How to Experience God’s Presence

Pillar of FireGod’s presence has become a fetish among Christians. We ask Him to be present in our lives and long to feel His presence. We worship to experience His presence and invite Him into places. We often quote Jesus’ promise, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).

A Flawed Trend
This obsession with God’s presence is not based on what the Bible says. Many Christians say God is “omnipresent,” meaning He is in all places at all times. But the Bible depicts God sitting on His throne in heaven and only being present in certain places at certain times.

God’s Presence in the Bible
God’s presence is a major theme in the Bible. He always makes Himself present with His people in some special way. He appears to us sporadically through dreams, visions, angels, and natural phenomena. But He also dwells with us more permanently at certain places and in certain people:

  • Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden with God. He walked and talked with them, and gave them unrestricted access to His presence (Genesis 3:9-10).
  • Tabernacle. Moses and the Israelites built the Tabernacle (a portable Temple) at Mt. Sinai. God filled it with His glory and covered it with a cloud to symbolize His presence (Exodus 40:34-38).
  • Temple. Solomon and the Israelites built a Temple in Jerusalem. God filled it with His glory and with a cloud to symbolize His presence, and put His name there forever (1 Kings 8:10-11, 9:3).
  • Jesus. Through Jesus, God was present with us as a human being. Jesus was called “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23). In Jesus, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). God was visibly and personally present through the life and ministry of Jesus.
  • Church. God lives in those who belong to Jesus by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul says the church is “a holy temple in the Lord…being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21-22).  John assures us, “This is how we know that God lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:24).
  • New creation. When Jesus returns, God will destroy the present universe and create a new one where He will live with us forever (Revelation 21:1-4). We will enjoy unlimited and unending access to His presence.

God’s Presence in Your Life
Christians do not need to ask for God’s presence or seek it out. He is already present with us through the person of the Holy Spirit. You received the Holy Spirit when God adopted you as His child at the moment of your conversion (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit is always with you in the midst of your daily situations and struggles.

So you cannot experience more of God’s presence in the sense that He already lives in you. But you can ask the Holy Spirit to be more active in your life by doing things that require His supernatural help. Start confessing your sins, giving to the poor, serving the needy, and telling others about Jesus. You will be surprised how much more present God seems when you begin doing difficult things by the power of His Spirit!

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