Do you ever forget anything? This happens to me often, and I am thankful I am not the only one that suffers from a lapse of memory. We have all been in situations where there is something that we have forgotten. Sometimes, it is nothing life-altering, such as forgetting a few things at the grocery store. A moment like this will either lead to another trip to the store or living without the item. Forgotten events might bear a bit more consequence, like birthdays and anniversaries. However, in the life of a Christian, there is a lapse of memory that bears serious effects — we forget the presence of God.
Think about it for a moment. One question that is often asked is, “Where is God?” The biblical answer is everywhere. The church has affirmed throughout the ages that God is omnipresent, or everywhere at the same time. This means there is no place we can go and be absent from God’s presence. The psalmist grapples with this in Psalm 139:7, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (ESV) There is no place we can escape the presence of God. We often forget this truth. In our sinful nature, we act like practical atheists or practical deists. Let me explain what I mean by these two terms.
First, we understand that an atheist believes there is no God. Honestly, though we say we believe in God, how many times do we act as if God does not exist? If he is everywhere, then he sees everything; yet, our actions are contrary to his commands and desires. We neglect them completely. We are practical atheists when we do not acknowledge God’s existence in our daily activities through obedience to his truths.
Second, a deist believes in a supreme being but believes it does not personally interact with his creation. Again, we say that we believe in God, but how often do we act as though he does not care about what we are doing and that he does not want to communicate with us. We go about our day without spending time in prayer, and our actions suggest that he does not want to be intimately involved in our lives.
These two ideas are difficult to hear, but they lead us to an underlying principle in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (ESV)
God is everywhere; therefore, he is to be acknowledged in every activity and at every moment. When we neglect the presence of God in our lives, it leads to sin and distress. I challenge you to strive for mindfulness of God’s presence throughout your day.