This year, many people have been encouraging each other to unplug during the holidays and "be present" with those around them. While this is a good and necessary idea, we can take it a step further.
Christmas is not over; it is just the beginning of a deeper walk with Jesus into the new year. This is a great time—just after Christmas and before the new year—to ask God to guide you into knowing Him more in the year to come. Here are some steps on how to "be present" in your relationship with God.
Carve out time to give Him your full attention.
With the holiday season being full of busy activities, it's easy to stay in that whirlwind feeling of chaos or crash because of it. However, it is still possible to make time in your schedule to focus on the Lord. Look over the time that you have in the upcoming days and prioritize Him.
Deal with sin.
Begin by asking God to reveal any unconfessed sin, and when He does, deal with it!
We cannot carry on a conversation with holy God when our hearts are muddied with sin. Clean the inside window of your heart so that His light can flood your soul.
Take a deep breath, set aside the urge to multi-task, and be still, fully aware of His presence. Sing praises to Him as they come to mind. Be still again.
Listen to Him.
When you are ready to listen, ask Him to guide you into this next year.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says to "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
In Psalm 32:8 God tells us, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Of course, our eyes need to be looking to His to receive His counsel.
Write what you hear from Him.
He may bring a verse or a truth to mind. Write it out. The simple act of writing will imprint a concept to your memory better than briefly hearing it. Let this be the beginning of a written conversation between you and your Abba Father for the next year.
I have asked God to give me a verse or a key word that will give me His focus on the days ahead. For example, one year as I read through the Bible, I searched each day's reading for the words "bless/blessing" and "curse/curses." I marked them every time I found them, and then looked to see what God had to say about them. It was eye-opening!
As you read and mark the key words He gives you, write down what you discover. Over time, you will be able to see God's message through those key words and have a comprehensive grasp on the concept.
Remember: Our goal in knowing Him more is transformation; not just more head knowledge. He desires that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). He has destined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
Let's not let our "hurries" to tell God what we think or to get an answer from Him cause us to miss Him. Instead, let's intentionally seek to know Him more. Be present, not only with your loved ones this year, but more importantly, be present with Him!