Thursday, March 12, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

There is a small book that sits in the stack of reading material wherever my Bible is resting.
Most days that would be on the dining room table. It is The Practice of the Presence of God. It is 64 pages of recorded conversations and letters by Brother Lawrence, a monk with the Carmelites in Paris in the 1600's.

I have lost count of how many times I have read this book. It is not an easy read. It is written in the "old language", and the first dozen times I read it, I had to keep going back and re-reading each paragraph, dissecting it, and getting the deeper meaning of his words. This very small book is packed, no, it is overflowing with the simplicity of what it means to know God and to love Him.
This humble man only wanted to live out his days pleasing his God by continually communing with him, acknowledging His presence at all times, and letting that affect his every action and thought that came from within.

This is what I desire. I believe it is what all of us as children of God desire in our innermost beings. To know that God is with us 100% of the time and to have that assurance literally change our days. If all of us could practice this truth to the fullest, our lives would be radically changed.
Talk about a "makeover!" Our lives would be so different, that we would be on full tilt throughout each day! Our spirits would be so in tune with this overwhelming confidence that there would be nothing we would face that we could not overcome. When we did experience seeming defeat, this trust would grant us the peace that God willed it for a purpose and that He would work amazing results out of it, sooner or later.

"That the trust we put in God honors Him much and draws down great graces." (Brother Lawrence) This is only one quote that has stuck in my mind. I have thought about this often. The measure of trust I show and present to my Lord pretty much displays to others the measure of honor I have for Him. The blessed reward of that trust brings back to me large gifts of grace from my God who is pleased with my faith and the honor it brings to His name.

I have told my kids many a time to remember this one thing when they leave home and go out on their own. "What you know and believe about God will shape and define you for the rest of your life." If you know something without a doubt, then you believe it. If you believe it, then you will live it. You can't do anything but! Your very life and all that you do and say will be the evidence of that foundational truth. You have been shaped by the measure of your faith. Think of it this way. God's fingerprints are all over you. He is using circumstances and situations in your life to literally mold and pinch and form your spirit and soul into a beautiful "definition" of one who is transformed from a life of uncertainty to a life of assurance.

God is real. God is my Creator. God loves me. God sent His Son to be my Savior. God is in total control of this world and my life. God is working all things for good on my behalf.

To define means to give the meaning of. When others are searching for the meaning of "full trust in God," can they look at me for the best definition, for a word picture of what that really means? I hope so. May the "great graces" that are "drawn down" from the One whom I love so very much be the source of my strength. May they frame and define my life like that of Brother Lawrence's life... To know my Savior, to talk with Him throughout my every day, and to rest in the truth that He is with me every step of the way.

I close with these lines from one of the conversations recorded in the book.

"That we ought, once for all, heartily to put our whole trust in God, and make a total surrender of ourselves to Him, secure that He would not deceive us...That all things are possible to him who believes; that they are less difficult to him who hopes; that they are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues. That the end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity."

I propose to let my life be a witness of how much trust I have in my God. I will choose to try my best to "live out loud" what it means to live a life of faith. I will stand in-waiting for the supply of grace that my God who loves and rewards will pour out afresh every morning as I go and commune with Him, and practice His presence in my life.

How about you? Is God's presence being perfected in your life?

What you know and believe about God is defining you today and shaping you for tomorrow. Do you feel "great graces" showering down upon you? If not, maybe it's time to start forming a new habit of total surrender in your life, putting your whole trust in the Lord. There's no better time to start. After all, practice makes perfect.

Here's a song that brings life and praise to the very truth of this post. :-)




Anonymous said...

Wow... that's a lot of time to have read that book. If I have a book that's a hard read, I likely won't even finish it, much less read it again!

Katie said...

I've got to look this up! I've heard of it before, but forgotten about it. Thanks!

-Katie <><