HOW CAN I EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD?

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JOHN 14:22: “Judas (not Iscariot) asked him, “Lord, how is it that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” (ISV)

OBSERVATION: How can I experience the presence of God?  Why does God’s presence seem like such a mystery? Why is it that sometimes we sense God’s presence in a strong way, and other times we do not? How is the presence of God manifested in our lives? Who can experience the presence of God? As Jesus was teaching His disciples, Judas (not the one who betrayed Him), wondered all these things. Jesus’ answer has often been misunderstood by both believers and non-believers alike.

In a very real sense, God’s presence is always with us. Paul proclaimed in his great sermon on Mars Hill –

  • “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:26-28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Yet, this does not mean that everyone experiences, or abides in the presence of God. Jesus’ answer to Judas gives us the answer to the question of who can experience the presence of God. Jesus said,

  • “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him, and we will go to him and make our home within him.” (John 14:23, ISV)

Jesus indicates it is the one who loves Him, and shows his love by keeping His word, that will experience the presence of God. Some may object to this premise. At first glance, it may sound like Jesus is linking the presence of God to works. Isn’t salvation and every other gift of God received by grace through faith? How are we to understand this?

The Holy Spirit is given to the person who receives the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, by grace through faith. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. Yet, few people read the entire thought that Paul lays out in the book of Ephesians.

  • “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We have been saved by grace through faith, so that we can walk in the good works that God has prepared. This sounds exactly like what Jesus said in His answer to Judas. And this is exactly what the Holy Spirit comes to do in the life and heart of every believer – to lead us in the truth and the pathway of these good works!

  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything that I have told you.” (John 14:26, ISV)
  • “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”  ‭John‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Here is an example that I think will help bring these two thoughts together. If I want to travel from Weatherford, TX to Orlando, Florida by car, I must take a route that has been established, and leads to this destination. I did not build the road, nor did I build the car, or the gas station, the hotel, of the restaurants that I will use as I travel. Yet, if I want to get to my destination, I must stay on the route. And as I do, I get closer and closer to my destination. It is the same way in our walk of faith. As I walk after the Spirit, as I grow in love, and as I follow the good works that God has prepared – I experience His presence in an ever increasing and powerful way.

With this understanding let’s look at the words of Jesus again.

  • “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him, and we will go to him and make our home within him.” (John 14:23, ISV)

Lord, I love You this morning, and I thank You that I have received the Holy Spirit to teach me, and to guide me into all truth. Grant me the grace to keep Your word, to walk in the good works that You have prepared for my life. And, as I do, manifest Your presence in my life and let me abide in Your love! Let me enter into the wonderful promise of Your presence – 

  • “I’m leaving you at peace. I’m giving you my own peace. I’m not giving it to you as the world gives. So don’t let your hearts be troubled, and don’t be afraid.” (John 14:27, ISV)

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is pastor of The Fellowship at Weatherford, a Foursquare Church in Weatherford, Texas. He has developed an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information please send an email to klzehnder@aol.com
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