By Sally Lombardo
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’” (Revelation 21:1–3)
Another aspect of knowing God is following him closely. The world is a confusing place and fogs our view from seeing God clearly. We feel lost, life is hard, and we wonder if God hears our prayers. We might want to give up. Recently I desperately wanted God to show me the next steps in my life. As I read God’s Word and waited on God in prayer, the Holy Spirit reminded me just to be present. Rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future, I was reminded to walk by faith today.
I recalled Jesus’s words, first not to look back on the past (Luke 9:62), and then not to worry about the future: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34). I had hoped that God would show me definite steps for the future, but I found peace in his words to live in the present. So I tried to live in that command for a while. What happened? I slowed down, listened better, and became more sensitive to my family’s needs in a way I had not been before. My “next step” was not exciting or new, but ordinary and faithful. Our daily walk with God is often like this.
This week’s Lectionary theme is “knowing God better,” and each passage helps us discover all that means. The Collect reminds us that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. How can we walk in his ways? If we look at Jesus’s life on earth, we see that he did a lot of walking, but also a lot of slowing down and dwelling with the people he cared for—teaching them, listening, and just being there. He offered them his presence above all things. Sometimes Jesus would even turn from what he was doing to walk beside his disciples. We see this in Mark 1 when Jesus retreated to a secluded place to pray. The disciples went looking for him, “and they found him and said to him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ And he said to them, ‘Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out’” (Mark 1:37–38). Jesus quietly left his own prayer time to dwell and be with his people in need.
Sometimes following Jesus’s steps simply means being present for others and faithful in our daily walk with God. Our Scripture today is from Revelation, and the vision John describes is of a new heaven, a restored earth, and a holy city. God will make his place with men, and he will “dwell among them” (Revelation 21:3). He offers us his loving presence, so we can, in turn, offer ourselves in loving service to others.
Reflection: What spiritual disciplines help you draw near to God? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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