Do we really have to "practice the presence" of God? Good news! If you have received the “Good News” that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then there is no requirement, law, or regulation that mandates you “practice the presence “of God. In fact, it is completely unnecessary. Once a person has confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and acknowledged that Jesus took the punishment they deserved, and paid for their sins on the cross, so they can stand before a Just and Holy God through the righteousness of Christ, then that person is a new creation and receives the Holy Spirit. The God of the universe dwells in you through the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Psalm 139: 7-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. Psalm 139:17-18 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.”
What wonderful Words of encouragement and comfort. If you are indeed a Christian, God is always with you. We cannot hide from His presence. Hebrews 13:5 “…For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” Such bold assurance from our Omnipresent God.
Now the only thing capable of disrupting our sweet communion with our precious Savior is that little problem we call sin. Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
We hide ourselves from the presence of the Lord in our guilt and shame of unrepentant sin. We retreat behind fig leaves and cower in the shadow of the trees to escape God’s presence. Isaiah 59:1-2 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His Face from you, so that He will not hear.
To enjoy intimacy with God our vessel must be clean and ready for His good purposes. 2 Corinthians 6: 16-18, 7:1 “…For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them I will be their God and they shall be my people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’ ’I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
How do we cleanse our temple? Ephesians 5:26-27 “…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church,, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” I pray that we would earnestly say to the Lord; Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God and know my heart. Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God will gently show us the areas we need to clean up by the light of His word. God will reveal through scripture any unrepentant sin we need to deal with if we are willing to submit. Psalm 141: “Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness and let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil; let my head not refuse it.” We must be willing to repent to be clean.
“Repent” is one of the most significant words ever uttered and sadly today is considered almost obscene. Acts 17:29-31 “Therefore since we are the offspring of God we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver, or stone, something shaped by art and mans devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Revelation 3:18-19 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten Therefore be zealous and repent.”
O Lord, please enable us to enjoy Your continual presence with us. May we endeavor to keep our vessels clean and useful for Your service. Help us to repent from all unrighteousness so that Your face is not hidden and that our prayers will not be hindered. Thank You for Your inerrant, unchangeable Word. Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
By Charisse Graves