John 1:1-5- The Christ-likeness of Practicing His Pressence
Its been a while since I have posted. Sorry. I am on vacation now and so I have the time to post something and since this is my vacation I have decided to post something a little off of the biographical reading schedule.
In the last few months I have been drawn to the topic of practicing His presence. Brother Lawrence exemplified this spiritual discipline for us in his little book by the same name.
I began reading the gospel of John again this week and had to stop after the first 5 verses or so because the Christ-likeness involved with practicing his presence shouted at me from the text.
John 1:1-5 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Usually when we read these verses we think about the person and nature of Jesus- the Word -God made flesh. We are drawn to the transcendent nature of Christ. The pre-existent Light of the World has come in the flesh! His transcendence makes the story of His presence among us miraculous and wonderful.
But when I read these opening verses this time around several things hit me like cold water. First, everything good begins with the Word. Often I hold to another belief. It is lie that all good things begin with a human idea and are created through hard work, determination, and a bit of luck. It is dangerous to believe that I am the only one who stands pre-existent before the good things to come in my life. The person and nature of Christ teaches us otherwise. Good things start with His ideas and created by His Word. If I am at the spring of good things than I will invariably experience the “less than” life limited by my own human frailties.
Second, The Word is with God. Duh- the Word is God! Why mention that the Word is with God? Well, because the “with God life” is not just a fact about Jesus, it is a part of His character and nature. Jesus is with the Father and the Holy Spirit as a condition of being God and being our example of what it means to be a child of the Light. It was His prayer for us- to be one with Him and the Father. Practicing God’s presence is not an afterthought or a leisurely choice. Practicing God’s presence is a quality that characterizes the life of a follower of Jesus. When we live the “with God Life” we are always sitting at the headwaters of good things, the source of life. Why would we want to be anywhere else?
And finally, Life and Light come from the Word. I have heard this a thousand times and each time the reference has been on the written Word, the Bible. What if these verses have a deeper meaning. Yes, Holy Scripture gives us Life and Light, revealing the person and nature of Christ. Read your Bible everyday. But what if what is meant in these verses is that the Word, living and active, is (and can consistently be) a presence in our lives. By this I mean more than a memorized collection of verses. I mean the actual presence of Christ, the living Messiah, our Friend and Companion. And what if that Life, that Light, dwelling with me (and me with Him) is the source of everything truly good in life? Would I do life differently then? Would I value the practice of the presence of God differently?
Jesus promised us something. He promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us. We are called by His name and we are His. We are not just a passing fancy to Jesus. He wants to be with us. Do we want to be with Him? He alone defines what is good and He is the source of Life and Light. When was the last time you invited Christ into your daily activities? Are there parts of your life where you are unwilling or unable to practice the presence of God? If nothing good starts without the presence of the Word of God, could it be that the unfruitful areas of your life lack the living Word at the headwaters? Tthink about it.