It’s now been a full week into the New Year. How have you done with your resolutions so far? Yeah me either. It’s funny how quick we can lose doing a resolution, so I’m trying to set goals for myself. While these seem similar, my goal is going to be things I aspire towards, where a resolution is a hard start and if you fail, it feels like you have made a huge mistake. I choose to set goals that I want to do daily in order to strive for more out of my life. Last week I talked about the characteristic I choose to take on for this coming year; how I want to be like an avenger. Goals are a bit different. Some goals I’ve set for myself this year are things I want to do that will help me be better at my daily walk. I want to write each day so that I can get better and grow as a writer. I want to read at least fifty pages a day, which is a lot, but I want to continue to read more and learn more through reading. I want to meet more people and learn their stories. I want to spend money wisely and avoid things in life that bring me down. The biggest goal I set for myself this year is this, I want to seek the presence of God each day and step into what he has set out for me.
Today, my home church of Daystar in Greensboro, North Carolina began its’ twenty-one days of prayer and fasting. The idea being that taking something out of our lives to make more time to spend in prayer. For me, I chose to cut out all non-worship music in my life. This is a pretty big thing for me, I love music (even though I am not a musician), music helps me focus and gets my creativity flowing. The thing is, I want to replace it with just worship music so I can be inspired to create while seeking the presence of God. That’s the whole point, we want to seek the presence of God. During the past two weeks I have been meditating on this idea, I want to enter the presence of God daily so he will guide my steps all throughout my day, and in turn, for the rest of my life. This whole concept came from a passage in scripture. In Exodus chapter 33, verses 7-11, it speaks about Moses and his leading of the people. This takes place right after the Israelites had made a golden idol to worship, even though God had raised them out of slavery. Moses was tasked with leading these people, so in the passage (which I encourage you to read for yourself as I will be paraphrasing) Moses sets up a tent in their camp and he tells the people, this is the tent of meeting. The tent was essentially a place where you could enter into God’s presence and speak directly with the Lord. It was open and freely offered for the people, yet the people chose to watch, rather than enter themselves. I want to unpack some of the truths that are in this passage because it is a story that shows us that we need to enter the presence because the presence of God is where true life is found. Even in our weakness and brokenness, God wants to use you. He wants to use every part of you. Good, bad, or ugly; we can be seeking His presence.
God wants to meet with your imperfect self.
Moses was a man who was far from perfect, he was a sinner just like you and me. His story was that his mother saved him from Pharaoh and he grew up in royalty, but God had bigger plans. He ended up killing a royal guard who was hurting a slave, so he ran, he was an outcast. He was afraid and he had huge anxieties about people (preach), but God wanted him to face the Pharaoh. God used him, God used his brokenness and fears and saved the Israelite people from bondage. Moses was tasked with leading the people, and the people were so very lost. Moses was afraid because of his imperfect self, but God chose him. God chooses each of us. Moses saw the value of seeking the Lord’s presence because he knew that without it, he would be unable to make a difference. I think this is you. You are wanting to make a difference and make a positive change, but you are failing. We fail because we try and work out of our own strengths, but when we choose to seek the presence, we are able to do great things. We gain power to give life to our dead world. No matter what your past is or how broken you feel, seek his presence and you will have the power to change the world.
Even when the world looks on, enter the tent.
Now this doesn’t mean we have to set up a tent in our yard and do our quiet times in there (even though that would be a pretty fun activity), this means that we have to choose to enter each day. Our tent of meeting is the time where we spend time in prayer and reading the word. I try to do this each day. Am I perfect at it? Absolutely not, but I am working hard at making an effort to enter the tent. I want to each day stand up and say, I can’t do this on my own anymore. Once we surrender our pride, we can listen to what God has to say. The tragic part about the scripture in Exodus, is each day Moses would enter and a pillar of cloud would be overhead of it (pretty science fiction-y of God and very cool), but the people worshipped outside of their own tents. Now, the Israelites weren’t doing anything wrong and they were giving praise to their savior, but they never went to the tent of meeting. Why? Why would they worship at a distance when they could have a front row experience with the spirit? Don’t make this mistake. God wants to meet you where you are, he wants to meet one on one. Don’t worship from the sidelines when God has a place on the team saved for you. We simply need to enter the tent. Even when the world stands back or worship from the sideline; seek his presence and enter the tent of meeting.
Wait like Joshua.
Before you raise that eyebrow, I’m not talking about myself (but it is a great name, don’t ya think?). This part of the scripture blew me away. And the end of the passage in verse eleven it says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aid Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” Woah. You see Moses was called to lead the people so he would speak with God in order to have the strength to lead, but Joshua had not yet been called to his full purpose, so he stayed in the tent to prepare his heart for the future. I think that’s many of our stories, we feel the calling but don’t know what it is yet, so we must wait. In our waiting we can prepare our hearts for the eventual purpose God lays out for us. Joshua would be the successor of Moses in leading the people, but he learned to wait and use his waiting to seek the presence of God. Often times I want to be in my role and be leading people, but God has me in a season of waiting. In my waiting I choose to seek the presence so that when the time comes, I will be ready. We need to all do this, we need to wait like Joshua so that we can be ready when the time calls for us to lead like Moses.
I have a lot of goals for this year to grow as a person and prepare for my calling. I want to be in next gen ministry pouring into families to empower them to raise their children, so that they can change the world. I want to write so that others can see life and grow. I want to do many things, but I must be seeking His presence. Without my Lord I am so weak, but when I am in him, He will use my life. God wants to use you too. God wants to use you in your brokenness, so we need to enter the tent and wait like Joshua for the day we are called to lead like Moses. God is going to do great things this year, and I am choosing to trust him in my pursuit of him. Enter the tent of meeting in your own life. Seek Him and he will reveal big things to you.
Let God speak to you by seeking His presence.