“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Be Present! What does it mean? There are different ways to be present. Being physically present and accounted for is obviously important. Just ask a child about that regarding their parents or ask a supervisor about that regarding their subordinate. But everyone knows, especially children and bosses, that truly being present entails much more than that.
Being present also means to be focused and engaged in the person and/or task at hand. Being present requires a focused engagement of every aspect of our being including the physical, mental, emotional and even the spiritual.
We live in a world that militates against our being present in the moments of our life. We are bombarded 24/7 with distractions and demands for our presence, primarily through media, social networking websites, and e communication. We delude ourselves into thinking that with the sophistication of technology we can now be omni-present because we can multitask.
But the stark reality is that a person cannot multitask and be fully present at the same time! It is a conceit to think that way. And it may actually border on idolatry because we make ourselves to be like God, who alone is omnipresent. How ridiculous it is when you stop to think about it.
So having established that, here is my take on what it means to be present from a Biblical perspective. The verse “Be still and know that I am God” says it like no other. The Hebrew word for “be still” literally means to “cease” or “cease striving”. It means to push the pause button on and forsake everything else in our lives to focus on Him.
To be present means to first and foremost ask God to be present in our lives and to focus on His presence. To fully be present in any situation or relationship we must begin there.
With that as a foundation for our understanding of what it means to “be present” I want to share with you what I am calling the 8 Be Present Attitudes. I have discovered these from a study of the Scriptures and they provide eight simple ways to improve our ability to truly be present in any and every circumstance. In fact in six out of eight, the scripture used as an illustration literally tells us that these respective attitudes are to be done at all times and in every circumstance.
- Be Focused – This is paramount for presence and there are several key passages in the Bible that exhort us of the necessity of focusing our thoughts and minds. We are told to “fix our thoughts on Jesus” and to “set our minds on things above.” (Hebrews 3;1 & Colossians 3:2) We are also exhorted to “be steadfast of mind.” (Isaiah 26:3)
- Be Watchful – Not enough can be said about how important it is to be alert and discerning. Again and again the Bible tells us be fully awake and vigilant, seeking to see the things God is seeing and wants to reveal to us. Jesus told us to “Keep watch” and Paul said “Be watchful!” (Matthew 24:42, 1 Corinthians 16:13 & Ephesians 6;18)
- Be Content – Being content with the moment you are in and not wishing for some other moment either past or future will help you abide in the present. This is something we can learn by choice and practice. Paul tells us “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11 NIV)
- Be Thankful – Being content and thankfulness go hand in hand. And so it is possible to “be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)
- Be Prayerful – When the moment we are in is not a pleasant one or is trying our patience we always have the option of turning to God in prayer. Prayer enables us to be present when other things around war against that. Prayer also helps us be more discerning to find God in the moment. We should therefore be “instant in prayer” and “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” (Colossians 4:2 7 Ephesians 5:18 NLT)
- Be Strong – It takes perseverance and strength to endure difficult moments we sometimes find ourselves experiencing. God is always there to help you be present and not retreat by longing for the past or wishing for a preferred future. Many times in the Bible we hear these words “Be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:9, Psalm 31:24 & 1 Corinthians 16:13)
- Be Loving – Being present in the moment is greatly helped when we focus on and think about others before ourselves. It frees us from self-consciousness and self-pity. “Do everything with love” the Bible tells us. (1 Corinthians 16:14 NLT) Trying circumstances are always transformed with love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV)
- Believe – “Trust in the Lord at all times” the psalmist tells us. (Psalm 63:8) Faith is a non negotiable when it comes to being fully present. Without it is impossible to please God or live victoriously in the moment we are in. (Hebrews 11:6 & Romans 1;17)
What have you learned about challenges and/or solutions to being fully present? Comments are always appreciated!!!
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