Intentional Living (Notes from Breakout Session)
Intentional Living- How do I live out His presence personally?
Weeds are annoying because they are everywhere and sometimes they go down deep and its takes some hard work to get the weeds out. But this work needs to be done because weeds choke out more desirable plants. They grow vigorously and if left untended they can destroy any beautiful garden.
A. Sometimes there are weeds in our hearts that don’t belong and they're choking out the life God wants us to live. These “weeds” are interrupting our relationship with Him.
B. This wasn’t God’s original plan for us. His original plan was for us to thrive in intimate relationship with Him. To have nothing separating us from His presence.
C. We can see this desire of God’s heart in the very beginning of scripture:
The Garden of Eden:
Genesis 2:5-9 “Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Genesis 2:15-17 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.
A. Adam and Eve were in perfect relationship with God.
B. But sin entered the world and separated us from God.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
A. Since the fall, we have all of today’s struggles. sin, struggle, brokenness, broken families, addictions, anxiety, depression, violence, fear, etc
B. But as we know God, loves us so much that He didn’t want to keep us stuck in our sin, but He bridged the gap by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us- now we have hope no matter what we face.
C. If you put your life in Jesus’ hands, now this is what the truth of God says about your current state:
- We have peace with God (Romans 5:1)
- He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
- We are now adopted into His family (Romans 8:14)
- He lives within us
- He is always with us
- Nothing can separate us from God (Romans 8:38-39)
- These promises are truth. These promises is what the reality is as children of God. But even thought THIS is truth, sometimes these truths are not how we feel.
- Even though God is with me right now, His presence feels far.
- God is closer than we know; we just need to have the right perception. So if God feels far, we need to realize it’s our own fault. He is right here in this moment.
- So, if God’s presence is right here, then why does He feel so far away?
- Well, that’s where the weeds in our heart come into play.
- The weeds in our heart (sin, shame, guilt, fear, condemnation, etc.) only blind our perception on the reality of God and His presence. This is why the weeds need to be removed- when we are purified from the things that blind us from God and His activity, we will be able to see Him at work in our life more.
- Matthew 5:8 the pure in heart will see God
- This changed my life: We need to know what is creating the sense of separateness between us and God. Romans 8:38 teaches us nothing can separate us from the love of God thru Christ- this means if I feel separated there’s something in my life causing that feeling.
So the big question is, if the weeds in my heart are keeping me from sensing God’s presence, then how do I remove the weeds, and therefore intentionally live in the presence of God every-day?
1. Know God
A. Eden shows that God wanted to be in relationship with man and that He had their BEST intentions in mind.
B. Eden even means “delight”
C. Genesis 2:9- “the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground- trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
i. God’s heart for mankind was life- He gave them access to the tree of life so Adam and Eve could partake of the fruit and live forever.
ii. God’s intention for us is LIFE. – John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
iii. We need to know that the struggles of this life was NEVER God’s intention for us.
iv. Do you believe that? Do you believe that God’s heart breaks when your heart breaks?
v. Re-evaluate your VIEW on God.
vi. Many believe that God causes our struggles or plays mean tricks on us, or that He doesn’t care, or that He is punishing us… We need to know what the word says about God’s heart.
D. 1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
E. “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all…”
F. If you don’t know the Father’s HEART, you’re not going to want to abide in His presence. If you don’t know His heart, you won’t trust His voice. If you don’t trust His voice, you won’t be living in His presence.
1. Know the Enemy (have discernment)
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”
“You will not certainly die the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
A. Genesis 3:1 The enemy is CRAFTY- “clever at achieving one’s aims by indirect or deceitful methods.”
i. Synonyms for crafty: cunning, devious, sly, tricky, scheming, shred, and calculating.
ii. Just like we need to know God’s character, we need to know the enemy’s character.
B. The enemy placed that seed of doubt in Eve’s mind to get her to doubt God’s word and ultimately His character. Genesis 3:1a “Did God really say…?”
C. The devil got Eve to believe she couldn’t trust God- that God was holding out on them.
Genesis 3:4-5 “You will not certainly die the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
iii. Relevant Examples:
o Any addiction (shopping, drinking, eating, t.v.)
D. James 8:44 says….”You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your fathers desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “
E. This is why we need to KNOW who God is- so we don’t fall for the enemy’s’ lies and destroy our lives.
2. Come out of Hiding
A. Genesis 3:7-10 “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
i. Adam and Eve sinned, and then they felt shame and hid from God.
ii. Some of us are “hiding” from God because of something we’ve done- we forget that all our sins are paid for FULLY on the cross.
iii. OR some of us are hiding because we know God is asking us to do something, and we just don’t want to do it. We aren’t trusting in His character- if we were, we would obey him in a heart-beat.
iv. We’re squashing out God’s presence in our lives because of our own hiding or condemnation. Romans 8:1- “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
v. Psalm 139 – “Where can I go from your presence? Where can I flee from your spirit?” we cannot hid or run from God.
vi. Come out of hiding, be fully known and fully loved.
3. Be Thankful
A. Genesis 2:9a “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”
i. Adam and Eve had all their needs met, plus more. They we’re in complete intimacy with God…
ii. God abundantly provided for them!
iii. When they chose to focus on the one thing they couldn’t have, they lost sight of what God gave them access to
iv. Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
v. God already gave them trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food- AND they had God to gain their wisdom from. But the enemy got Eve to focus on what she didn’t have, and that led her out of God’s presence.
vi. When we’re thankful it draws us to God… we see how He much He is truly for us!
vii. Be thankful for the everyday blessings- home, car, food, shelter
viii. Even if you think you have nothing to be thankful for, as followers of Jesus we always have something to be thankful for- #1 reason: Christ died for us and lives within us!
ix. When we realize how wicked our hearts truly are, we will be thankful every day because God CHOSE to dwell in our hearts. (Jeremiah 17:9)
x. This blows my mind- a HOLY God CHOOSES to dwell in the hearts of sinners.
Living out His presence isn’t an arrival point, it’s a journey and a process that will take place until Jesus takes us home. As we live in His presence, the weeds will be removed, and we will also be pruned in every season to become the person He wants us to be…
We live in His presence to be on mission for Him (to produce fruit)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
A. …while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
i. Pruning can be a painful process. But it’s for our benefit. Just like a branch needs to be stripped for the betterment of the whole tree, sometimes we need to also be stripped for the whole of our lives.
ii. God exposes the dead, unfruitful parts in our life not to embarrass us, but to heal us.
iii. He reveals to heal!
iv. Pruning is a sign of God’s intentionality in our lives.
v. So just like WE want to be intentional in HIS presence, He is going to be intentional in our life as well.
To be intentional in God’s presence we need to let God be intentional in our heart.