Editor’s Note: It’s Sit & Listen Saturday at Devotionals Daily. Enjoy reading as well as listening to this devotion from Swipe Right by Levi Lusko. Listen on the blog below or on your Alexa device by enabling the skill and then prompting, “Alexa, ask devotionals to read today’s devotion.”
Recognition Leads to Ignition
When you acknowledge God’s presence, you turn the key in your spiritual ignition. His presence is a benefit only if you remember it, cultivate it, and lean into it. One of the most repeated commands in Scripture is “Remember,” because it is so easy to forget. Whisper to God each morning, “I know that you are here. I know you are with me.” Say it when you are afraid or tempted. Say it when you are angry or disappointed. Let it become your release valve when you are ashamed. Run to him, not from him. Memory will help alter your story.
There is no limit to where you can take this, because God will fill whatever space you create. God said,
Those who seek Me find Me. — Proverbs 8:17 NIV
Like the ocean that floods into the hole on the beach you dug between tides, He will fill whatever you open up and make available. We check our phones on average one hundred and fifty times a day, which breaks down to once every six minutes. You probably just did it, didn’t you? Busted. (That’s why mine is in the other room, and the computer I am typing this on is in “Do Not Disturb” mode. I don’t trust myself!) What if you got into the regular habit of looking up? How good would it be for your heart if one hundred and fifty times a day you acknowledged God’s presence and smiled at Him in your soul? What if you invited Him into your life at work or at school and gave Him a seat at the table in your hobbies and finances, even in your loneliness?
I came across an old hymn by Oliver Holden that will give you a brand-new way of looking at what is all around you:
They who seek the throne of grace,
Find that throne in every place;
If we live a life of prayer,
God is present everywhere.
In our sickness or our health,
In our want or in our wealth,
If we look to God in prayer,
God is present everywhere.1
Interestingly enough, even though God is omnipresent, there is one place He won’t invade unless invited — the human heart:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. — Revelation 3:20
To benefit from God’s touch inside your spirit, you must welcome Him in.
As you seek to rise up and live a life of strength and honor, nothing will give you greater peace and authority than embracing the power that comes from practicing the presence of God. We live in a world where people only look to the right and to the left. If you want to swipe right, you must look up. Had Moses looked up, he wouldn’t have killed the Egyptian, which cost him so much in the long run. God did want Moses to get the Israelites out of Egypt, but not by killing one random soldier; instead Moses was to stroll into Pharaoh’s throne room and calmly ask for them to be released. And instead of pathetically burying one man in the sand, he would raise his staff, buoyed by God’s strength, and all of Pharaoh’s troops would be buried under the Red Sea. Timing is everything.
Even if, like Moses, you zigged when you should have zagged, God is still with you and still wants to draw near to you. His presence is not based on your performance. He’s not only with you on your good days or more with you on your good days. He is always with you, because that’s who He is, not because of anything you have or haven’t done. I don’t care what skeletons are in your closet: whether you were once on drugs, whether you’ve spent time behind bars, or whether your marriage failed.
The things behind you are no match for the One who is with you.
How do you begin to move forward from a mess you have made?
Let your identity come from the way God has rescued you and not with what you needed rescuing from in the first place. We can romanticize the story, but the truth is Moses had a turbulent upbringing. Things were so stacked against him when he was born that the safest thing his parents could do was put him in a tiny boat and set him floating down a river full of crocodiles. He had to pretend his mom was his babysitter; then once he was weaned, he grew up in the court of the man who had tried to kill him. The deranged Hitler character became his grandpa. Sounds like an expensive therapy bill to me.
God brought good out of Moses’ challenges in the end. But when you are in the thick of it, it can be hard to see that. Moses could have ended up a very confused, very mixed-up puppy. But note that the name Moses, which means “drawn out,” was given to him because he was saved from the river, not because he was cast into it. His name came from his deliverance.
This is key for you and me. It’s so easy to get stuck, to fixate on the bad things you have been through. To focus on the hurt — that you weren’t loved, or that you are divorced, or that you are an addict, or that you are fatherless, or that you were sexually abused.
If you’re not careful, this bitterness can turn into a victim mentality and a wounded spirit. You can let it control you and give you your name. It’s easy to be defined by your dysfunction, but it’s not necessary.
Just as Moses means “drawn out,” you have been called out. The Greek word translated as church in the New Testament literally means “called out” ones. Jesus loved you so much that He called you out of the crocodile-infested darkness into His marvelous light. Royal blood was shed for you! You have been rescued.
Beauty from ashes. Light from dark places. He makes all things work together for good. Every day you have a choice: you can dwell on the fact that you were put into hardship, or you can focus on and rejoice over the fact that God drew you out. God wants to bring you to a place where
you are not defined by your dysfunction but by your deliverance.
It’s easy to be so shaken and scarred by your trials that, even though they’re behind you, you still smell of them, and all you can think about is how hard life has been. I believe not only that you will not be consumed by the fires you have been through, but that you won’t even smell like smoke. At this very moment, as you read these words, God’s Spirit wants to heal your wounded spirit and free you from a victim’s mentality. His desire is for you to see that you are more than a conqueror, and He is leading you in victory.
I dare you to raise your palms to the ceiling and whisper to Him, “I am willing.” In God’s economy it doesn’t matter where you begin but whose hands you are in. He loves nothing more than doing wonderful things with broken beings.
- Oliver Holden, “Secret Prayer,” The Young Convert’s Companion, Being a Collection of Hymns for the Use of Conference Meetings (Boston: E. Lincoln, 1806); repr. in Charles S. Sutter and Wilbur F. Tillett, The Hymns and Hymn Writers of the Church: An Annotated Edition of the Methodist Hymnal (New York: Eaton & Mains, 1911), 272.
Excerpted with permission from Swipe Right by Levi Lusko, copyright Levi Lusko.
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Do you remember who you truly are? Or do you look back at past sins you’ve committed or that have been committed against you and feel stained by them forgetting that you are the beloved of God, made completely clean in Him? You were brought out. Out of darkness and into light. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily