As we begin the New Year of 2015, most of us have spent some time thinking about resolutions, goals, and priorities for the New Year. The major hurdle most of us will face as the year progresses is the task of maintaining our focus and making sure, as one man humorously put it, “Make the main thing the main thing.”
So what is your “main thing”? We all can have secondary priorities and purposes, like getting in better physical shape, getting out of debt, going back to school, or just spending more time with family. However, none of these important and practical priorities can trump growing in a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. I heard one minister say that we are as close to God as we want to be. When I heard that, it really struck me – that if I truly desire a closer walk with God, the depth of my relationship with Him is completely up to me. This echoes what the apostle James said in James 4:8, “If you come near to God, He will come near to you.”
Intentionally drawing near to God requires a practicing of His presence on a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-to-day basis. Practicing His presence means that I am consciously aware that I am living my life before Him. My life is lived before an audience of One.
In I Kings 17:1, the Scriptures introduces us to a man named Elijah. This man’s ministry would have one of the most profound and greatest impacts on the nation of Israel.
And Elijah the Tishbite, one of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years, except at my word.”
From seemingly complete hiddenness and obscurity, Elijah burst forth onto the pages of Scripture. In this first mention of his life, we are introduced not to a great prophet or intercessor for Israel, but to a simple inhabitant from an obscure village. However, this unknown man fearlessly confronted a wicked king by releasing a prophetic word that would shut the heavens and lead to the return of a backslidden nation.
Where did this man get such boldness and power? The secret of Elijah’s power and anointing was found in his words to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand…” The reality of living his life in light of the God of eternity had come to totally dominate and shape his perspective. He was free from the fear of man and the compromising spirit that allows a man to exist and survive, but never truly be God’s alone.
In this hour, the Church must renew her vision to see those things which are unseen and be moved by the One who is invisible. Only then will she have the spiritual authority and power to confront the prevailing powers of our day and turn wayward nations back to the living God. We must once again discover the power of a life lived before and audience of One.