How to live in the presence of god without being perfectLast year we ran a LAN cable to the house. Since then almost every day I looked at that cable laying across the lawn and thought, “I need to dig that in or it will surely get chopped by the mower.” Yesterday it got chopped.

THE FLESH REARS ITS UGLY HEAD

Since there was no one but me to blame I immediately went to work accusing myself of my “sin” — trying to make myself righteous by telling myself how stupid I was for putting off the work. (You never did that?)
What I was really doing is preparing the way for more mistakes:

When your inner dialog
revolves around your circumstance
you’re self-condemned to conjure up
a chain of similar events.

THE HIGH LIFE

After a while I remembered:

As long as I am focused on me and what I’ve done I will remain under the circumstances in continual embarrassment and compromise.

I become like Jesus, the Master, by focusing on him and what he has done. So I “repented,” turned my mind forcefully to considering the context in which my stupidity is happening: His presence. Infinity. Eternity. The Kingdom of Heaven here and now.

In him, your sordid past, your shame
and all your sins are buried in
the ocean of forgetfulness;
in him, you rise to live again.

In him you walk with God Most High,
you sense his presence everywhere;
in him, the fire has done its work,
the dross is gone, you cease to care

for anything except the word
that caused creation to appear,
and the holy fragrance that
remains when all things disappear.

SHUT UP AND FIX IT.

I was a builder for almost forty years. A master fixes his mistakes in stride. A good journeyman lets out a curse and then fixes it. The guy who has a fit over his mistakes — or tries to hide them — either hasn’t been around this kind of work very long, doesn’t know what he’s doing — or both. Continuously perfect performance only happens on some other planet.

We “Christians” need to get a lot more professional in our approach: We need to quit suffering over our sins. If Jesus died for your sin you don’t have any sin.

In him, in his presence, every second is totally new. In him, in his presence we have already won — and we are definitely in his presence all the time whether we know it or not. So let’s focus on him and come to know it, to experience him here and now. How? Think about his sandals, his miracles, his death, his beard, his parables — anything about Jesus will do. (You’ll find doing this to be extremely difficult at first and ridiculously easy in the end.)

When I turned to considering Jesus, the cable did not fix itself. The difference is, I did the work in his presence, the Secret Place of the Most High, the kingdom of heaven.

Next time the LAN cable of life gets mowed I hope I go to work and fix it without condemning myself. But if I do get caught flatfooted and have another fit — no problem. I’ll have plenty of chances to re-take the test.