Yesterday, the closing lecturer at my Bible study summed up our group study on the presence of God by telling of the time when he was leaving his home in South Africa and coming to the United States for college. He was scared. He asked some people to pray that God would be with him. They prayed Hebrews 13:5 over him and he has clung to that verse ever since:
“[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (emphasis mine)
This is one of my favorites, too. It comforts me knowing that God is right with me wherever I am. But there are greater implications than His just being there. He is there for a reason and that reason is to reign. We often forget the purpose of God’s presence in our lives. The Holy Spirit lives within us, but we are warned not to quench or grieve Him. Quenching the Holy Spirit means that we are putting out His fire to fuel our thoughts, speech and actions, and grieving the Holy Spirit is extremely saddening Him because we quenched Him. When we quench and ultimately grieve Him, we have not allowed Him to reign and are essentially denying His presence in our lives.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13-NKJV). Yes, we can, but we, first, must acknowledge His presence; second, yield to His presence, allowing Him to reign; and, third, watch Him operate in us to do the impossible of consistently loving others. We need God to help us consistently love others. Folks can wear on our nerves; they exasperate and frustrate us and we just want to stop loving them, at least for a little while. I haven’t seen anywhere in the Bible where we are told to take a break from loving others, but our flesh screams this to us. Someone who keeps challenging our love with thoughtlessness, selfishness and downright meanness doesn’t deserve our love, we say. We want to (and sometimes do) tell them where they can go and how they can go there. Those of us who are less obvious in moments of carnality would just begin ignoring the person, not taking their calls and, while in their presence, simply speaking and politely smiling or just walking away. But when God’s presence manifests in your speech and actions then that signifies that He reigns in your life (Romans 6:12-18).
As believers in Jesus Christ we should want God to reign in our lives so that burden of leadership is not on us. Jesus’ reign in our lives also allows others to see what a mighty God we serve. If we allow Jesus to reign through how we love others—one of the greatest commandments—I have no doubt that we would see an increase in Christian conversions, not just those coming into the faith but also those whose views have changed positively toward Christianity (John 13:34-35). We must love the way God directs and can do so when we allow His presence to fully manifest in our lives. Jesus reigning in our lives enables us to radically love others just as we should.
Take a Risk Challenge: Obey God when He tells you to love someone this week so God’s presence will clearly manifest in your life and indicate that Jesus reigns in your life.
My One Thousand Gifts List
Wearing shorts in October
Seeing my nieces and nephew
Watermelon in October
80 degrees in a Michigan October
My Natural Health Tour
Satisfied Natural Health Tour customers
The Lord’s chastening
An apology letter and full confession to a friend
Apple picking at a friend’s home
Apple products from picked apples (cider, juice and apple cheesecake)
A kind and supportive husband
My God who speaks clearly to me
Bible study revelation about God’s presence=God’s reigning
A new hairstyle