There are many ways Christianity is defined. Most Christians today would say it is believing that Jesus is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world. It’s not a religion. It’s not a set of rules. It’s a relationship. In fact, Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible defines Christianity like this, “Christianity is the religion of the presence of GOD and communion with Him.”
The Scripture speaks of this. Believers are told to “abide” or dwell in Christ. He promised He would dwell in us. “If you live in Me, I will live in you,” He said. We are also told to be as connected to Jesus as a branch is connected to a vine. (Or maybe a baby attached to her mother’s umbilical cord.) We are instructed to “live in His light.” Christianity is the religion of the presence of GOD and communion with Him. Simply put, Christianity is living in the very presence of GOD, day by day, moment by moment.
Mature believers persist in habitually living in the loving presence of GOD. This is their chief aim in life, it is their loving obsession. They will know GOD, and His love, they will love Him back with every fiber of their being, and they will love Him until, and with, their dying breath. They eat, breathe, and live Jesus – and only Jesus. They will not be satisfied until “their minds are fixed on” Him, until they’ve taken “every thought captive to the mind of Christ,” and they “pray without ceasing.”
There is a difference between the typical American Christian and the fully formed mature believer; or the Christ-like follower of Jesus. A fully formed mature believer lives in the utter likeness of Jesus. He or she loves very well. It is their nature not just part of it. It’s a love that is self-sacrificial. It has a willingness to suffer. The Fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” – are in their DNA. They genuinely and authentically love their neighbors and even their enemies.
They join this together with doing everything as an act of love for Jesus – everything. Every act they commit is done as an act of worship. They work at their jobs laboring for Jesus. They do their chores as an act of love for Jesus. They love their spouses as if they were both Jesuses. What I mean by that is their love for Jesus makes them akin to Jesus. And they love their spouse (and everyone else) as if they were Jesus. You could call it living a life of “being Jesus to Jesus” (people made in His image). In short, every Christian is called to live, in their time and place and situation, the life of Mother Theresa. Those two things, always talking to Jesus and doing everything out of love for Jesus is simply normative Christianity. Again, the Bible calls this “abiding in Christ” or living in Jesus.
The Puritans were masters at this. If they were building a plow, they were incessantly talking to Jesus while constructing it because they were in fact making it for Him. When they used that plow to turn over their fields, they were cultivating their fields with and for Jesus. By always talking to Jesus (praying), always listening to Him, and living their entire lives as acts of worship they were in constant communion and unbroken fellowship with Him. Again, that is simply traditional Christianity. If Christians in America returned to that lifestyle our country would be radically transformed. And, in fact, if we do not America is doomed.
Now, let me say this. It is terribly important. It is impossible to do anything I outlined above as a simple act of will. Sorry. You and I don’t have the self-discipline to make any of it possible. We can’t clench our teeth or white knuckle it to make it happen. As Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” But, there is a way. The catalyst for everything outlined above is love – love for Christ. It is that impetus of love that inspires us to live in Jesus.
I mean think about it. Did you ever notice that when you fall in love all your problems go away? I mean one day your boss is a jerk, your car is lemon, and you’re broke. And then the next day you meet “the one.” S/he is everything you ever hoped for in a spouse. S/he’s strong, intelligent, sharp witted, funny, wise, deep, virtuous, and lovely. The next day you go to start your car in the morning, and it won’t start. “Hmm,” you think to yourself. “This will be good for me. I’ve been meaning to get more exercise anyway.” You go to the ATM and realize your account is overdrawn. “Well, I’ve been meaning to fast more. This will give me a good opportunity.” Finally, you arrive at work and your boss is in a foul mood. You think to yourself, “Poor guy. He must be going through some stuff at home.” Your circumstances haven’t changed one iota, but now the world is a completely different place. Why? Because you’ve fallen in love.
It’s the same thing in our walks with Christ. In fact, we are told by the great Apostle Paul, that if we do all kinds of great things for GOD, “but do not have love” we are just making a bunch of noise. It is our deep love and gratitude towards Jesus that energizes us, stirs us, compels us to “pray without ceasing,” do everything as unto the LORD,” and live in perpetual fellowship with Him.
So, here is what you do. You find a quiet place (and maybe even a beautiful place in nature). You settle your thoughts on Jesus… Then you humble your heart… By faith you know He is with you, and then you talk to Him. You ask Him to help you love Him like you should. You tell Him you are powerless to do this in your own strength. You need His Holy Spirit to give you the ability to love Him like you should. Tell Him you want to (or want to want to) live in His presence every moment of every day for the rest of your life. But unless He sends His Spirit to make that happen, it won’t. And you keep praying that prayer all day, everyday, until you receive your breakthrough.
Brother, sister, if you do that sincerely, with all of your heart, in humility and brokenness, GOD will answer you. He will begin the work of enabling you to return to your “first love.” And when you regain that love teach that inner voice of yours – you know the one that won’t shut up – teach it to always be talking to and praising GOD. Do everything, absolutely everything as an act of love for Jesus. As you do those two simple, yet initially difficult things, you will begin to sense the presence of GOD in your life like you never have before.
Let me close with this. I remember going to a youth camp when I was young. I remember singing worship songs, studying the Bible, and taking long walks in the woods talking to Jesus. I enjoyed a profound mountain top experience. I remember talking to an elderly Pastor as I was leaving saying, “I wish I could live here, like this all the time.” He said, “You can; in here, and here.” he said as he pointed to my heart and mind. “Don, practice the presence of GOD every moment of everyday.” And then he told me what I have just told you.
 Many of my Christian friends complain about the condition of our culture; the great division and hate, the disintegration of the intact family, increased teen suicide, etc. I always tell them don’t be surprised when the world acts like the world. The darkness isn’t to blame that things are darker. It’s the light’s fault. It’s our fault. According to Jesus, Christians are supposed to be the light of the world. If the world is becoming darker it means the light is becoming weaker.
 Mt 26:41