How Do We Access It
“Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come in to you and feast with you, and you will feast with me” (Revelation 3:20 TPT).
There is nothing more extravagant, more marvelous and exuberant yet rich and powerful, than the manifest presence of God. To experience His presence is to experience Him. When He shows up, everything changes. All we have to do is open our hearts to Him.
In all of its chaos and destruction, God’s presence is entirely what the world needs to be healed and made better. His presence is what we need—and not merely to survive, but to live by on a daily basis. Simply accessible, however, it is fully dependent on our awareness and our intentionality in pursuit of more of Him and His unfathomable goodness.
First Things First
How do we access it? We cannot bypass the Cross in attempt to experience the Presence. In fact, we only have access to it through Jesus’ death (in our place) as man, His burial and His resurrection on that third day. We can’t forget the ultimate miracle that paves the way for us to enter sweet, deep and intimate relationship with the Father. This is the foundation upon which our ability to connect and be close with our Holy Maker is derived. We have access, but all thanks to Jesus.
Accepting Jesus, choosing to follow Him for the entirety of our lives, is only step one, however. “Jesus explained, ‘I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Father except through union with me. To know me is to know my Father too’” (John 14:6 TPT). The emphasis on “union” is of much importance.
Over the course of time, union with Jesus has been cheapened to a single (not typically heart-felt and sometimes forced) prayer. Though Romans 10:9-10 leads us through the first step to accessing the Presence, it does also imply follow-through (that should no longer be overlooked): “‘And what is God’s ‘living message’? It is the revelation of faith for salvation, which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth gives thanks to salvation” (TPT). Salvation means that if we believe and if we confess, we are saved and gain righteousness in Christ. But it doesn’t stop there.
What are we saved from? And more so to stay on topic, what are we saved to? What has been our downfall in Christianity is stopping short in making salvation our end-game. When in reality, it is truly the foundation for all life and all good things. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. . .” (James 1:17 ESV). The work that Jesus so graciously did for us believers and for all of humanity was so that we could be saved from death and then, from that miraculous place of salvation, be set free to fully live our lives with Him by our side. This is the blessing; living our day-to-day lives in union with Him is the well from which all good and perfect things can spring forth. And this is the path that leads us to accessing His presence, especially on a more regular basis.
Unification is an on-going process once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This is the muscle that has unfortunately gone limp in the realm of generic religion, leaving us in an immature state unprepared to welcome His presence in our midst. Unification is but another word for relationship. In receiving our salvation, we in turn have the honor and privilege of becoming one with our Heavenly Father, just as Jesus is. From the point of our salvation, we gain an opportunity to hunger for real connection with Him. What this looks like practically is us intentionally inviting Him into every single area of our lives. He desires to be part of everything we do, and even higher priority than that, He loves when we choose to connect to everything He does/wants to do in the world.
Staying Connected Is Key
Through safety and choosing to reside in the paralyzing confines of our comfort zones, we can easily become guilty of undermining and underestimating our connection with the Father through Jesus. Complacency is a deadly, silent killer. That being said, this is where our awareness of what we have access to (the Presence) becomes vitally important. When we know and understand what we’re privileged to as heirs to the throne, it releases us to pursue it. We can’t seek after what we don’t know exists. And the way we discover the power of His presence in our midst is through building and growing our relationship with Jesus. We have to take the time to get to know Him; it is not a one-way relationship (and never has it been the case).
Day by day, if we take the time to invest in our connection with Jesus, we create the strongest bonds that no outsider can destroy. This is the heart of the Father and the basis for the creation of humanity. He made us because He desires for us to know Him. He shaped us and breathed life into us so that we could live in beautiful union with Him and therefore experience the vastness of His presence that constantly changes us for the better. Accessing His presence—it was all part of His plan since the beginning.
Connection and relationship is non-negotiable when pursuing the Presence in hopes of accessing it. We can’t unplug from God or remain distracted in the busyness of life if we expect to experience more of Him, let alone expect to radically experience Him on a daily basis. The level of His presence that we get to experience is intertwined with the level of our hunger for it. We have to want more of Him to get more of Him. Our prayers last week or even yesterday may have been strong, but we can’t expect it to carry over into all of our todays. We have to keep pursuing Him. It’s vital, if we desire closeness, for us to live our lives hand-in-hand withHim. But we can’t forget that this dance of pursuit is and always will be initiated by Him. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV); therefore, we pursue because he first pursues us.
A Healthy Craving
Beautiful relationship is a result of both parties engaging and investing themselves. The most stand-out, intimate ones are full of His presence because there’s not a moment, even in trial and error, that connection is turned off. The importance of diving deeper cannot be stressed enough. If we stop giving our time and energy in the things of God, we eventually get stagnant and become useless in the Kingdom.
The more that we inch further and let ourselves be overcome by the weight of God’s unconditional love, the more that we realize there’s no other way to live. Our hunger for the Presence is dependent upon our constant tasting of it. When we taste, our eyes are opened to see His goodness over and over again. When we keep tasting, we develop a healthy craving—the kind of hunger that drives us to keep pursuing Him with all our might. We experience this when we surrender daily and let His goodness overwhelm us time after time. It’s not meant to be a one-time experience. And when we feed into it and let Him fill us up, nothing else compares to what He has to offer. At that point, nothing else can satisfy us.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
When we’re committed to feasting on His goodness, when we’ve unlocked the level of relationship it takes to live in the Presence, we have another solid opportunity before us. Truly, getting to know and experience the presence of God is a gift that we could not buy or access under our own steam. Once we find ourselves hosting Him and His presence, our further assignment rises to the surface. What we learn to experience is not solely for the betterment of our lives, but it is meant to be shared with the people around us. It’s never only about us.
Through the greatest gift of salvation and union and intimate relationship, our access to the Presence is the next best gift we’re granted. Once we learn this, let it sink in where we start living it out for ourselves, it’s almost a rite of passage where we become positioned to give away the treasure that we’ve so graciously received.
Shine, It’s Part Of The Package
When Moses came down from soaking in God’s presence on Mount Sinai, he caused a scene that he wasn’t even aware of. People were afraid to go near him when they first saw him simply because they had never seen anyone’s face radiate with glory until then. He spent so much uninterrupted time with the Father that his heavenly encounter was evident to everyone around him.
This is what we should be asking for—more and more of God’s presence and glory to be revealed to us, in us. It is in His presence that we become changed. A part of life (a healthy one) is to continually cultivate growth. When we can get lost in the abundance of our relationship with Him, we can help but to shine. It’s up to God the extent He wants to reveal Himself to us and to others around us, but it’s up to us how deep we want to connect and how great of an example we want to be for others to follow.
Reading about Moses’ encounter makes me hunger for encounters of my own. In the same way, if we let God continually change us and grow us through the power of His presence, people around us have a good opportunity to authentically taste and see that He’s as good as we know and believe. Our intimacy may be personal in our own walks with the Lord, but it is part of our mandate to shine His light for all to see. Matthew 5:14 encourages us to do so, “Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance. . .” (TPT). We can’t be stingy with what we’ve been given.
The Presence, like God Himself, is too good for us to fully comprehend. So long as we keep pursuing and deepening our intimacy with the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, we’ll always have the gift of unwrapping and experiencing “the more” that’s always in store for us. Ever since the Cross and the highest price Jesus paid for our freedom, our one job, our privilege rather, has been to posture ourselves to receive what He has to offer. We have the better end of the deal and that in itself should thrust us forward to never stop hungering with the healthy craving that attracts the unfathomable presence of God.