faithpulpit

Sat, May 01, 1993

A Conscious Awareness of God's Presence

Faith Pulpit
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Ankeny, Iowa
May 1993

A Conscious Awareness of God's Presence


Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence is the desire of believers. Recently, in a prayer meeting, I heard someone pray "O Lord, be with us during this service." God makes it very clear in His Word that He is always with us. Perhaps we need to pray that God would help us to be more consciously aware of His presence.

Have you noticed in your daily Christian experience that some Bible truths, at times, seem to be more distant than you think they should be? For example, is God really present everywhere? What does that mean? And, if Christ indwells believers and promises that He will never forsake us, how does that truth affect us on a daily basis?

No doubt there are times when you sense God's closeness. Have there been other times, however, when you sensed a greater distance from God? Why was that? Did you understand that experience according to the Scriptures?

Do we always correctly interpret our experiences according to God's declared word? Or, do we sometimes incorrectly interpret God's declared Word according to our experiences? God's Word is true and His Word was here long before we arrived on the scene. God certainly does not need our experiences to validate the truth of what He says, but we need God's Word to validate our experience. I want to know Bible facts, but I also want to know personally the God who gave me those facts.

Charles C. Ryrie could help us put this truth in perspective. "A full knowledge of God is both factual and personal. To know facts about a person without knowing the person is limiting; to know a person without knowing facts about that one is shallow. God has revealed many facts about Himself, all of which are important in making our personal relationship close, intelligent, and useful. Had He only revealed facts without making it possible to know Him personally, such factual knowledge would have little, certainly not eternal, usefulness." (Basic Theology, p. 20)

It is possible to know personally the God who has revealed to us the glorious facts about Himself, His universe, His work, and His children. Omnipresence is not the same as pantheism. God is omnipresent. God is holy. God is infinite. God is love. God knows everything. God can do anything (consistent with His own nature) to name a few of His attributes. These truths can touch our hearts and also our daily experiences.

The writer E.M. Bounds has been known for his burden for prayer and he very pointedly wrote, "Praying makes the preacher a heart preacher. Prayer puts the preacher's heart into the preacher's sermon; prayer puts the preacher's sermon into the preacher's heart. The heart makes the preacher. Men of great hearts are great preachers. Men of bad hearts may do a measure of good, but that is rare." (Power Through Prayer, p. 58)

It seems to me that the truth of God's presence and living with an awareness of God's presence would give us hearts that would serve God with fervency and fidelity. Servants of God are not mere professionals who are able to manage, manipulate, and motivate (though we should serve in a professional way), but we must also model true Biblical servitude and spirituality. Servants of God must be spirit-filled as well as skilled. God is the unseen guest and the silent listener in every counseling session, every staff meeting, every business meeting, every prayer meeting, every church office, and every pastor's study. Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence can and should make a significant and positive difference in the life of every Christian.

Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence will keep us from sin. An awareness of His closeness will remind us that sin offends and grieves Him.

Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence will keep us sensitive. An awareness of His closeness will remind us to guard our thoughts, words, and behavior.

Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence will keep us secure. An awareness of His closeness will remind us that He keeps us and that He cares about us. True safety in the life of the believer is not necessarily the absence of danger or difficulty, as much as it is a strong sense of God's presence and power in all situations. In Psalm 139:7–11 the Psalmist is rehearsing the truth that nothing could possibly separate him from God. Distance could not separate him, darkness could not separate him, and danger could not separate him. He was comforted with the words, "Behold, thou art there."

Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence will keep us strong. An awareness of His closeness will remind us that we are His children and that He will continue to empower our lives. The apostle Paul was strengthened by the words of Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." The indwelling presence of Christ was a constant source of comfort and strength for Paul.

Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence will keep us serving faithfully. An awareness of His closeness will remind us that He is the Sovereign and that we are the servants.

It is not necessary for us to be able to understand all the ways of God. God does not owe us an explanation for anything He does. We are responsible to use good judgment and to serve energetically while we also acknowledge God's supernatural work in our behalf. God is wise and knows what is best for us. God is love and knows how to bless us. God is sovereign and can accomplish whatever He pleases. All three of these truths exist together in God. I don't have to choose one of these truths above the others. I can believe and accept all three. These are of great comfort.

We live in a do-it-yourself age, and such a mind-set sometimes spills over into the realm of the spiritual experience for Christians. We must attempt to keep in balance man's efforts and God's enabling. This has been part of my learning experience since my boyhood years on the farm. The farmer uses all of his skills, resources, and experiences to bring about a good harvest, yet that same farmer is dependent upon many forces outside of his control such as the weather. Trusting God to do what we cannot do and accepting our responsibility to do what we are able to do should never be in conflict.

We must live for God responsibly while we serve Him explicitly. It is challenging to live holy lives in a hostile world, so God promises His presence and power. Based upon His declared Word, I accept and rejoice in His promises.

Living with a conscious awareness of God's presence can and should make a significant and positive difference in the life of every Christian. It has made a difference in my life. It can make a difference in yours.