By Jessica Brest
Why is it so easy for us to forget that we live in the constant presence of our Eternal King? It can be easy to go on with life feeling like it’s just us—only I can hear my thoughts, only I can see what I’m doing right now or what happened over there. God’s presence is so silent, intangible and abstract that it becomes easy to feel like He isn’t there at all.
Despite this, the Bible repeatedly guarantees that our God is an omnipresent God.
While perceiving God’s presence is unlikely with our five senses—the way we are used to encountering our world—that does not make Him any less there. He is aware of all things and able to interact with all things whether in nature or inside of us. How then do we encounter this silent, yet ever-present God? The answer to that is: however He chooses to express Himself to us. Being a multi-dimensional God, He can choose exactly what His influence and presence looks like to us. This can range from our experiencing His incomparable peace, being consistently aware of His blessings throughout our day, receiving an answer to a fervent prayer and more.
WHY WE SHOULD STRIVE TO LIVE IN GOD’S PRESENCE
John Piper explains in his podcast, Ask Pastor John, from December 2015 that “Our experience of [God’s presence] means that we taste or feel or realize the reality of God more directly, more authentically, more intimately, more effectively — that is, producing more effects in our lives — more certainly, more satisfyingly, or more terrifyingly, and so on. In other words, his presence as we experience him is the heightening of his reality in our lives either for good, if we are in his grace, or for ill, if we are under his wrath Which is why Jesus makes all the difference here to shield us and make God a welcoming reality or presence for us.”
This lengthy quote can be narrowed down into two main points:
First, living in and experiencing God’s presence is a blessing! The feeling of being aware of or acknowledged by the God of the universe should fill us with joy! As the Psalmist exemplifies in Psalm 16:
God’s presence is one filled with goodness. Remember that He is the giver of life to all things. He holds the world in its orbit, puts a roof over our head, provides the colorful sunsets we can view each day. God is a God of blessings. He loves His children and longs to give us the things our hearts desire most when in alignment with Him. The idea that God also receives joy from giving you a gift should be awe-inspiring in itself.
Second, God’s presence is a reminder—an enforcer. It keeps us aware of our sins, and in healthy fear of the Lord.
While God loves giving and blessing His people, it is important to remember that He still wants us to avoid sin. When we are saved, God promises not to count every time we sin, but He will still see every single moment in which we choose our flesh over His Word. Choosing to momentarily say “No” to a God who is always watching your actions and your heart should (hopefully) make the sin harder to commit. There is no hiding from God.
WAYS TO REMEMBER GOD’S PRESENCE IN EVERDAY LIFE
- Practice Thankfulness
During time in prayer and throughout the day, make extra effort to thank God for everything He has given you. The important thing here is to not skip the “mundane” gifts. Thanking God for your bed, your breakfast, a conversation with a good friend, the sound of the birds in the trees as you walk to work—taking note of each small gift helps us keep our awareness on God’s omnipresence and less on our own lives. Doing this also helps us notice the smaller gifts when they happen, rather than after the fact.
- Pause to Rest
Busyness can be a huge distractor from God’s presence. If you want to be more aware of God, you need to take the time to notice Him. Every chance you have throughout your busy day (and especially in the morning before you leave your home) take a second to breathe, slow down, and ground yourself on God. This helps you center everything in your life back on the One who matters most.
- Be Kingdom Minded
Beyond awareness of God, put in effort to see the world and yourself through His eyes. Putting your life into perspective everyday is not only helpful for the way you react to life’s circumstances, but also necessary for living in God’s presence. God calls Christians to understand how temporary and “unimportant” the dealings on this earth are in comparison to eternity. He created us to flourish best when we are able to see what He sees and rest in his sovereignty instead of in our own understandings.
- Contemplate Beauty (even in the small things)
One of God’s most easily perceived attributes is His beauty and love for beauty. When more aware of and choosing to live in God’s presence, Christians should have a heightened awareness of the beauty around them. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at nature, appreciate the warm sunlight, the beauty of a child’s face, the beauty of a conversation with a stranger or loved one. It’s when we take the small things for granted that we begin to lose sight of God’s presence.