grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. [2 timothy 1:2]
in a season where we are being made to stay away from the presence of people, we need to make this a season where we press into the presence of the Lord. but how? in this season, how do we press into the “presence” of God? how do we truly connect, commune, engage – experience the very presence of holy God?
for many of us, connecting with the presence of God has for the most part come through corporate or communal settings. so the removal of these settings and the rise in anxiety concerning our future makes it feel like we have been removed from God’s presence.
you have not been removed from his presence.
- and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [matt 28:20]
- the Lord of hosts is with us. [ps 46:7]
- in him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. [eph 1:13]
- fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; [is 41:10]
if you are in Christ, as ephesians 1:13 says, that is if you have trusted your soul to the person and work of Jesus – God has placed his presence in you. God has not left you in this moment. God is with you in this season, even if anxiety concerning your future and lack of community makes it feels like he is far. but, all of us need to press into the presence of God. not just those feeling anxious or those missing community. our very joy in every situation and in every circumstance is connected to the presence of God.
in your presence there is fullness of joy. [ps 16:11]
there it is! in this season where we seem to be losing joy as we are quarantined from the presence of people, remember afresh or discover for the first time, our joy is only found in the presence of the Lord. our joy is not in … doing our work, gathering with friends, eating at our favorite restaurant, having an endless supply of toilet paper, or even in doing his work. our joy according to the word of God is found in the very presence of God – who is joy!
so how do we press into his presence at this moment and time?
- remember – start with the words of God given above and remind yourself of this truth today: because of Jesus’ work, not mine, God is with me, Immanuel. he has not left me and will not leave me because i am his beloved son / daughter in Christ.
- practice his presence – this phrase simply means, put into play what is true. if God is with us, do things that remind you, allow you to engage him, and cause you to see him. below are 10 ways to do this from scripture:
- abide (john 15:4–5)
- set your mind (romans 8:5–6; colossians 3:1–2)
- walk with the Spirit (galatians 5:16, 25)
- rejoice always (1 thessalonians 5:16)
- pray continually (1 thessalonians 5:17)
- pray together (matthew 18:20 – family, or via technology. together doesn’t have to mean in the same room)
- give thanks in all circumstances (1 thessalonians 5:18)
- submit/offer yourself up (galatians 5:17; romans 12:1–2)
- dwell on (philippians 4:6–8)
- remember God’s faithfulness and provision (deuteronomy 8:2–3)
all of these things require us to lean into, acknowledge, and submit to the Spirit of God in us. they involve us seeing and believing the words of Gods. they involve prayer. and, they involve others. even in this season, we need others. you will have to get creative if you are not in a house with a family, but we need others.
in a season where we are being made to stay away from the presence of people – we need to make this a season where we press into the presence of the Lord. will you join me in this pursuit – this practice together? every day, right here in this spot, we will practice the presence of the Lord. as we pursue and practice his presence, we believe the One who is Joy – will share his joy with us through his very presence. and, i believe this, he will then move us and give us wisdom in how to press into the presence of others, even as we are distanced by “social distancing”. today, let’s together as one people, as one voice, ask God to remind us – that in his presence there is fullness of Joy. lets’ ask him now …