Chukwuemeka Chinedu is an ongoing Student Pastor at Nigeria Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, with BSc in Economics.
It Pays to Be in God's Presence
The Presence of God
What does the presence of God mean to us today? What is the meaning of the presence of God in our lives? All these questions come to mind when we require God's presence. The scripture says in Psalm 16:11 (KJV)." Thou will show me the path of life; in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand, there are pleasures forevermore." The scripture above did not highlight God's presence as a physical location but as a qualitative experience. A place where an individual in need of God can enjoy; a place where he can encounter God. Therefore the presence of God is a joyful and wonderful experience we receive in our hearts about God and how He interacts with us and through us with our neighbours and environment.
The Experience of Being in God's Presence
Firstly to enjoy God's presence, one must have repented from his sinful nature and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal saviour, thereby reconciling with God through faith in Christ Jesus. Therefore, implying that a person is now a new man in Christ. When an individual receives Jesus Christ into his life, he becomes joyful that God has received him. He is relieved and excited that Jesus Christ loves him.
The person that reconciles with God through the love of Jesus Christ has encountered the presence of God. The issue now is to remain in God's presence always and experiencing the joy of being in the presence. If a Christian wants to experience being in God's presence with joy in his heart always, the secret is still in Jesus Christ. One might say how? and they might have wondered why they are no longer having that joyful experience. Psalm 16:11 says, "that in God's presence is fullness of joy, at God's right there are pleasures always."
Moreover, who is at God's right hand; of course, we know the answer; it is Jesus Christ. It stated that there are pleasures at God's right hand. Therefore, we enjoy the presence of God by always remembering the love and life of Jesus Christ in every relationship, situation, and circumstance of our daily lives. As we read and study the Bible every day, we receive understanding and enlightenment about Jesus Christ.
A Life In God's Presence
The character that one tends to exhibit in God's presence is a life of integrity, holiness, humility, love, purity, honesty and every virtue of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Such individuals must have recognised that they are not perfect in their way of life because, in their weaknesses, Jesus Christ works best. Of course, they have never reached perfection but are still loving Jesus to be like him someday. Such people in love with Jesus Christ enjoy the grace of God in their lives and their relationship with people around them. Sometimes we get persecuted and misunderstood by people who interact with us, but the promises and joy in Jesus Christ still keep us strong. Here is a gracious short story of a man favoured for living a life in God's presence.
A Man in God's Presence
There was an accusation that arose from a particular village community in Orifite Village. A particular farm of an elderly nobleman of the community got burnt, and there was no other person to suspect but a stranger from a foreign country. He came the day before the farm was caught on fire. Many of the villagers came with weapons of farm implements gathering around the house, the stranger lodged. As the villagers were shouting and requiring immediate justice, to their surprise, a well-known man of God came out of the house to meet them. He did not say much, for everyone among the mob of angry folks have experienced the love and integrity of the evangelist's life and ministry. Therefore, the people dropped their weapons, as they were sorry for accusing the evangelist's visitor that he brought to the village for a revival program.
Psalm 15:1-5, a psalm written by David as the Spirit of God inspired him, highlights the virtues and qualities of standing firm and abiding in God's presence and affirming that any life challenges can never move such a person. We can say that these are prerequisites for any individual to abide and remain in God's presence. We can see from the story above that the evangelist was a man of God that an angry Mob can never shake, and his friend enjoyed the safety and privilege of being in God's presence with him. Though no one is perfectly righteous, even the evangelist was not perfect. However, an indication of seeking to abide in God's presence continually suffices the processes of God's grace to take us to the holy hill of God's presence, not a physical hill, but a spiritual hill of having God's presence in our heart.
Therefore, as people of light, willing to remain in the light of God's presence, we should be willing and tend to live a life of integrity, honesty, and love.
Brother Lawrence. The Practice of the Presence of God. New Orleans, Louisiana: DotLit Press, 2000.
© 2021 Chukwuemeka Chinedu