December 2

The Experience of His Presence

Introduction

One of the greatest gifts of my life has been experience the presence of God. His presence is essential to experiencing and knowing him. And God has made himself so available to us through all that Jesus accomplished. May we simplify what it means to experience God’s presence today and gain a greater sense of confidence to experience the presence of God for ourselves at all times.

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Scripture

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

Worship

Out of Hiding | Steffany Gretzinger

Out of Hiding Father’s Song Official Lyric Video by Steffany Gretzinger and Amanda Cook

“Come out of hiding you’re safe here with Me, there’s no need to cover what I already see…” Lyrics for Out of Hiding (Father’s Song) written by Steffany Gretzinger & Amanda Cook. #TheUndoing Bethel Music’s collective of worship leaders aim to write and record songs that carry the culture of heaven and the heart of God.

Devotional

Experiencing the presence of God sounds like such a mystery. It sounds like this wonderful but evasive thing that some people get sometimes, but isn’t concrete enough to expect or place your hope in. We associate God’s presence with emotions and music as if it were a breeze so light and momentary you almost couldn’t be sure it happened at all.

But in reality God’s presence is as simple as being in the presence of a friend or spouse. It’s as simple and concrete as being around a person except for one simple truth: God never leaves. And just as you can be in the same room as a friend and not know it, you can live the Christian life apart from experiencing God’s nearness. Just as you can be sitting right across from a friend and be so busy with technology or your own thoughts to even remember they are there, you can go through life focused on the busyness of present circumstances and miss out on the fact that God is closer than your breath.

But we find hope for encountering the presence of God in Psalm 27:4. Scripture says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” This pursuit, this action of seeking the living God, never comes back empty. To seek God is to encounter God. Emotions aside, complexities cast away—God is already with you. He is already closer than he could ever be. His Spirit, his presence in the earth, never leaves you and never forsakes you. And when you turn your attention toward him, just as you can to a friend sitting across a table from you, you can encounter him.

Psalm 139:7 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” His presence is always available. He’s not a friend who turns away from you or hides his heart. He’s not a small gust of wind that comes and goes as he pleases. He’s a God who would suffer and die that he might tear the veil and make his presence fully, continuously available to all those who would seek him. He’s a God who’s working tirelessly to restore his crown of creation to himself that we might walk with him like in the Garden of Eden, but this time for all of eternity with no possibility of a fall or barrier between us.

Your ability to meet with God is as simple as turning your attention toward him and allowing yourself to be known. May you meet with your heavenly Father in profoundly simple ways today as you enter into a time of guided prayer.

Prayer

1. Meditate on the availability of God’s presence.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

2. What’s your greatest fear regarding God’s presence. What’s something that would keep you from seeking after him like you would a close friend?

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

3. Surrender any hesitation you have to him and seek him in faith that he is already with you. Turn your heart toward him and talk to him honestly and openly. Allow him to reveal his nearness to you in any way he wishes.

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

Go

The best place to start with God is always honesty. He doesn’t meet you in a place that isn’t real. So if you’re trying to seek him but avoiding something, you are attempting to sew back together the veil he so lovingly tore in two. There’s no need to veil your heart from him. There’s no reason to act as if everything is all right if it isn’t. Whether you’re at church, with friends, or meeting him in the secret place, he only asks for honesty from you. Tell him how you feel. Open up the places of your heart that you are too shameful or scared to let into the light. Allow him to flood your fears with his relentless love and experience the presence that only grace has to offer.

Extended Reading: Psalm 27 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Psalms.