As we begin a new season of life, with summer holidays behind us and a new school year ahead of us, it is time to revisit the theme of, “Encountering God’s Transforming Presence.” This week we speak about Presence …
In the Old Testament, the same word that is translated “presence” is translated “face”; it’s the same Hebrew word. So when David says, “My heart says of you, “Seek his face! Your face, Lord, I will seek.”, he is essentially expressing a similar idea as Moses when he says, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Both these friends of God are acknowledging their need for an intimate relationship with Him. They need God for their own personal lives, but they also need him in order to lead his people. It is not enough to rely on calling, gifting, training or experience. As valuable, and necessary, as those things are the greatest cry of the heart of a friend of God is, “I need you, Lord!”
When the Lord said to Elsie, my wife, “I want you to live facedown in my presence” what he was essentially driving at was getting us to live intentionally aware of our need for him at every turn. We need him for our own personal lives, for our marriage, for the leading and developing of our church and ministry, for our relationships, for everything! This might sound like a noble, even romantic, notion but the fact of the matter is that, like all things in the Christian life, it is easier said than done. We humans have a deep seated penchant for independent living. There is a continual pull of the Adamic nature towards self-reliance and independence from God. His intention in calling us to seek his face is for our benefit. “In your presence, there is fullness of joy.” That’s a gorgeous benefit. Anyone need a good dose of joy today?
Often, I find myself in the quiet of the night, in the shower, in the car and at other moments, intermittently whispering, “Jesus”, “Holy Spirit”, or “Baba”. What my heart is doing there is simply expressing my need for him and acknowledging his presence with me. It is accentuating the union that my spirit has with His Spirit. The outcome of doing this is not always obvious, but sometimes, it is: I get an inspired thought in conversation with someone, or feel a sense of peace in a potentially stressful situation, or a whisper of affirmation, or I could be in a better mood than the circumstances might warrant. Now, that’s when I know his presence is with me!
If you want to develop the capacity to seek his face, the starting point would be to ask:
- Ask God for a desire for intimacy with him. He fills the hungry with good things.
- Deliberately declutter your life in order to give God more of your attention.
- If emotional pain and other blockages come to the surface (and often they do), get help from wise, trained Holy Spirit ministers.
The end result will be a greater capacity to carry his presence, know his friendship and experience his joy! What more can you ask for this side of eternity?