I read the Bible, I read books, I am inspired by music too.
But most of all, I seek His presence
Yet push him away, I do.
That’s a little ditty that describes my heart versus my behaviour.
If I could spend all my time with the Father, I feel sure I would. And yet, when time and stillness are available,
I realise I have yearning but also hesitation. I do seek Him, but I don’t always give all my attention.
Why do I hesitate? He comes gently, carefully, peacefully. And yet, I am afraid, even quivering a little as He draws me to His presence.
I am discovering, as I meditate on scripture and am inspired by others who share their experiences*, that although I have been encompassed by His presence in the past, I am still learning about Him and know Him so little.
“I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23) comes to mind and I wonder, does he think that of me?
I look up the scripture in its entirety, “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practise lawlessness.”
The Word gives me solace.
In our walk with Jesus
There is total surrender when we commit our lives to Jesus. We say the words but to what degree do we practise “total surrender”?
We are imperfect, made perfect in Jesus’ sacrifice for us, so this isn’t to lay a guilt trip on anyone, and in fact I’m sharing in the way that I am, personalising this, because I want readers to have the sense that it’s okay not to be perfect, even though we are called and are responsible to give our all.
We can rest assured his work is finished and his salvation sure. And yet, I don’t want to take this for granted.
The days are closing in
There seems to be endless speculation on the timing of Jesus’ return. Some say we will first be raptured, others say we go through the tribulation just like everybody else, as witnesses to the reality and goodness of GOD. What seems to be agreed is that these are unprecedented times and as the world and its systems and human beings spiral out of control, we who love Jesus hope there will be an end to the way things are. So whatever an individual believer’s End Times theology, I think most readers will be on the same page: the world is in bad shape, we are called to witness goodness, and must not take that call for granted; time is short!
And in our remaining short time, we are to mature into His likeness and to witness to others His goodness and truth. I believe we can no longer do this without the manifest presence of GOD: His Holy Spirit working in and through us, not any longer.
For centuries, it seemed the gifts and callings for the Holy Spirit were dormant. There may have been pockets of outpourings and a peculiar few anointed, but by-and-large the traditional denominations operated outside of the manifestations of the Spirit until Azusa Street (1906-1915) in California and the birth of the Pentecostal movement.
Now now now now, we need the Holy Spirit and we need Him fully. True surrender, as I understand it, is to allow Him to fill us to the brim and to operate in His call. The anointing comes to us for ministry and His presence fills us. We need the Spirit to operate in signs and wonders, to build the body of Believers and to surprise and delight others to discover GOD for themselves.
The Cost of Intimacy
But it does cost. I am learning that to ask the Holy Spirit to fill me requires courage and patience to wait for Him. It isn’t just allowing Him to fill me when His circumstances permit, but to ask for Him to dwell in me always, then yielding when He does, seeking to live in His presence always, placing the illusion of control at His feet.
It isn’t romantic. It isn’t fleeting. It’s always. And for an independent person like me, that’s hard.
But without Him, am I even on the narrow road? Without willing to surrender fully, am I truly available? Am I truly committed? Taken literally, if I have committed to give Him my all, then what does that look like? And am I doing all I can to live for Him, for my Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith?
What is our need
I write this today out of compulsion to yield and to encourage others to yield to Him. GOD will not give us a serpent or a stone when we ask for bread. Jesus is the bread of life. But he returned to the Father in order to send to us the Holy Spirit: comforter, presence and power of GOD, not only for salvation but for anointing as well, to live as Jesus did whilst on the earth, and to be as Jesus was whilst on the earth. I certainly cannot fulfil this call in my own strength. I need His Spirit, not only to dwell within me but to be ignited within me, leading me, transforming me, inspiring me to “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Will we surrender?
Taking everything into account: the cost of surrender and the reward of His presence, can we do anything else?
As David the shepherd wrote long, long ago, “He restores my soul;… He leads me in paths of righteousness… For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me… You anoint my head with oil [of the Holy Spirit]… Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (excerpts from Psalm 23)
Oh Father, lead me into Your way everlasting,
* Most recently, I’m in the process of reading Terry MacAlmon’s 30 Seconds in His Presence… will change your life forever! as shared with me by a dear sister and prayer partner. Graham Cooke is also someone whom I also find inspiring — urging us to draw closer to Our LORD Yehovah GOD, Creator of this whole entire spectacular universe.