We Christians know we are living in the presence of God and are to take that presence seriously. But what if we don't feel close to God?
While it is part of being human to long for God's presence, Nye also explains how humans feel far from God – a result of the Fall. We became self-absorbed. “There is no faster way to move away from God than to move further in on yourself.”
Nye reminds us we are living in a world bathed with God's presence. God is interacting with us in more ways than we realize. We must distinguish God's presence and our feelings of closeness. We must do the hard work of remembering He is always near as the feelings of closeness will come and go. Nye challenges us about our inattentiveness. “If being near to God is about paying attention to God's nearness to us, then we have work to do.” He emphasizes Scriptural reading and prayer as important spiritual disciplines in obedience to the command to abide. He also encourages confessions, feasting and fasting, preaching the gospel to one's self, and more.
I really appreciated Nye's teaching. He reminded me of our longing to experience God's presence yet our bent to live a life very distracted from concentrating on recognizing that presence. Granted, feelings come and go. There is much we can do, however, to place ourselves in a position to realize and experience the nearness of God. Abiding is the key and that takes time and effort.
I highly recommend this book to those who want to understand why God may feel distant. You will be confronted with your own expectations and your responsibility of obedience to the command to abide. You will also find practical suggestions in making abiding a lifestyle.
Food for thought: “God's nearness is mostly about our recognizing that God is always near through His Spirit.”
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Chris Nye serves as a pastor for teaching and leadership development at Willamette Christian Church. His writing has appeared in various periodicals. This is his first book. He and his wife live in Portland, Oregon.
Moody Publishers, 208 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.