Abiding in God’s Presence
I often mention that reading God’s Word, the Bible, is essential to our spirits’ lives. But what makes all the difference is how we read. Most people read the Bible like they would another book; a text book, a historical book, or a guide for good living and miss the whole point.
God tells us He is our husband, so that is how we are supposed to relate to Him. He desires not that we know about Him, but that we intimately know Him. To talk to Him like a spouse, to spend time with Him one-on-one on a regular basis, to listen to His words, and to put our focus on Him. He created the Bible to foster this intimacy with us.
For years, I read the Bible like a book. I believed they were His words, but I didn’t understand what I want to share with you today – that it is about a fostering a relationship not reading a book. Because of my lack of understanding, I couldn’t stay focused or disciplined in my reading. It would often be dry, I wouldn’t get much out of it, most of it didn’t seem to relate to me and parts were boring and confusing. So, I rarely read, read in spurts, and preferred listening to someone else talk about Him instead of going to Him. I knew I should read, but just couldn’t seem to fly solo.
After hitting yet another low point in my life, I made a commitment to read a chapter a day regardless of how I felt (that was key to getting started). After that commitment, God showed me how I was approaching it wrong in three main ways; my motive, our relationship and His role. From then on everything changed; I mean everything – my entire existence because I started to abide in His presence.
- My motive. Every time I sat down to read, it had always been about me; what I got out of it, if I felt encouraged, inspired, connected to God, if He answered my questions and prayers to be healed, restored, and feel His presence.
God told me – what if you treated your husband that way? What if it was always about you? What kind of intimacy would you have? Intimacy takes two. Your motive when you come to My Word should be to learn about Me, to get to know Me. That fosters intimacy. Stop making it about you. Make it about Me and I will take care of you.
He started to reveal Himself to me in ways I had never known despite the years I spent in church and Bible studies.
- Our relationship. I use to approach reading the Bible like reading a book, after all it is a book, right?
God told me – You say you love Me, but you don’t spend time with me like you love Me. I am no longer a flesh man, the flesh is gone. I am Spirit and that is how you are to know Me. 2 Corin. 5: 16 My Spirit is in the Bible like it was in the flesh man, Jesus. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14 If Jesus, the flesh body, was here what would you do? Would you spend time with Him? Would you want to talk to Him one-on-one? He is here.
I was no longer sitting down to read a guide for good living, I was sitting down with my God and talking with Him, listening to Him, hearing His heart, will, and desires. I was cultivating a relationship.
- His role. I had depended on others to teach me about God. I thought I couldn’t glean what they could from the Word, so I didn’t. I figured it wasn’t my gift. It was easier listening to others’ words, ideas, and interpretations than weeding through all those chapters by myself. I thought it was one in the same.
God told me – What if you always went to your husband’s friends and family to learn about him? They may repeat things he said, talk about things he had done, but how well would you know him? What kind of intimacy would you have with him? This is how you are acting toward Me when you rely on others to teach you about Me. I gave you My Spirit so you can understand all I have to tell you. 1 John 2:27, Hebrews 5:12 Teachers are to teach others to teach themselves, not spoon-feed them. 2 Timothy 2:24 I want you to come directly to Me because that requires a seeking heart, trust and dependency on Me and those things foster the depth of intimacy I desire with you. I will teach you about Me, trust Me. If you continue to rely on others there is only so close we can be.
My mind being renewed in these three ways altered my time with God. My relationship with Him started to become what I always desired thus true life followed. I won’t mislead you, knowing Him takes time, years, just like it does in other relationships. It was years of spending time before I felt true intimacy with Him, where I felt I was abiding in His presence. But God gave us His Word and His Spirit so we could know Him, be one with Him in will, purpose, and desire and abide in true love and truth. If we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.