Everything about God is worth having. The Truth of His Word, the peace that comes from knowing Him, the joy that comes through serving Him, and the peace that comes from practicing His presence.
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence is on my top five list. In early 2000 this book impacted my life and I have continued to pick it up on and off through the years. Today some of the words of Brother Lawrence came to my mind, and then again tonight. I knew God wanted me to pick up this little book yet another time.
As I combed through the worn pages looking through all the things I had underlined and highlighted I was once again reminded of the solid faith and unwavering love for God that this simple man had. I want that. I want faith that doesn’t falter, I want to love the Lord my God with all of my being. I want to be free of sin and its dread sway. I want to practice His Presence all day every day. Every hour, every minute, every second. Some would call it fanatical. I call it being truly alive here until Eternal life in His Presence there. The frustrating part is this just doesn’t happen over night. The comforting part is that Brother Lawrence knew this too.
On page 79 of my book (copyright 1982), I came across a section that had not been underlined but it was exactly what I needed tonight. Here are those words:
“However, as Brother Lawrence attempted to move into a more spiritual life, memories of the sins of his past life engulfed him, and he judged himself a great sinner, unworthy of any of God’s attentions. This led to ten years of intense fear and anxiety in which he often doubted his salvation. With an afflicted heart, he would pour out his troubles to God. But his own fears of what it would cost to serve God completely caused him to resist God’s total salvation. In this bitter, dark time, Brother Lawrence found little comfort in prayer, but he continued to pray, nevertheless. Placing his trust in God, his uppermost desire was still to please Him. Even when he felt he should give it up completely, he found the inner strength and courage to endure. Finally, he cried out to God, ‘It no longer matters to me what I do or what I suffer, provided that I remain lovingly united to Your will.’ This is precisely the disposition God wanted him to acquire before pouring out the blessings of His presence. What our humble brother had not known was just how merciful God is toward sinners such as himself. He didn’t realize he had already been forgiven. But from that moment on, the firmness of his soul grew greater than ever. God, Who can accomplish wondrous things in a moment, suddenly opened Brother Lawrence’s eyes. He received a divine revelation of God’s majesty that illuminated his spirit, dissipated all his fears, and ended his inner struggles and pain. From that moment, meditating on the character and loving-kindness of God molded Brother Lawrence’s character. It became so natural to him that he passed the last forty years of his life in continuous practice of the presence of God, which he described as a quiet, familiar conversation with Him.”
Attempting to move into a more spiritual life is right where satan will hit you because it is exactly where he doesn’t want you. I know because a few years ago, at the very moment I decided to be all in, all hell broke loose just as it did for Brother Lawrence.
A carnal Christian is safe with satan. They are no threat to his plans, plots or schemes. They are saved but not being sanctified. They are stagnant. There is no life giving movement coming from them into the lives of others. Stagnation leads to death and that is exactly what satan wants. It is his modus operandi. The moment you step over from carnality to the sanctification process all that changes. The fiery darts come. The doubts come. The wrong thoughts come. The fear and anxiety come. But the courage to endure will come too. The total surrender is a little slower because that means all hands off. That means His way and not your way.
Surrender is what Brother Lawrence discovered and proclaimed when he prayed, “It no longer matters to me what I do or what I suffer, provided that I remain lovingly united to Your will.” Fasting is part of the process of surrender. I want to be totally surrendered. I want my eyes suddenly opened like his were. I want to behold the Father’s majesty and let it illuminate and permeate every part of me removing all fear and chaos. I want to meditate on Him and the Glory of His Presence until my character is changed to be like His. I want the last forty years of my life to be one long conversation with my God.
And so, I fast……….