Dave likes to go to sporting events when we're home in St. Louis. And every time he goes, there's a woman who sits by the stadium gate, begging. One whole side of her face is caved in, as if part of her bone structure is missing. Well, Dave always looks for her, and she is always happy to see him because he's developed a habit of handing her $20.
Tens of thousands of people go to those games. But it's surprising how few people give that woman anything. Most of them just file by like she's not even there. I wonder how many of them are Christians.
A Softened Heart
We may live in a rude and insensitive society, but as Christians, we're not to take on the selfish flavor of the world. God wants us to be sensitive to the needs and emotions of other people. Ezekiel 11:19 says, I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.
When you allow God to soften your heart, you can live a life of amazing power and purpose. He can use you to help a lot of people. But you won't ever experience that heart transformation unless you spend time in His presence.
Have You Lost Track of God?
There's a story in the Bible where Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem and then they left to go home, supposing He was with them. (I wonder how many times we suppose God's with us when we're really off doing our own thing?)
Now, here's the interesting part. Mary and Joseph had traveled a day's journey before they realized Jesus wasn't with them, and then it took three days to find him. Three days! The message here is that it's easier to lose that special presence of God than it is to get it back once we've lost it.
We need to be careful to remain in the presence of God.
How to Remain in God's Presence
There are a lot of ways you can make God feel at home in your heart.
First of all, you can simply be obedient to His Word. Being willing to change harmful or negative habits and attitudes is the number one sign of spiritual maturity. It shows you care about what God thinks and feels about your behavior.
Not only is how you behave important to God, but what you say is too.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible says a lot about the power of words. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. If we use our words to give thanks to God and lift up other people, we'll be blessed.
What's the Most Important Thing?
The thing that is more important to God than anything in our daily walk is having a good, solid relationship with Him. But beyond that, it's how we treat people. It doesn't matter how many scriptures you can quote if you aren't treating people well.
First John 4:12 tells us, No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Did you get that? Where there's love, God abides.
Some of you are so frustrated in life and in ministry because you feel like there's so much more in you to give, but you can't seem to get it out. I'm telling you, when you begin to love people at a greater level, you'll experience God's anointing at a greater level.
As Christians, we need to stop worrying solely about what we need and start filling other people's needs.
Remember the woman at the stadium? Now think about someone you see on a daily or weekly basis and ask yourself one question: What can I do to let them know God loves them?