Last week was a milepost in my life. I finally had to give in and get contact lenses. With 20/20 vision I’m seeing life more clearly and enjoy it more fully. Our spiritual lives work the same way.
We tend to be shortsighted. We don’t forget God, but our vision of Him in our daily lives becomes blurry. We’re caught up in our careers, church activities, family responsibilities, and countless other things that capture our constant attention. We sometimes become so focused on those things which demand our time and energy that we neglect the One who, although never demanding, loves us more than anybody else ever will or ever could. As time passes, we may lose sight of the face of God.
If we’re honest, we’ll admit that far too often we breeze through our day merely entertaining a few passing thoughts of the Lord rather than enjoying an acute awareness of His presence. What keeps us from identifying Him in everyday matters?
The Way Jesus Relates to Us
Many Christians don’t recognize the Lord’s continuous presence with them because He often chooses to relate to those He loves in a subtle way. Jesus is the kind of Lover that doesn’t approach us in a brash and intrusive manner. His normal practice is to gently whisper to us in a still, small voice, drawing our attention and devotion toward Himself until we become so totally consumed with Him that, by comparison, everything else becomes unimportant.
For instance, as He walked with the disciples on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, “their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him” (Luke 24:16). When they reached the end of their seven-mile walk, Jesus “acted as though He were going farther” (24:28). Why did He do that? Like you, Jesus wants to be wanted by those He loves. Intimacy with Him is the result of an invitation, not an intrusion.
The disciples urged Him — “Stay with us,” they insisted (Luke 23:29). So He did. This is typical of Jesus. First, He attracts us to Himself until we long to know Him more intimately, and then He reveals Himself to us more and more as we respond to the knowledge we already have of Him.
Our Personal Circumstances
We can easily become so preoccupied with our own circumstances that Jesus seems to get lost in the shuffle. The disciples walking the Emmaus Road with Christ were bogged down in their despair about His crucifixion. When Jesus came near them, all they could see were their seemingly adverse circumstances.
To call them shortsighted is an understatement. They could see only the superficial — the natural elements — and were blind to the supernatural. Their interpretation of life made no room for the possibility of a Divine breakthrough into their situation.
The threat to our ability to recognize Jesus is no different. Our senses are so bombarded with the details of our lives that sometimes we can barely discern Him. Have you become so caught up in the demands of daily circumstances that you’ve lost the consciousness of Christ? The danger is an age-old threat, known even to those who walked beside Jesus on a dusty road two millennia ago.
A Religious Lens
Surprisingly, a religious perspective can hide Jesus from us. Certainly, we can see Christ within “religious” contexts. Most believers have seen the Lord in church, Bible studies, religious books, spiritual music, and countless other religious aids. We must not devalue the ways that Christians have traditionally experienced the Lord’s presence in their lives. But traditional religious means aren’t the only ways that Christ manifests Himself to those He loves.
Christ will make Himself known to us in more ways than we can imagine if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Jesus doesn’t just speak a religious language. He speaks the language of our everyday lives. Those who expect to see Him only within a religious context severely limit their ability to recognize Him. They are looking for Him through a lens with the diameter of a straw when, in reality, He is displaying a panoramic view of Himself that encompasses all of life.[Jesus] is the personification of God’s love — a love much too big to be contained by religion. Consequently, He reveals Himself in religious and nonreligious ways. For instance, the Bible says that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1 KJV). Clouds aren’t religious. The blue sky isn’t religious. So God doesn’t only communicate through church-talk, but also through cloud-talk. These are only two of His many dialects.
The means by which God declares His love and presence are without limit. Many ancient saints understood themselves to be living in a “God-bathed” world. That can be immeasurably helpful for those of us who want to deeply experience intimacy with Him. Our Divine Lover reveals Himself in many ways. Jesus is whispering to you right now, every day, in a thousand ways — and many of them aren’t religious. We need only to be watching and aware.
From The Godward Gaze, Copyright © 2003 by Steve McVey. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Used with permission.