Guilty of Over Sensationalising God’s Presence
I recently heard this phrase ‘Over Sensationalising God’s Presence’ in a comment made by Pastor Craig Groeschel in a sermon he preached at Life Church. I have to accept and agree that I am also guilty of doing this in my own life and ministry. Many of us have like to depend on feeling goosebumps to know that God is around and that He is about to do or say something. In doing so, we clearly miss those huge portions of our life where we feel, see or hear nothing, and yet God wants to be very much a part of our lives in those seasons, and would love for us to live in dependence on Him at every point of the day.
If you are someone who can feel God’s presence in a physical and tangible way all the time, that’s awesome. Yet, God expects us to live above and beyond the feeling and experiences in the physical realm. He wants us to live by the dictates and the drive of the spiritual realm. The Bible says; “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) So often we are anything but that. We are so easily caught up in the feelings and experiences that there is no emphasis on living and walking by faith.
I am not undervaluing the need for experiencing and being sensitive to God’s physical and tangible presence. I am just talking about the importance of faith in your everyday walk and life. The bible says; “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) God will reward those who sincerely seek Him in faith, not through feelings.
If you are caught in the rut of depending on feeling God’s presence over believing in His presence, here are a few steps to help you work and improve your faith quotient. Please remember that your feelings can be manipulated or dependent on external factors, yet faith is a stable foundation in building your relationship with God upon.
1. Appreciate the ‘non-goosebumps’ times when God is still around. A major part of our day is spent in the regular chores and routines of everyday life. How often do we recognise that God is around even in those moments, and sometimes through entire seasons of craziness. We wait for the feeling of God’s presence so we can pray and so that we can become spiritual in our talk and walk, yet the fact of the matter is that God is around even when you are cooking all by yourself in your kitchen, and He is around when you are lazying away watching Netflix. You may not feel it, but the truth is that He is there with you right now! Take a moment to just appreciate Him and thank Him for being with you even to the end of time! (Matthew 28:20)
2. Believe every word the Bible says about God being with you. That’s right! What does the Bible say about God’s presence being with you? “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” (Psalms 139:7) Look up all the comforting and assuring verses in the Bible that talks of His presence. Are any of them dependent on how you feel and what you are going through? Or are they promises of God that can be blindly believed upon? What can you do to increase your faith in what God’s word says? How can you override your feelings with what God’s word says and promises about His presence being with you? The truth about His presence will set you free from every lie the enemy has told us over the ages, and that will help us walk with God better and deeper!
3. Make it a practice to honour the presence of God even when it is not tangible. This is specially when you are in church or in a prayer meeting. I have heard people say, “Today, I felt God’s presence so I was able to worship and pray.” So what happens on those days or times when you don’t feel or experience the presence of God? Do you fail to honour the fact that God is present every time two or three people gather in the name of Jesus? (Matthew 18:20) There’s a world of difference when we continue to honour God even when we cant see, sense or experience it tangibly. That’s where faith comes into play. May God smile at your faith every single time you gather in His presence, irrespective of how dry or soaked it feels!
4. Respond to the gentle nudges and quiet whispers of the Holy Spirit. A key aspect about developing and growing in being sensitive to God’s presence without actually over sensationalising it, is to listen in closely and constantly obey the small things that God is speaking into your spirit. We miss out on God’s best for our lives because we are always looking for a prophet to announce our name on the microphone and tell us exactly what God wants us to do or not to do. If only we can learn to submit and surrender to God in the not-so-glamorous times of God speaking to us, will we learn to depend wholeheartedly on Him, rather than the goosebumps we experience in a service, with all the well meaning folks around us. Our walk with God has to overflow into the everyday mundaneness of life and making it an adventurous journey.
5. Remain persistent till your faith yields fruit. If you have already been doing all the above, you are in a good place. All that you need to do now is to make sure that you do not give up. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) If your greatest desire is to experience God physically and tangibly, make no doubt, you will experience it! Just be consistent in asking, seeking and knocking for the same without giving up. Just don’t make experiencing God physically and feeling His tangible presence the basis for pursuing or not pursuing God, for praying or not praying, for worshipping or not worshipping.
We hope this makes sense in your spirit. In case you still have doubts and questions, feel free to engage in a conversation with us on Facebook where this post gets shared.
Remember: The best proof of God’s presence with you, is the breath in your nostrils! As long as you breathe, as long as time ticks, he is around you, with you, for you and in you! Trust His promises!