The Psalms talk about coming into God’s presence. I note that they talk of us ‘entering’ God’s presence, as if it is a conscious and deliberate act.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
“Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him in song.” Psalm 95:2
Many spiritual activities are intentional, requiring us to take time and effort to practice them. In modern western culture we are not so good at disciplined activities, but like to have things served up to us easily. That’s how we get our entertainment and so we might easily want God to do all the work of connecting us with Him.
God has done amazing things for us. However, our response to Him is vitally important. While Christ died for the sins of all the world, only those who put their faith in Christ will receive benefit from His sacrifice. We must respond in faith and receive Christ into our life. See the dual acts of believing and receiving in what the Apostle John recorded.
“As many as received him (Christ), to them he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12
Similarly there are many aspects of our spiritual life that will be on hold until and unless we intentionally activate our participation.
You can’t be “led by the Spirit” if you refuse to be led at all. You can’t hear God’s voice if you won’t listen. You can’t enjoy God’s peace if you continue to be anxious. And you can’t enter into God’s presence if you continue to run away from Him, or stay too busy to give God any of your time or thought.
The Bible talks of ‘waiting on God’, once again as a deliberate act.
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he will strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“Wait on the Lord and keep His way, and He will raise you up to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.” Psalm 37:34
The Bible tells us to ‘be still’ as we encounter God.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
“Be silent before the Lord, all people, for He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.” Zechariah 2:13
We are able to hear God, pray and find God’s help in the most tumultuous of times. God is not saying that if you are in a frantic situation there is no hope. What is being asked of us is to be intentional and worshipful in our approach to God.
We are to choose to enter into God’s presence. We need to be intentional, instead of distracted.
My wife tells of a time when she had to drive for an hour or so on a road she did not enjoy travelling. She decided early in the trip to begin praising God as she drove. After a few minutes of thanking and praising God she began to feel joy. Initially it was a deliberate act of worship, but soon it became a delight. In what seemed little time she arrived at her destination, having enjoyed the trip that she was dreading.
Many of us have had occasions when we were prompted to pray didn’t feel ‘in the mood’. However once we began to approach God we found we were blessed by the encounter.
Maybe a good modern metaphor is that of opening a program on your computer or an app on your phone. or even changing channel on a television or radio. The capacity to use that program or app is always with you but it takes intentional effort to decide to switch attention from whatever else you were focused on.
You have a loving Heavenly Father Who wishes to bless you and meet with you. All the things He promised you are yours for the asking and the taking, but if you are off doing something else you will miss what is yours.
Take time right now, and make a set time each day and enter into God’s presence. Like the psalmist you can do that with ‘thanksgiving’ and ‘praise’. Begin to talk with Your Heavenly Father and give Him your attention and the glory He is due.
As you do you will find that God is keen to meet with you and to speak with you, challenge you, encourage you and pour more of His grace onto you.
May you happily develop the habit of entering God’s Presence Intentionally.