Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
I love the way A.W. Tozer expounds on God’s Presence in The Pursuit of God. “God is here. Wherever we are, God is here. There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not. No point is nearer to God than any other point. No one is in mere distance any further from or any nearer to God than any other person.”
That is profound. It doesn’t matter whether I sense God’s presence, or how I feel, He is with me always!
We were created for relationship with God. He didn’t need us, he already had community in the “us” of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as Genesis 1:26 reveals:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So why were we created? What is our purpose? Jesus answered that question when asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” in Luke 10:27. “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I love God by spending time with Him, getting to know him through his Word and others, and spending time with Him in prayer and meditation. He also called me to love others. Just before Judas betrayed him, Jesus prayed for his followers, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23
Jesus called the disciples to be united in purpose and love for one another, and, if we believe in him, he also included us in his prayer to be one through the message carried by his first disciples and through the generations. He has given us the very glory that he received from God, that we would be one with Him and his Father. United in oneness.
We were designed for community and fellowship – with God and with each other. In Genesis 2:18, the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Adam already had fellowship with God, but God said it was “not good”. Adam needed the fellowship of a common community at his level, created in the image of God.
Is there anything better than a friend to lift your spirits? To come along side you to encourage you when you’re down? To point you to the truth when you are being led astray?
“The Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit – live as one God in three persons, without clamoring for attention and without competing for glory. God desires us to function in the same way. We are created in his image and are called to reflect the same kind of community that exists in the Trinity.” Dr. Bill Donahue, Ph.D.
The tradition of Thanksgiving brings us together with family and friends to celebrate our blessings, including our relationships. It’s also an excellent time to reflect on the ultimate blessing of relationship with God, our creator. Tozer relates God’s Presence in His creation to a painting. “As the primary colors are found in and necessary to the finished painting, such a truth is the divine immanence.” He goes on to explain, “God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of His presence. On our part, there must be surrender to the Spirit of God, for His work is to show us the Father and the Son. If we cooperate with Him in loving obedience, God will manifest Himself to us, and that manifestation will be the difference between a nominal Christian life and a life radiant with the light of his face.”
I experience the blessing of being part of a community of believers committed to unity as we offer each other loving encouragement, exercising our unique talents and gifts, strengthening each other and the church. I practice being aware of God’s Presence, knowing he is here whether I sense it or not.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”