I will yield the reward of intimacy with my King to the extent in which I choose to find Him.
It is the complacency of man that substitutes the presence of God for what we think we already know. With many putting a voice to our own gratifications at the cost of His presence, we create a culture based not on what God is doing or saying, but what we presume or assume Him to be doing.
I have been a victim of this, but I long to never make any assumption based on my human knowledge. I long to never make any decision outside of His presence. I have no chance or hope if I think I can make a difference without hearing the voice of the Father.
We need to create presence based lifestyles. ‘Presence’ in the Greek means to ‘actually arrive’. Many of us are still stood at arms length from Him, many unsure of how to draw close, or unwilling to. He wants us to draw near, to actually arrive, to abide in Him (John 15:4) and stop calling ‘presence’ the reading of books, the singing of songs and the talking about Him, and instead come to Him and ask Him what He’s saying. He wants us to pray WITH Him, not just to Him. Jesus said ‘My sheep will hear MY voice’ (John 10:27). We have a God who longs to speak to us in the secret place, actually speak to us, a God who has answers to the questions we never ask.
We need a presence based lifestyle where our need for Him is more pressing than our need to eat, drink and sleep. Where church decisions aren’t based on a majority vote, or a law, but the current voice of God. The day the church learns to hear His voice from the secret place will be the day where divine strategy floods the church. It will be the day where millions will step into the fullness of what He had from the start, where in knowing more of the nature of God, slander, gossip, time wasting, ceases, where pornography, gambling, and adultery become non-existent in the church as the church become like who they behold. AND, it will be the day when the billions outside the church get to feel the love of the Father, through the hands of those who have sought Him in the secret place.
If I lack joy, I must get into His presence, if I am not my best, I must back to his presence. Meetings, dreaming, talking issues through, planning, pouring into others, leading, are all so futile if I am not full of the joy of the Lord. Get full of the joy of the Lord, then go and do these things. Without presence these things are hard, with the presence these things are easy. Our perspective changes when we enter His presence.
Just a few days before I left to come home to the UK, I woke up one morning with a sadness that manifested itself as a hopelessness. It is a continual tactic of Satan over here to plague God’s children with the belief that what they are doing is worthless. Sitting at His feet, I found a new perspective and I was soon in the marketplace with Meg. On returning home we passed a man, flat to the ground pulling himself along by his arms, his legs bound up and resting on a small crate with wheels pushing a money pot before him, head bowed. Meg soon stopped and kneeled down to his level, and right there, sat on the scorching hot ground in the main passageway of tourists and locals, we got to lift his head and sing songs over him as children joined and sat with us, and others asked what we were doing.
That same evening, we had our Friday night bar ministry, and there was a joy accessed that night that I know shook the very darkness of Cambodia. We sat in the ice cream shop before hand, laughing in the face of hopelessness and as we walked out onto the street we first met a lady with her three children all in need of food. More than this however, they needed to see love and feel love, and while the others spoke with the mum, I got to play with the little delights who surrounded me and hear raucous laughter break forth from them as I tossed them into the air, ran circles around them and tickled them. Onlookers again gathered round, many asking why we were doing what we were doing.
We soon left and got to buy food for the hungry, pray for the blind to see and continually catch those around us watching us. Why? Because we were saturated in presence that night, why? because I actively chose to possess joy? Why, because we are Jesus to a lost world.
We are fools to believe we can ride on a presence that was cultivated yesterday or the day before. There is a King longing to commune with the children who out of ignorance fail to come. There is a King teaching a church that nothing can be done outside of Him. Just like those who departed from the glory cloud and the miracles ceased, why would be so ignorant to believe we can do anything outside of Him.
If we lack anything but joy, we need a new perspective and we must fight for His presence. Many wonder why they never feel the fullness of joy, maybe its because we don’t get close enough to Him to experience it. (Psalm 16:11) I pray that I, that we, always arrive into His presence. Jesus didn’t die for us to live a half hearted, weary life, He died for us to thrive.