While lying in front of the fireplace with my eyes closed, I sensed our dog, Lizzy, near me. Opening my eyes, we were nose to nose, and she licked my face. “Gross, Lizzy,” I said as she laid down next to me with her head in my lap. She had just wanted to draw near to me, so despite her dog breath, I received her nearness.
Do I approach God with Lizzy-like delight? While I’m not fond of full tongue dog kisses, I do see her heart behind it. She delights in my presence. “Come near to God, and He will come near to you,” it tells us in James 4:8. I suppose we too have bad breath at times, but God receives us in whatever condition we are in whether depleted, weary, delighted, joy filled, expectant, confused, angry; whatever.
Coming near to God through rhythms of routine bring us into awareness of God’s presence. In His presence, we abide in Him, the vine, like we are urged to do in John 15. Rhythms of routine, also known as rules of life or spiritual disciplines, may start out as disciplines, but over time they grow into delighting in God’s presence, a deepening hunger for more of Him, and transformation.
Every morning, rhythmic routine is on full display in our side alley. Each weekday when I back out of our garage headed to take the kiddos to school, I look for our neighbor as I back out. She comes across the side alley, smiles, waves, and places a pile of peanuts for the squirrels on our fence post faithfully between 8:00 and 8:30 daily. This sweet grandma gets the concept of rhythmic routine. I haven’t had the heart to tell her the squirrels taunt our dog because her gentle smile and tenderness at the heart of her morning routine spreads joy. While our neighbor’s routine isn’t spiritual in nature, we can learn from her faithfulness.
How are you abiding in the vine? Do you have a rhythmic routine? Is your soul care in a rut? Are you intentionally coming near to God? Do you realize His posture is always invitational? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). His posture is always to walk WITH Him and in His ways. Are you aware of His invitational presence? Are you delighting in God’s presence?
“Come to me,” has an expectation of intentionality in response from us. It’s an invitation to respond to His grace and love. Coming near to God looks like a variety of rhythms and spiritual practices: being rooted in the Word, silence and solitude, praying scripture, spiritual friendship, etc. Duty is not the motivator to intentionally draw near to God. It’s delighting in His presence. It’s awareness of His nearness. It’s to abide. It’s to connect and deepen intimacy. It’s to grow our faith. It’s to listen to what He’s up to and be invited into His work. It’s to be transformed by His nearness. It’s to know and love God more deeply.
Jen Binford, Coach