Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4: 9
Knowing something – knowing a theory or understanding a concept when important can also be useless if not put into practice. Theory and practice must marry so that it can be translated into an action that can lead to transformation. With this in mind, we now know that understanding and knowledge of discipleship is useless unless we put it into practice – meaning we have allow ourselves to go through and experience the process of discipleship. This is our calling, our marching orders commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20.
1. God’s presence is a gift, it is grace.
All this time Jacob remained in the favor of God. His first personal encounter with God was in Genesis 28:13-14. At that time he had not yet established a relationship with God – that is why God introduced himself as the God of Abraham and Isaac. But despite the fact he still did not have a relationship with God, God had promised him that he would keep his promise Abraham and Isaac through him. This blessing, this fulfillment of his promise, this acknowledgment of protection was undeserved. This was grace – unsolicited and unmerited.
Like Jacob, we might be claiming relationship with God through the merits of others and not because of our own experience with Him. Maybe we have not yet realized that God’s presence in our life is a personal gift we need to accept, that it is given freely, unsolicited and unmerited.
A personal relationship with God can be best cultivated in discipleship.
2. God’s presence is often unrecognized.
We all have times in our life that we keep shouting out to God for Him to be with us. . . And yet all the time, He was right there we just didn’t know it because we have not opened our eyes and look around. When we are not sensitive to Look for God in our circumstances, we miss out on the opportunity to bask and enjoy the presence of God we tend to focus on everything and anything but nothing of what really matters.
Many times we too fall into this trap treating our relationship with God as a conditional transaction not believing in God’s covenant to us. When we fall into this trap we are not allowing ourselves to be in the presence of God and to experience his hand in our life. God will fulfill his promises to us we only need to be faithful no matter what.
3. God’s presence is our security.
Jacob went through a lot of problems as he tried to build his family and his wealth. In Genesis 30-31, Laban convinces Jacob to continue to stay for his benefit and offered Jacob irresistible deals so that he will choose to stay. As time went on however, Jacob noticed that Laban had not kept his word constantly changing his wages and his attitude towards him had changed.
At this time Jacob is only starting to recognize God’s presence in his life . . . he is now beginning to see God’s protection.
This reminds us that God does not exempt his children from trials and adversities but that amidst the hardship we will find comfort and security in His presence
4. God’s presence is life transforming.
As Jacob’s story continues, he begins to recount all that Laban has done to him, now realizing and acknowledging God’s intervention and protection . . . And finally he acknowledges a relationship with God. So that in Genesis 32, when he wrestles with God, he did not let go until he received God’s blessing. This was the final life transforming event in Jacob’s life. . . And he carried that reminder, his limp, all the days of his life.
It is only when our life begins transforming that we will begin to feel and completely experience God’s presence. Until we can claim a personal relationship with Him, we can not enjoy His protection and provision.
All throughout his life, God had constantly promised Jacob, “I will be with you”, but Jacob did not see it until he opened his eyes and claimed a personal relationship with God. In the same way, God has promised us “I will be with you” — but have we allowed ourselves to see His presence and His power in our lives? Have we accepted His invitation to a relationship?