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You Are with Me Now

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A year ago, I gave a challenge to our church members, one that has had a dramatic influence in our relationship with Christ and the way we go about our daily tasks. I’d like to offer you that same challenge.

It all began with a lesson the Lord taught me while I was on an international ministry assignment without my wife. I had several hours alone in a large city I had never visited before, so I took a long walking tour.

At the end, I was feeling a bit melancholy. I sure wish Mary could have joined me, I thought. It’s not much fun doing this all alone.

Right then, it was as if the Lord tapped my shoulder and said, Have you really been all alone this whole time?

Well, I guess not, Lord, I thought.

He didn’t speak audibly, but here’s what the Lord impressed on my heart: I’ve been with you this entire day, Jonathan, but you’ve more or less ignored me. You could have shared this time with me. Spoken to me. Invited me to teach you. Expressed wonder and praise to me. You didn’t have to feel alone these past hours, because you weren’t.

It was one of those teachable moments, so I simply acknowledged, “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now.” And I determined to repeat and remember that phrase for the rest of the trip. When jetlag woke me up at night and I couldn’t get back to sleep, “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now,” I whispered. When I was talking and had a free moment in the conversation, Lord Jesus, You are with me right now, I thought. When I was standing on the top floor of a skyscraper, sensing just how small I am while looking over the vast expanse of one of the world’s largest cities, “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now,” I breathed. When I was preparing to speak to hundreds of people in an international church and had only been told about it the day before, “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now,” I prayed. When temptation came my way, “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now,” I affirmed.

I repeated the phrase so often that it began to shape the way I approached my day. I wrote it on several cards and put them in places that would serve as reminders for me. In the weeks that followed, it wasn’t so much that my activities changed but how I approached them.

The impact was dramatic. My exchanges with the Lord in prayer increased. Mundane tasks took on new meaning. I had renewed confidence in God’s desire to grant wisdom and power in each circumstance. The desire to please Him grew.

What if we had an awareness of the Lord’s presence with us all the time? What if we invited Him into every part of our day? That likely doesn’t mean a career change or a radical schedule readjustment. Here’s what John Ortberg says in his book God Is Closer than You Think: “Spending the day with God does not usually involve doing different things from what we already do. Mostly it involves learning to do what we already do in a new way — with God.”

We can do that whether we’re teachers, engineers, computer technicians, managers, homemakers, truck drivers, lawyers or any other profession—because mostly “it involves learning to do what we already do in a new way — with God.” It’s an incredible idea, isn’t it?

Here’s my challenge to you this summer. See how many times, how many places, each day, you can remind yourself: “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now.” After all, that’s what He promised before He ascended to heaven, right? “‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matt. 28:18–20). All authority. And He’s with you—right now. That’s His promise.

In Colossians 1:27 and 29, Paul writes, “. . . And this is the ecret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. . . . That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me” (NLT). If I neglect this truth, I miss out on so much.

The home where I grew up had high-tension wires running along the backyard, with an electrical substation at the corner of the property. Sometimes, when a large storm hit the area, our lights would go off; food in the freezer would begin to defrost. We could look out our window and see those huge high-tension wires, pulsing with megawatts of electricity, less than 100 yards from our house—yet we had no power.

That’s how we live sometimes as Christians, isn’t it? Power so close, so available in Jesus, and yet there’s no connection. What if we start to walk with such an awareness of Jesus living in us, with all of His power and authority, that it would transform the way we go about our day? Every conversation, every errand, every project, every outing, would take on new significance. He didn’t want us to forget that. Maybe that’s why the most frequently repeated promise in the Bible is this: “I will be with you.” And when God comes to this earth, His redemptive Name is Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

What if we lived with this reality all summer? Take the challenge to invite Him into every sphere of your day. Tell Him as often as you can, “Lord Jesus, You are with me right now.”

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