Whether you are in a season of the fireworks of God’s love or a time when you seem unable to feel His presence, here are some keys to experiencing His presence both tangibly and supernaturally!
Key #1: Heart Posture
Our ability to engage with God in relationship is most influenced by the posture of our hearts before Him. Are we willing to set aside time to tend the garden of our life with God?
Often we are preoccupied with action and progress as we gauge our growth with God, but this is not the most important. The inner life hidden behind our faces—our hearts, minds, and wills—is where God desires we first pursue Him and is the source of every word we speak and every action we take.Jesus tells us, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV)
As we set aside a consistent time to worship and be with Jesus, the overflow of our hearts will reflect His heart more and more (2 Corinthians 3:18). Our thoughts, words, and actions will increasingly reveal our love for Him because we will experience His love for us. We will get to know the different attributes of who He is (e.g. His humility, mercy and compassion) and experience His presence more and more.
We reveal whether we value God’s feelings and truth not just in a daily time with Him or a weekly worship service, but in how we live our lives. Do we choose His ways of love and truth above our own desires, habits, and inclinations, conforming ourselves to His will as we are transformed by the renewal of our minds? (See Romans 12:2.)
Key #2: Gratitude
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” (Psalm 100:4 NKJV)
Psalm 100:4 speaks of God’s gates and courts, through which we enter by thanks and praise. The Lord was reminding me of this truth recently, when distractions were becoming a noisy hindrance as I sought to be with Him: Being thankful and speaking it aloud is the gateway to experiencing God’s tangible presence.
The opposite is also true: When we are constantly voicing our complaints, we shut off our hearts to God’s enjoyable presence in our lives.
As you cultivate a heart of thanksgiving, vocalize your gratitude and meditate on all Jesus has done in your life. It is impossible to maintain a heart of gratitude without also guarding our thoughts and words. Speak words of life and meditate on that which is excellent, praiseworthy, and of good report (Proverbs 18:21; Philippians 4:8).
Key #3: Abiding in Christ
We cannot enter God’s presence deeply as a community if we do not pursue an intimate relationship with God personally. We must learn to abide in Christ daily, not just sing songs to Him in a weekly meeting, living far from Him throughout the week.
Abiding in Christ is as simple as engaging in relationship with Him. It starts and is sustained by talking to Jesus and allowing Him to talk back, both in our alone time with Him and throughout our day.
One way to turn your attention to the Lord is through “pause” moments. We simply pause for a moment to worship Him for a few seconds throughout each day, thanking and talking to Him in the midst of our daily tasks. Merely engage in dialogue with Him, short or long, as you would a loved one or friend in showing your thoughtfulness toward them.
Other ideas: Greet Him when you wake each morning. Take a pause moment on your break at work, or as you wait at a stoplight while driving. Worship the Lord as you do the dishes or change the oil in your car. Anyone can do it. You could even speak a simple “I love You” or “thank You, Jesus” every hour or two.
Make known your thoughts to Him, being fully transparent. Listen for His still, small voice as He responds. Before you know it, you will find yourself experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence more tangibly every day. As a beneficial aside, know that “His presence” is not an ethereal, out-there thing. God’s presence is about simply being with Him, just as when we are in the presence of a friend, we are spending time with them.
Key #4: Casting Aside Distractions & Worry
Often our minds are racing between hundreds of thoughts and pictures, and our minds are made to be filled with something. Trying to empty our minds is nearly impossible as they are meant to be filled.
In order to pursue undistracted devotion to God, we must use our minds in our pursuit of Him. Talking to Him, praying, and engaging with God. We must actively give our cares and worries to God, not trying to empty our minds but fill them with God’s truth and expressions of worship and thanks to Him (see Key #2). Even when thoughts are not raging through our minds, we are preoccupied with something such as listening, reading, or worshiping. We can set our focus on Him, trusting Him with our concerns.
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMPC)
The story of Martha and Mary illustrates this truth. Martha was distracted by many things which kept her from having a quiet heart able to hear Jesus’ words, while Mary set aside all else to focus on what Jesus had to speak to her. Mary was listening to something: Jesus’ words.
“…a woman named Martha received and welcomed [Jesus] into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]!’ But the Lord replied to her by saying, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42 AMPC)
Jesus tells us what is most important, the one thing that is needed. He reminds us as he did Martha that this one thing will never be taken from us. The life-altering effects of the time we spend with God will last for eternity!
As we prioritize Jesus, He will take care of our concerns and we will experience His presence, peace and love. As we seek His Kingdom first, not only will He take care of us, but we will build treasure in Heaven which will not fade.
“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow…” (Matthew 6:33-34 AMPC)