Thursday, September 30, 2010

Looking Beyond the Manifestation of His Presence

Many people are attracted to the results of God at work. It might be His heart, His power, His majesty, His mercy and goodness or His glory, that attracts them, but what they see is the results of God’s presence. It might be in an individual, a group, a city or a nation but people are attracted to the results of God’s impact on His creation.

In the midst of, or at the time of His working, or the time of His visitation or outpouring people are attracted to the evidence or manifestation of His presence. These times of God’s interacting with people are recorded in the Bible and throughout history. Often they are the catalyst for a fresh move of God, a revival of His work among people, or even a great awakening which changes the course of a nation or history throughout the earth.

During these seasons or times it is easy for us to focus on the manifestation of His presence. The focus may be on His holiness or our lack thereof. The focus may be on His power or majesty, etc. In these seasons people attempt to understand and communicate God’s interaction with them in ways that fit their times or they point to a demonstration of His majesty or characteristic of God in the Bible to define it. This would include but not be limited to, the river that flows from under His throne, Rev 22:1, His glory as revealed in several encounters with God in scripture, His fire as seen on Pentecost and in several places in the Old Testament, and His holiness as revealed in Elijah’s encounter in the temple, Isa 6:1-7.

In the life of each person God desires more than our fixation on, or identification with a particular results or symbol of His having been present at some point in time interacting with us. Let me use the nature walk near my home as an example of what I mean. This is a man made drainage and nature area that originally was a natural drainage area with a creek which captured water runoff. The area has the trees and other vegetation from where the original creek was and the 50 yards away there is the man made one which was created when a housing development was built in the area. There is a great 8 to 9 foot concrete sidewalk to walk on with threes planted along it.

When you turn off from the sidewalk next to our street and enter the nature walk area you notice this large valley with rock formations adjacent to the beginning of the drainage area. During the spring and summer you can see the results of the creek’s life along its banks. There is a variety of vegetation and wildlife that are present close to the immediate area of the creek. Then throughout the valley surrounding the creek and running up to the fences of the housing area there is additional vegetation and wildlife.
During these seasons you cannot see the creek because of the vegetation, but its evidence is very clear in all that is growing around it. This is a very good picture of the results of God’s presence or the river of life having been present at any point in our lives or history itself.

It is God’s desire for us to move beyond looking for the manifestation or results of His presence elsewhere and for us to come into a close personal relationship or to use a biblical term ‘walk’ with Him. When we have a close personal walk with God we will have many times and seasons when the evidence of His presence in and through us will be made known to those around us. The presence of God can be seen in the lives of many people in the Bible, many of whom are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11.

The most complete picture of this relationship with God will be a composite of all of those interactions, but it is clearly demonstrated in Jesus the Messiah. Jesus demonstrates how we can both lay down our life and plans, along with the authority over our life, while being empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a life that pleases God.

The beginning of the Jesus model can be pictured in three passages of scripture. Philippians 2:5-11, John 17:1-5 and Matt 3:11-4:1 In these passages we see Jesus humbling Himself by laying down His authority and power and doing the Father’s will while being empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s will.

This is extremely important as it demonstrates to us that we can live a life that is pleasing to God empowered by His Spirit if we are willing to surrender our will and our ability to accomplish it to Him. Then we will be prepared to experience firsthand the outpouring of God’s presence and glory, while others will only see the manifestation or evidence of His glory.

This is the first in a series of articles on (Living a Life of passionate participation in God.)
Copy write © Wayne Newcomb 2010

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