You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalms 16:11 (ESV)
In our house, live two furry large dogs. One is male, the other female. One is white, the other is black. Their main focus in life is to seek my presence. They want to be where ever I go, even to the bathroom! If they fall asleep it must be in a location that is as close to me as they can physically position themselves, so in case I leave they will awaken. When they’re awake, their eyes are focused on me. Every waking moment is centered around where I am. They have a loyal desire to be in my presence. Upon returning home, after a quick trip away, they demonstrate great joy and delight to be in my presence once again.
Are we as eager to be in the presence of our Father?
Knowing about God is different than knowing God. We know about God by – reading and knowing the facts of His character and promises. These things are crucial to our relationship with Him. However, it could become only a mental exercise of retaining knowledge unless we also seek to know of God.
Knowing of God is a knowing that perceives the presence of God in your life.
4. Seeking the Presences of God
Seeking the presence of God is a lifestyle. It is an attitude of the mind and requires a focus deeper than being a casual observer of life. Psalms 16:8-11 gives us a clear picture of what it takes to experience the presence of God producing a heart of full joy.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (ESV)
What a gift! The present of presence is a secure, wise, joyful heart that experiences the peace of God. Joy in God’s presence begins with your desire for God’s presence.
The reason we are not able to see God is the faintness of our desire. ~ MEISTER ECKHART
David states he has set the Lord always before him. The Living Bible translation says, I am always thinking of the Lord. Our desires drive our thinking. We have a choice of letting our fears*drive our thinking OR our faith drive a focused thinking, desiring a life path set in the presence of God. The absences of fear creates space for the presences of God.
Fear closes our heart. Faith opens our heart and expands our awareness and reliance on the truths of God. Faith driven desire is fueled by this reliance or dependence on the grace, mercy and love of our Father. Dependence on the love of God gives us security. Our worth is fulfilled by the presences of God in our lives. Dependence will enhance our focus on the Lord Jesus in any circumstance, rather than looking to other worldly sources for our security and worth.
Brother Lawrence*, who lived in the 1600’s, produced many writings about Practicing the Presence of God. He was focused on having continual conversations with God no matter the circumstances.
If you and I are going to enjoy the peace of paradise during this life we must become accustomed to a familiar, humble and very affectionate conversation with the Lord Jesus. You must stop your spirit from wandering from the Lord no matter what the circumstances are. (Practicing His Presence, pp. 95-96)
O God and Father, I repent of my sinful preoccupation with visible things. The world has been too much with me. Thou hast been here and I knew it not. I have been blind to Thy presence. Open my eyes that I may behold Thee in and around me. For Christ’s sake, Amen. ~ A. W. TOZER
The life given awareness, attitude and mind set that will cultivate the discernment of God will take practice fueled with focused diligence. The purpose of spiritual disciplines* is to enable a closer relationship with God that will help our souls realize the true peace and joy in resting in His love. Bible reading, worship, prayer, soul friendship, personal reflection, fasting, solitude are examples of spiritual disciplines that will empower us to do what we can not do with our own efforts. These disciplines intentional physical activities that will train our thinking and awareness to be more open to a life in relationship with Christ. Like any athlete training for his sport, it takes practice to accomplish the fundamentals of the sport with ease. It will take practice to be at ease with resting in the presences of God.
Sarah Young’s books are written as though Jesus is talking directly to us. This is one of her writings about the presences of God.
“I WANT YOU TO KNOW how safe and secure you are in My Presence. That is a fact, totally independent of your feelings. You are on your way to heaven; nothing can prevent you from reaching that destination. There you will see Me face to Face, and your Joy will be off the charts by any earthly standards. Even now, you are never separated from Me, though you must see Me through eyes of faith. I will walk with you till the end of time, and onward into eternity.
Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings. When you forget I am with you, you may experience loneliness or fear. It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings. Practice the discipline of walking consciously with Me through each day.” Sarah Young Jesus Calling
Desire, dependence, discernment and diligence are components necessary to effectively seek the presences of God. The end result is a heart realizing the “fullness of joy”.
Joy does not depend on circumstances. It is a choice we have in our circumstances. Joy comes from knowing God is in control, strengthening and stabilizing our life in this world. Joy is the product of resting in the presence of God.
“When you walk through a day with childlike delight, savoring every blessing, you proclaim your trust in Me, your ever-present Shepherd. The more you focus on My Presence with you, the more fully you can enjoy life. Glorify Me through your pleasure in Me. Thus you proclaim My Presence to the watching world.” ~ Sarah Young Jesus Calling
Are you experiencing joy your life? How strong is your desire to seek God’s presence?
What is hampering the strength of that desire?
The need to prove your worth by perfection and performance instead of realizing your worth in the presence of God? Or do you avoid, numb out to escape your lack of worth keeping you in a haze, seeking to hide missing the loving presences of God?
Instead “Seek the Lord….He will be found” Isaiah 55:6
Surrender to His grace, mercy, love and beauty, He is here with you…..