I recently heard a minister make a statement about how we need to press in to experience the presence of God and it really caught my attention because of what I had told a good friend the day before. The previous day I told my friend “I never struggle to experience the presence of God anymore. I used to struggle for years and years when I tried to press in and experience God. I would try and focus harder, worship harder, and strive and always felt empty.”
It’s ironic this minister was saying to do the one thing that kept me from experiencing God. What gives? Before I explain, I want to share why I think this is so important. I have talked to numerous Christians over the years who try to experience the touch of God, the power of God, or hear His voice only to wind up frustrated because His presence never shows up. They beg, plead, cry out, try hard to live holy, and so on, but they never sense a tangible touch of God. Does this sound familiar?
This is exactly how I lived as a young Christian in my early 20’s. Part of the reason I lived very empty and frustrated was because in my early Christian years I was taught that God left and withdrew and did all sorts of things based on my obedience. I was also taught He would withdraw from me even if I was obeying if He was trying to teach me something. If I didn’t obey perfectly or if He was just being fickle one day, I couldn’t sense His presence.
While I know we aren’t supposed to walk by feelings, it is better to experience His tangible presence than have it seem like He is far off. The funny thing is for most of those years from 2001-2006 I almost never could feel Him. This made me wonder if He deserted me.
Everything changed in 2006 when I get a revelation that I was now the temple of the Holy Spirit. Look at 1 Corinthians 6:17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19:
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
These verses say that once we accept Jesus as our Lord we become one spirit with the Holy Spirit. Our physical body then becomes the temple of God and He resides in the same way He resided in Solomon’s Temple in the Old Testament. Once we have asked Jesus into our heart, God never leaves us nor forsakes us whether we feel Him or not. When I learned this, I quit trying to press in through great striving and prayer to sense His presence. I simply relaxed, because I knew God was with me. And do you know what happened? I started sensing His presence! I began to experience His tangible touch in my body. I began to hear His voice speak to my heart. My awareness of Him went through the roof when I quit striving and I began resting.
When I knew I already had God’s presence with me, I quit trying to get Him to show up. I discovered the spirit of love, joy, peace, and kindness was always inside of me and the reason I wasn’t experiencing it is because I took my focus off the truth that God was always with me. This changed my whole world. As I have renewed my mind to this truth, I can usually sense the tangible presence of God demand!
I hope this blesses you and helps you. God will never leave or forsake you. You don’t have to strive to experience Him. You just have to relax and know He is right there with you. As you do, you will experience His tangible presence in a profound way in your life! That changes everything!
If you’d like to learn more, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.