If you have been around Calvary at all, you know that I often say something like this, “what we need, what we should yearn for is the presence of God in our lives. We ought to make finding the Lord’s presence a top priority because if the Lord shows up, everything changes”. This statement is born out of my own journey and experience. It is when I have been in the presence of God that my life has dramatically changed.
Recently, I received this email question from a wonderful leader at Calvary about the language I use and asking for clarification.
Hi Pastor Ron,
I wanted to raise my hand in service today and ask a question 🙂 …can you elaborate on what you mean by “when God shows up”? I (we) might be looking for Him to show up in the wrong places. At first I was viewing this statement in a literal sense; trusting and waiting for God to show up to settle the chaos in our lives. Now I’m wondering if you’re meaning a deeper/non tangible, level.
So, what do I mean when I say that we need God to show up? What is the presence of the Lord and why should we seek it? So this is my aim in this blog post: first, I want to prove that we need to make seeking the Lord a priority; secondly, I want to show the good that can come from it; and third, I want to show you what are the signs that God is drawing near you. My aim is one: to show how the presence of the Lord in your life changes everything.
You Are Commanded To Seek The Lord
There is no doubt that the bible wants us to seek his presence:
- there is to be seeking as a Christian; salvation is not the end; it is just the beginning of a seeking-kind-of-life.
- there is a quality of life available to you that is eternal in quality. But God doesn’t just give it to you. You must seek it.
- A sense of your own sinfulness, God’s holiness, a desire for repentance and an experience Christ’s sweet mercy. In John 16, Jesus says he will send the Spirit who will convict us of our sin and point us to Jesus (glorify him). This is not just a one time event at conversion but a way of life–a cruciform life. When God draws near, you realize that your most righteous deeds are, “as filthy rags” and you can do nothing to clean up the mess of your life. Then in the same breath you come to realize that Jesus alone is your hope and righteousness. It is not just an abstract understanding of atonement but an experience of it in one’s life. When this is happening, God is drawing near.
- There will be power and you will have supernatural results in your life. Wherever the presence of God breaks through, supernatural things happen–healings, fear of the Lord, insight, amazing results, and the list could go on and on. The overwhelming testimony of Scriptures is that when God shows up things change. People change; circumstances change; eternities change; things change! So, if amazing things are happening in your midst, God has drawn near.
- Transformation. If your inner life begins to be transformed, if you begin to take on the character of Jesus’ life in your life, then God has drawn near. The most profound mark of God’s nearness as it relates to our character is being a people of love. When you are more loving–a servant over a consumer–God has drawn near.
- A season of dryness and trial. When Jesus was filled with God’s presence (the Holy Spirit) that very presence took him into the wilderness for a season of testing and trial… It is where the enemy spoke. It was a season of weakness. Though Christ is unique and his victory secure, our times of trials and troubles are specifically allowed and designed by the Spirit so that we can grow and mature… This is why Paul says we can rejoice in our trials in Romans 5 because the end of such suffering is our hope and joy. When trials are happening, God has drawn near.
- Worship. When you want to make your life about his fame then God has drawn near. When you want to lay down your life so that His cause will be forwarded then God has drawn near. Worship is the clearest sign of God’s nearness; it is the only response of the people of God when he draws near. If you ache to worship, then God has drawn near.
One final, important point: the presence of God is Not primarily a feeling. I think this is where we get confused. We are looking for some kind of emotional experience. Now, this might happen (it sometimes happened in the Bible) but this is really secondary to the signs I marked above. Some people have emotional experiences and none of the above is evidenced… This means whatever happened to them was not the presence of God drawing near. Other people have no emotional experience but these fruits of God’s presence are present…. This means that God has drawn near.
Conclusion With A Prayer
The presence of God is to be sought; there is good in it and the signs that God is near are obvious.
I hope this helps.
I guess I will close simply with a prayer. It is my prayer that we would seek the Lord. More than anything I want us to experience the life that comes from him alone.
This should be our aim, vocation and one desire as followers of Jesus. The good news in the midst of The Good News is that if we seek the Lord, he will reveal himself to us; then, everything will change.