Are you struggling to feel the presence of the Lord?
Do you sense nothing when you try to spend time with Him?
Are the scriptures having no deep impact on your life?
How can we experience the presence of God?
Wow, if I were able to fully answer that question here, I could write a book and make a million dollars! This is the question believers have asked throughout the ages. And the reality is, experiencing the presence of God is, I believe, as varied as the person who asks it. But I do believe there are some things we need to examine in our own lives to see if we are doing anything to quench the Spirit in ourselves.
#1 – Do we have any unconfessed sin?
Now, let me say that it is so very easy for us to give a short cursory, “No, of course not!” I’m going to burst that bubble right now and say, there is always SOME unconfessed sin in our lives. As God works to transform us into the image of His Son, there will always (this side of Glory) be things that are wrong in our lives…attitudes, assumptions, or actions. However, not all of this is revealed to us by God. Sometimes He will hold off and not work on certain things in our lives for years and years. Let me rephrase the question above. Is there any unconfessed sin that God is revealing to us?
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Has His Spirit been nudging us about something we said to someone else, whether to a spouse or child, friend or stranger? Perhaps it was something we neglected to do when we were convicted to do it? I am not saying we are supposed to berate ourselves over an act of kindness we didn’t think about doing or something that came to our mind after the fact. God doesn’t bring condemnation to our lives. But I am talking about something that God specifically laid on our hearts but we deliberately chose to ignore His prompting and, in rebellion, did our own thing instead. Or maybe it is an ugly attitude toward someone, something we don’t act on but that colors the way we view them.
With these unconfessed sins, we need to really sit down and ask the Spirit to search our hearts. We must be willing to stop the noises and distractions in our lives and open our hearts for the Lord to really search us and speak to us. Nothing says the presence of God like His hand of conviction on us! Conviction, repentance, confession and receiving His forgiveness. Start there now.
#2 Are we neglecting His Word?
Spending time in the Word is more than reading through a one-verse daily devotional. And it is more than preparing for the bible studies we go to. It’s not how much time or how many verses we read, it is all about letting the Word reach into our lives to speak to us and letting the Holy Spirit use that Word to change us. Sometimes we forget that the Word is life-giving. Sometimes we forget that the Word pierces deep to the core of who we are. Sometimes we forget that the Word is the very heart and mind of God given to us.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
Are we meditating on His Word daily? Are we praying through the scriptures or are we just skimming over the writing to get our daily check list done. Read Scripture. Check. Coming to the scriptures with a heart to be taught, to be changed, to be exposed before the Living God really opens us up to His presence! Open His Word now.
#3 Are we neglecting Him?
This one might seem odd to you. You might think I’ve covered this one in the previous 2 points. But it is actually quite different. Many years ago, as a baby Christian, I read a booklet called “My Heart, Christ’s Home” and it had a powerful impact on me. It talked about the love relationship we have with Jesus and how easy it is for us to begin to neglect our time with Him. We race through a devotional time without ever really stopping to remember who it is we are meeting. We get focused on all the activities in our lives, even “good” Christian activities. These can begin to supersede a real intimate relationship. We can be deceived into thinking that involvement in Christian things is the same thing as being with Christ.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Do we think about Him when we first open our eyes? Do we go to sleep talking to Jesus at night? Do we call out to Him for help in our nightmares? Does our mind automatically focus on Him at every lull in our mental processes? Are we totally and unashamedly in love with Him? Maybe it is time to cultivate that deep and sweet love with our precious Savior. This kind of intimacy and hunger opens the door to His presence. Let’s walk through that door right now!
[Tweet “Experiencing His presence is about Jesus, not about us.”]
Focus on Him.
Don’t meditate on what you are or are not feeling. Look to Him and let His Spirit open your spirit, to see Him in a deep way to live a life of transformation. In the middle of all of this, you will find Jesus – calling you. Answer the call now.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God…