What is God’s presence? God’s presence is the awareness that God is present in our lives at all times. The power of the Holy Spirit has been given to us so so we can know at all times He is with us. In the Old Testament, God’s holy spirit was given only to prophets, priests and kings, and even for these three groups, the holy spirit would come upon them for a particular reason and for a specific period of time. Because of Jesus, we have God’s holy spirit in us and upon us at all times.
Read with me in John 14:25-27 in the New Living Translation. "I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the advocate as my representative — that is, the Holy Spirit — he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. 'I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.' ”
Let me explain here how we get the holy spirit. Jesus tells us the holy spirit will come to us to lead us and guide us in the truth. The holy spirit also guides us to come into a place where we will enjoy his presence.
Why is God’s presence so important? In a very real sense, coming into God’s presence is the goal of our whole life. It is the goal of every pathway we take. Throughout God’s word we have different pathways along our spiritual walk, but all pathways lead toward the same goal, coming into God’s presence. Because Jesus has opened up a new and life-giving way into the most holy place, we should enter right into the presence of God with sincere hearts trusting him fully. God is telling us that everything that Jesus did at the cross had the goal of allowing you and me to enter into his presence. That makes entering into God’s presence extremely important.
Why do we miss God’s presence? Actually, this is an interesting question. I believe there are several reasons people miss the goal where God is always directing us.
Lack of knowledge is one reason. Many people have never been taught that God’s presence is important, much less the primary goal in life. The goal of the cross was to direct you to come near to him and fellowship with him.
Fear of his presence is another reason. People fear coming into God’s presence because they fear God will correct us for the things we already know we are doing wrong. People fear God’s presence because they fear his gentle rebuke. The truth is God wants to love us and help us with whatever our struggles are. So fear hinders us from the very thing we need and desire. In Exodus 20:18-19 in the New Living Translation, we have the story of God telling Moses that he wanted his people to draw near to him. "When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. And they said to Moses, 'You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!' " Even here in Exodus 20, God’s heart was to have his people draw near to him and to enjoy his presence.
Being too busy is another reason we miss God’s Presence. In Psalms 51:11-12 in the New Living Translation, David made this statement after he had returned to the lord in repentance: "Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you."
David was once again telling us that the joy of his salvation with the lord was the ability to enjoy his presence. David had lost the ability to enjoy God’s presence because of his sins of adultery, murder and rebellion. David was a worshiper, and because of his sin he had lost the ability to worship God and could not enter into God’s presence. His repentance led him back to God, and he desired what he had most missed, God’s presence.
How about you? Would you come into his presence? Make a change from being a spectator to being a participant in worship.
The Rev. Rene Monette is pastor of Living Word Church, 1916 La. 311 in Schriever.