DELIBERATELY PURSUING GOD
GOD’S TANGIBLE PRESENCE
God’s presence is one of the most popular words in our Christian vocabulary and yet filled with mystery. How is it we say we can “really” discern and sense Him being near at “certain” times, yet it is common knowledge that He lives inside of us all the time? Maybe the reason this enigma is so difficult to explain is because we are thinking about it backwards. Maybe it is not that He “comes around” every so often but rather we sense Him when we become aware that He is there. The first part of James chapter 4 verse 8 say’s, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” which reveals how God has developed a pattern of His laws and principals pertaining to our intimate spiritual relationship with Him. Can I really feel Him? Yes! And I am so thankful that I can always know He is there!
Some saints read how Abraham and Moses had encounters with God and think that now it would be impossible to have a spiritual experience like that. They do not acknowledge God in their everyday life as a person that is standing right next to them, listening to them and trying to speak to them. Just because history has recorded the ancient stories of shekina glory clouds of fire and His voice thundering from the heavens does not mean He has stopped communicating or intervening.
God is more than words on a page; He is a present, tangible, reality! His presence has always been and will always be which is why He is called the Alpha and Omega. As the supreme ruler of heaven, earth, the universe and all things, He is Omnipresent which means He is everywhere at once. The underground church in China experiences God’s presence at the same time He is with a person in Chicago in their prayer closet. He is Omniscient in that He sees and hears everything and knows all deeds, all thoughts and all knowledge. He is Omnipotent which means He is the eternal Almighty divine deity of all other gods and infinite in His power and authority as Lord and King of all.
God’s presence is the mercy of heaven that falls like drops of eternal love on the world. He is perfect and the essence of His holiness demands reverent fear and respect from anyone who would even consider approaching His presence. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh so the people could see the demonstration of His word. We now see the character and image of His person through others who allow Him to reflect His image. The Christian life is all about laying down our identity and being filled with His tangible presence.
I was raised in a traditional Baptist church and as I try to remember about God’s presence I can recall hearing loud inspirational messages and people saying amen and the songs were led by a person that used hand gestures for timing. Hymns were accompanied by a pianist and we used hymnals as our source for congregational worship songs. Sometimes a choir or an individual would sing a special song. There would be long alter calls that pleaded with people to come forward and we would sing several verses of songs such as “I surrender all” at the end of each service. I can relate to these traditions because I went down one Sunday as the alter call was being given and surrendered my life to Jesus and I thank Him for those mercy and love filled salvation messages.
I’m sure my parents made comments about the power of the Holy Spirit and how strong God’s presence was but I cannot really remember them. I also do not remember hearing about miracles but I’m sure some were healed and delivered. God’s anointing makes the difference between experiencing a divine appointment and being put to sleep which I am sure has been believed in most churches. No doubt the more sensitive a person is the more they can feel the anointing which I believe that understanding and revelation plays a part in our spiritual expectation. For many years now I have been involved with God’s presence as not only a listener but also a speaker, singer and worship leader and I cannot imagine stepping onto a stage without knowing that God was going to minister through me. Without His presence our “program” is just a lot of hot air.
Tangible: 1. Capable of being touched; discernable by the touch; material or substantial. 2. Real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary. 3. Definite; not vague or elusive; without doubt.
There is great joy in being in God’s presence and seeing results of being the clay cup that can hold God’s living water. We live in the middle of two worlds that constantly keep us watching and feeling the push to press forward or the pull to hold back. We listen to the voices from this earthly realm that fight against us and try to hinder our advancement toward our destiny. We fight to deny our flesh the control and domination of our mind because we know our feelings can become enmity against God’s holy will for us. And yet much of our time is spent fighting the temptations that are so strong we can hardly concentrate. We pray and cry to fulfill our spiritual mission yet we stumble like we are in the dark and are often too weak to carry it out. Daily we must bow down to the Almighty who holds the keys that can unlock all of our obstacles but how many times do we say we are too busy? We know that we must lay down our agendas and pre-conceived plans and ideas so that He can fulfill His vision in us – but how?
For this to happen there must first be a true desire to change and a sincere invitation from us that admits we desperately need God. There must be a genuine spiritual thirst and hunger for His presence or we will never really give Him what He really wants – our heart. Look around; you see people all day long that never even give The Lord a thought in their decisions. They are so occupied with living their life they obviously feel they do not need Him. We can understand how the unsaved are not flowing in the Holy Spirit because they are not connected with God but what about people in the church? How can Christians have the attitude they have everything under control and are satisfied with not calling on Him until they have a crisis? How sad that many who profess to be saved will gladly accept the golden ticket to heaven but do not want Jesus to interfere in their life.
True love and unity comes when people empty themselves out and then sincerely cry out for God to fill them with His presence. This reveals the depth, maturity and passion of a true disciple. A room filled with lukewarm Christians who believe they can manipulate Jesus will continue as a lethargic, religious gathering and nothing more. True worship awakens, provokes, stimulates, motivates and challenges the heart to accept God’s instructions so we can live in faith, obedience, strength, and peace. For many Christians (including pastors and ministry leaders) it can be said with tears; they have settled for less because that is all they want. How many who proclaim to be saved, avoid God’s presence because they know He will require their will? How many actually desire His anointing or do they believe that no one can tell the difference? Those who would trade God’s tangible presence for an empty religious lifestyle have willingly walked away from worshipping Him forever.