Have you read The Practice of the Presence of God? This tiny book is a small collection of the writings of Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk. It captures the simple humility of a kitchen worker, who consciously practiced living in the kingdom mindset of knowing the presence of Immanuel “God with us”.
This name for Jesus as Immanuel, begs the question; since Isaiah prophesied the coming of Immanuel and Jesus fulfills it, as Matthew shows, is it not that followers of Christ would enjoy living in the awareness of God’s presence? Knowledge that is not a fact of experience can not achieve truth’s purpose. Why would we leave our witness of Christ’s promise of abundant life on the coffee table as an unopened gift, leaving it to remain a distant, elusive hope?
“Who do you say that I am? The question posed by Jesus to His disciples, is a question for all who will follow as disciples of Christ to answer. There are many good and right responses. But the obvious one that Jesus declared to the unbelieving pharisees, when He said, “the kingdom of God is in your midst,” gives us this insightful response; That’s my king! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffzB_HK9sNU
To practice the presence of God is a kingdom mindset, to now and forever be ours. It is to embrace His Lordship and train ourselves to consciously live in the presence of a powerful and benevolent king. This king is one that the world has never known. That is why Jesus told Pontius Pilate, “my kingdom is not of this world.” The old song, This World is Not My Home is what Jesus wants us to take to heart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdOOxuQii_s
I believe that settling for a when then view of knowing Jesus someday in heaven is more than just unfulfilling and foolish. It carries the clear warning of Jesus, when he said that there would be some who would be turned away from His kingdom with these words, “depart from me, I never knew you” in spite of any claims they might make. The response to His question, “Who do you say that I am?” was met with Jesus blessing on Peter, when he answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus attributed Peter’s revelatory declaration, not to man but to His Heavenly Father.
I recommend another good read or listen in John Ortberg’s book (also available in audio, Who Is This Man. Ortberg shows how Jesus is the source of all the best of what this world has to offer. The credit goes to what true disciples of Christ, with a kingdom-mindset, have faithfully established to serve mankind. You’ll be amazed at all we take for granted so often seen as secular altruistic values apart from Christ.
We must encourage one another to know the same blessing today conferred upon Peter as we practice living consciously in a kingdom mindset. Happy submission to our all seeing, all knowing, forever-loving, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the son of the living God is much more than a distant destination. It is the very present revelation and reality of Immanuel, God with us.