HOW TO LIVE IN GOD’S PRESENCE AND POWER
I often have people say to me “I just don’t feel the presence of God in my life” or “I oftentimes wonder if God is with me” or “How can I know that God’s presence is real?”
Paul wrote two letters to the Corinthians. These were some of the toughest folks he had to deal with. He knew that it was the presence of God in any situation that provides the power to produce possibilities for kingdom work. He concludes by saying, “I close my letter with these last words,” and then gives four conditions we must practice to experience the presence of God in our lives. (II Cor. 13:11 NLT)
1. REJOICE. It’s so easy in life to go along and complain and feel dejected and defeated. It’s easy to talk about all the negative things in life. One characteristic of God is that He always comes to bring change for the better. Paul over and over again said to rejoice in all things. (Phil 4:4; I Thess 5:16)
I remember hearing about a lady who had a long sour look on her face, but said, “Isn’t Jesus real in our world and in our lives?” A friend said to her, “Yes, He is—but if you believe that, you need to notify your face.” Our faces, our attitudes, and our personalities need to communicate joy.
2. CHANGE YOUR WAYS. Now, this is tough—one of the reasons we don’t feel God’s presence is that we prefer what Bonhoeffer calls “cheap grace.” We want the benefits of what God brings to us in Jesus Christ, but we don’t want to change the way we do things. Jesus didn’t come into the world to make us better—he came to make us new! He came to change all things. (I Cor 12:10)
Is there something in your life that needs to change? The power of God’s grace can change any person in any situation, but the person has to receive the change that comes through God’s grace. If you don’t feel God’s presence, what in your life needs to change?
3. ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER. To encourage means to put courage into people. You never know what kind of experiences people are going through, even though they try to put up a good front.
I don’t know of anybody who doesn’t need encouragement. And anybody can offer encouragement to others. God encouraged the world when He sent His son Jesus. Jesus encouraged everyone by offering them a fulfilling and abundant life. Are you actively engaged in encouraging people?
4. LIVE IN HARMONY AND PEACE. We’re living in a world where there is immense chaos, distrust, political and religious disagreements, etc. Sports teams never win unless they play in harmony with each other. Great teams talk about “love” that the players have for each other.
Is your life creating harmony or discord? In music, discord is hard to listen to—harmony is beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring.
The result? “The God of love and peace will be with you.” (verse 11) “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the Holy Spirit’s friendship will be with you al.” (verse 14)
Paul’s closing words could be your beginning words to living in God’s presence, power, and possibilities!!