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A daily devotional moment by Chris Garcia

Matthew 11:28–29 (NKJV): Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

1 John 4:17–19 (NKJV): Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  We love Him because He first loved us.

We covered the 7 reasons why you may feel far from God. I thought it was important to recap some of the 7 ways you can get closer to God. These are essentially the ways that would counter the first 7 points and provide a solution for each of the points. The first 7 points were, 1)distraction, 2)striving, 3)fear, 4)effects of sin, 5)confusion, 6)doubt, and 7)entering into His presence through your feelings. Every one of these problematic points causes you to feel far from God and has a counter-solution that should be included in your daily worship and relationship with the Father. So it is important to understand the solutions for each, starting with “distractions.” The solution may seem somewhat obvious, being “attention.” Your attention must be greater than your distractions. Meaning, that the solution to your distractions is to give your attention to the Lord. So what does that look like? Let us say that during worship and fellowship time with the Lord, you have distractions flowing into your mind. What you would need to do is, begin to worship and refocus each time back to the Lord. It may happen hundreds of times but each time you hold your random thoughts captive and refocus on God the Father. Lifting your hands, reading the scripture, putting your attention back on the presence of God. That is the biggest way to kill your distractions. Worship music, quiet time, or whatever works best for you to focus on God's presence. Might be as simple as just reading Word and worshiping. Find what works best for you and alternate as your desires move you. So how do we defeat distractions? We defeat it by giving God our attention. It is really that simple. The second point was striving. The solution to striving is rest. When you are trying to make something happen or push for the results you are seeking, that is the moment you need to stop. You need to just let go and be in your relationship with God. Stop being a human doing, and start being a human being. Stop doing and start being in His presence. Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Your mind, your will, and your emotions need to be at rest. So if you start to go through a period of trying to strive, then you need to stop. Take a pause, and simply just enjoy being with God. Don’t worry about whatever it is that is on your mind that you are worried about.

Just let it go and give it to God. Make Him your focus, and rest in His presence. Resting is what is going to help you develop an awareness of God's presence that much stronger. The reason is, that resting always brings His presence and if you rest, you will then perceive His presence. This is the resting of the mind. Just be still. Wait before His presence. Just be in the moment. The rest is, “It is finished.” I essentially no longer need to labor and strive for my works. I need to just be and rest in the fact that God is with me. So the antidote to striving, is resting in your soul. Your mind, will and emotions are all at rest. The next one was fear. The solution to fear is love. When you are in fear, you need to understand that perfect love cast out all fears. If I am afraid, the opposite of fear is love. 1 John 4:18, “But perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” So what do I mean? When fear starts to settle in, turn your thoughts to the Lord. Begin to love the Lord. Begin to magnify His love for you. Focus on the Father's greatest sacrifice for you. By sending His only Son to be the sacrifice for humanity's salvation. He loves you that much. Focus on that immense love when fears try to deceive you, for you know your Father is there with you, always. Now the effects of sin have a counter as well. Consecration is the solution. If you are feeling the effects of sin and you have all these filters coming in, what you need to understand is that the first thing, is you need to repent of your sin. Don’t excuse your sin. Don’t justify yourself or your sin. As long as you justify yourself, you are going to continue to be stuck in the repetitive cycle of that sin. God does not want you to explain yourself. He wants you to confess your sin. He wants you to be free. It is not a condemnation thing. It is a conviction thing. So when the effects of sin are there, you ask God to forgive you. You repent of it. But don’t wallow in your sin. The solution is consecration. Consecration is, you allowing the Holy Spirit to consecrate you. That means you allow the Holy Spirit to begin to set your heart apart for Him. You do that by spending time with God and allowing the Holy Spirit to consecrate your heart. The reality is this. You and I are called to be holy. We are already called to live holy lives but there is consecration. A consecration is that you have to allow God to put in you the work of holiness.

You can either yield to that or you can resist that. When something is consecrated, it is set apart for a special purpose. So when the effects of sin are in your life and you feel like the presence of God is waning, repent. Ask God to forgive you and cleanse you. Don’t sit there anymore wallowing in it. Now set yourself apart in the presence of God and let God set you apart. What begins to happen is you begin to become consecrated. You are now set apart for Him. When there is this beautiful consecration, it then becomes very easy to perceive the presence of God because there is no guilt. Your conscience is clean and pure. That does not mean that you will never sin again. Paul said to young Timothy, “To keep your conscience pure,” which is consecration. The way to do that is by setting yourself apart for Him. God will then set you apart for Him. What does that mean? Set away time for God. Set yourself away from all the noise. Repent. Turn away from all distractions. Turn into His presence and God will begin to consecrate your heart.

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