lives would progress along a certain trajectory. But then someone got sick. Or someone lost their job. Or someone got divorced. Or someone died. Or a virus swept across the world like a swarm of locusts.
This is where we live now. Our minds are reeling with how fast it all happened. We hear different opinions from different authorities. We are left wondering what will actually happen. We live in a moment when we need a faith that is deep, not shallow. Real, not wishful thinking. Informed, not opinionated.
Is there something we can learn from the experience of exile in Scripture?
First, we lament. Part of dealing with the extreme disruptions we are experiencing during this global health crisis is to honestly admit to ourselves and to God and to others just how it all upsets us. That’s the power of lament.
There are reasons for the psalms of lament in the Old Testament. To be honest about the hard feelings we go through when life has become disrupted does not work against faith. It is integral to faith. When we lament, we are reacting honestly to reality. We are facing the problems head-on. And then we can dig deep for that faith that will help us carry on. Then we will come up with really smart solutions to our dilemmas.
This is expressed so well in Psalm 137, written from exile.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs. (vv. 1-3a)
I first engaged with this passage of Scripture a long time ago through a song that used these words in a mournful, haunting melody. It stuck deeply in my heart.
Psalm 137 was written by someone among the exiles who had been ripped out of Judah and carried hundreds of miles away into Babylonia. This person is thinking about Zion (Jerusalem) before that fateful day in 587 BC when the armies of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon breached the walls of the besieged city and destroyed it, and the temple within it.
But, a new reality imposed itself. Life in exile. The people of God were forced to look at life and God in a new way.
We can do this today. Being socially confined and being at home is a far cry from having your home burned to the ground.
Living in exile begins with acknowledging the new reality. As the people of God exiled to Babylon realized, God is there. In the exile. Nothing is going to change that.
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Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s teaching pastor. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.