Nuzzling up

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. (Psalm 16:8)

If anyone sees my BFF and I walking together, it is me on the right and my BFF on the left. Why? She hears me better on the right! So, I have learned to position myself on her right because that is her "better ear". Now, to the "unknowing" this may seem like a little oddity they might notice about the two of us, but to those who have come to know us well, they understand perfectly why we "position" ourselves this way. One thing remains true no matter whether we are at work around the house or on vacation together - closeness matters! We want to spend time together because we learn from each other, are encouraged by the strength the other possesses, and just plain enjoy the company of one another. I think our heavenly Father might just want us to come to this same realization about what life is like when we have Christ as our "nearest and dearest" companion in life!

We don't always need to be with each other, but we do enjoy being near enough to each other to appreciate the other is "there". Proximity seems like a little thing, but it isn't really, because "proximity" matters as much in relationship to another human being as it does in our relationship with Christ. As much as we might want to be around other human beings, quietly going about the regular stuff of life, knowing they are there right beside us if we need them, we need to appreciate the nearness of Christ as we walk through the various things our day holds. In recognizing the "proximity" of Jesus to the matter at hand, we often recognize we are not standing in our strength alone to face it, but have the benefit of his strength to help us with the challenge standing in our path.

The nearness we maintain with Jesus is going to determine our perspective when faced with challenging situations, especially anything which presents a little bit of temptation in our lives. When Christ is near, we don't feel as "free" or "uninhibited" to just pursue whatever our fancy might lure us into. Christ is a whole lot stronger than any of us, so when he whispers in our ear that we shouldn't pursue something we are considering, we would do well to listen and "lean into" the strength he gives to resist that urge. The "nearness" of his strength and ability to help us navigate through some of the more challenging temptations in life matters because not everything is "simple" in life. There are things like the temptation to respond in anger or hostility when someone disappoints us, or the desire to engage in actions which will damage a relationship. These give us "big" challenges and we need his nearness to help us navigate those challenges successfully. 

It didn't really matter to me how much I relied upon Jesus' strength and ability until I finally recognized my continual failure and subsequent disappointment when faced with temptation. It was really a result of not maintaining that closeness to him. Whenever I see myself drifting into things I know I shouldn't be doing, I pull back, recognizing I have allowed myself to drift a little out of that deep, intimate closeness with Jesus. I have to renew that relationship frequently - just like I do those I have with my friends on this earth. Sometimes we don't recognize the value of the "nearness" until we have drifted away. Just sayin!


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