Confusing the “Presence of God”

I’ve read a lot of Christian material (books, magazine articles, blogs, message board posts, church bulletins, and etc.) over the years, perhaps more than most people. I’ve heard a lot of talk and chatter, too, from preachers and teachers and general conversationalists, and whatever in between.

It’s a fairly common topic, and in my opinion, is completely confused by most, if not all. Now, I realize that’s a generalization, and I don’t mean to say that all Christians everywhere are confused. Rather, of the material I’ve read, and of the discussions I’ve heard, it seems to me that yes, perhaps all of it, is confused, bordering on mistaken.

That’s a pretty bold claim. To support it and show if it’s accurate or not, first, I’m going to sum up the basic statements made about the Presence of God. They follow pretty much the same track. Note the following:

– When you’re in the presence of God…
– We need to spend (more) time in the presence of God…
– The presence of God is here…
– God moves when you’re in His presence…
– There was such a presence of God…
– The “manifest” presence of God…
– I feel/felt the presence of God…
– The presence of God was so powerful…
– Let’s get into the presence of God…
– Let’s pray the presence of God down…
– The atmosphere was charged with/by the presence of God…

The list goes on. Admit it. You’ve heard all these statements, perhaps even said them, too. I know I have.

But, these kinds of statements suggest that God’s presence is a here or there experience, as if it comes and goes in and out of a believer’s life, randomly, and only on or for special occasions, and that it’s a separate entity apart from God Himself, i.e. the Presence of God versus just God being present.

Question:

If you are filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit of God, is there anywhere you can go where the presence of God is not?

Consider these verses:

Psalm 139:7,

7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

Jeremiah 23:24,

24. Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.

Romans 8:9,

9. …the Spirit of God dwell[s] in you.

Ephesians 4:6,

6. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Colossians 1:27,

27. …Christ in you, the hope of glory…

There is a terrible injustice done to Spirit-filled believers when they are taught to divorce the Presence of God from themselves as His holy habitation on earth.

1 Corinthians 3:16,

16. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Collectively as the Church, and as the individual members of the Body of Christ, we are His temple.

God lives in us! There is nowhere we can go where God is not present: actively, volitionally, presently present!

Here is wisdom: Is God ever divorced from His own presence? Is there ever a time that God keeps you, His child, out of His presence, even though He lives inside of you, as if to say that God is present but without a Presence?

Ephesians 2:19-22,

19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We are members of God’s household. That means we live with Him. And He is the Permanent Resident of Honor who has made a home inside of us the Church, just as it says: through the Spirit.

So, it’s quite clear that God’s presence among His people is not a here and/or there “thing” to be experienced on special occasions, i.e. occasionally, as if God needed to show up, arriving as it were, from some other place, i.e. from without His temple.

Brothers and sisters, we don’t have to generate some type of atmosphere before God will show up. HE’S ALREADY HERE!!!

So what is it?

I submit to you it’s our awareness and the amount of attention we pay the Creator.

If we’ve been trained to only think of God’s presence as something unique and not normal, or worse, if we’re so carnally minded that we become indifferent to His constant, permanently indwelling presence, then yes, our ability to be aware of Him at all times is negatively affected.

At best, this is ignorance. At worst, this is idolatry.

Face it. Whether you “feel” it/Him or not, God is present and so is His presence. Whether you attach any significance to it or not, you, Spirit-baptized believer, have God literally living inside of you. He is always present, even if/when you wish He wasn’t. Even when you are NOT specifically praying to Him, or offering Him your worship. Even in the most mundane, boring, everyday minutiae of your often mundane, boring, everyday, minutiae-filled life, you are, barring becoming a reprobate (See 2 Corinthians 13:5) constantly and completely in the Presence of God, non-stop, forever.

– In the shower? Yes!
– On the toilet? Yes!
– Watching old re-runs? Yes!
– Waiting at a stoplight? Yes!
– Having your morning coffee? Yes!
– Taking out the trash? Yes!
– Daydreaming about a vacation? Yes!
– Getting yelled at at work? Yes!
– Half-dozing on the couch? Yes!
– Standing in line at the check-out counter? Yes!
– Changing the baby’s diaper? Yes!
– Lamenting the rain? Yes!
– Shoveling snow? Yes!
– Running errands at the post office? Yes!
– Picking the kids up from their sleep-over? Yes!
– Getting a haircut? Yes!

Just as Mary bore the Lord in her womb, in a similar way, you bear Christ inside of you, through the Holy Spirit of the Father. Just as the Lord had the Spirit of the Father without limitations within His human frame (See John 3:34 and Colossians 2:9), and so was the locus and center of God’s activity on earth, so, too, does the Lord God Almighty go with you wherever you go. He’s not walking beside you, ready to divert and detour around you.  He’s not just present, or merely nearby. He is inside of you, carried there in your soul, going as you go, with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

It is an unmistakable, inescapable fact. God is as much a part of your life as you are to and of your own life, if you’ve received His Holy Spirit.

You just need to become more aware of it and learn to pay better attention. Granted, God may become magnified by your praise or as your local assembly worships Him in Spirit and Truth. But this is only a matter of degrees, of specific closeness, i.e. you are drawing near or are experiencing a greater intimacy. Think Isaiah 6:1-8. But it’s not that He’s any closer than He already was; His Spirit is inside of your spirit, after all. It’s merely the appearance, or how it seems, as you decrease and He increases, making you replete by His Spirit with Himself (See Ephesians 5:18).

You see then, how He was always there, how He has always been, present every day, from the moment the Holy Spirit entered your life, from whatever age onward? Friend, you can’t get any closer to the omnipresent reality of the One True God.

You can only become more aware of the reality, and so, bask eternally, from moment to moment, second to second, day after day after awesome day, in the Presence of God.

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~ by votivesoul on 06/13/2013.

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