I recently finished reading the book “Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now,” by Greg Boyd, and to say it’s transformational is an understatement. This book has ignited a fire within me to make it my life’s journey to become constantly aware of God’s presence in every moment. I’ve since ordered two more books on “practicing the presence” so I can become more studious of this ancient practice and continue learning from others who have mastered it.
There was a certain scenario that Boyd shared in the book, though, that has really stuck with me. It pertains to the affects that practicing the presence can have on advancing the Kingdom of God. He writes:
“A young mother is standing in the corner of the airport terminal, struggling to fold her baby’s chair while holding her infant. No one else sees her or cares, but, since you’re mindful of God’s presence, you do. You respond to the Spirit’s prompting and ask if you can help. In your short encounter you perceive a sadness in her eyes. As you board the plane and find your seat, you whisper a prayer for this woman and her infant. In this little encounter and lingering prayer, the Kingdom is being advanced. More of God’s life has come into our dark and oppressed world. Whether or not you can see how, this woman and her infant have been touched by God’s love.”
I love this example from Boyd for several reasons, but mainly because of its sheer simplicity. It’s not something that you might think of as meeting the criteria for “advancing the Kingdom” and it doesn’t seem “super spiritual.” I think a lot of times, we as Christians can believe the lie that advancing the Kingdom of God means we have to lead a bunch of people to Christ, set the oppressed free, heal the sick and broken, and more. While these are all certainly a big part of advancing the Kingdom, they are not the only way of advancing it. It doesn’t always have to be something that seems monumental, but it can be as simple as asking a stranger if they need help and then silently praying for them moments later. As Boyd says, when we do this, “More of God’s life has come into our dark and oppressed world.”
When you look at our assignment in terms of spreading more of God’s life and light into this dark world, then suddenly you’ll notice opportunities everywhere you go. Give your cashier at the grocery store an encouraging word. Tell the waiter you see getting treated poorly that she’s doing a great job. Silently pray over someone as you’re out to lunch or dinner with them. These are all simple ways that we can actively advance the Kingdom of God in our everyday lives.
While these examples may seem insignificant, to God they are sacred. Any moment that we bring God into our awareness and act out of His prompting, we are extending His love to a hurting world that is in desperate need of a touch from the Father. So, I challenge you to practice becoming more mindful of God’s presence with you always, and as you do this, partner with Him in advancing the Kingdom. Ask Holy Spirit for ways that you can actively expel darkness in your everyday life by releasing God’s life and light wherever you go.
I leave you with this prayer from Boyd’s book:
“Ever-present Father, you are active in everything in everyone in every moment, moving the world toward the full manifestation of your loving reign. Help us to offer ourselves wholly up to you to be instruments of your will in this moment and in every moment. Amen.”
Written by: Nate Ebel