“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple.” — Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
“But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:42 (NKJV)
King David and Mary of Bethany knew the joy of being in His presence. Caught up in the pursuit of more of Him, we’ll also be blessed by the fullness of His grace. When we abide in His presence, the wells of our souls are refreshed and refueled, being refilled with Living Water.
Jesus invites us: “Come to me …” (Matthew 11:28). He is always waiting in the “personal chapels of our hearts” (Brother Lawrence), having opened the way for us to abide in Him. As the lover of our souls, Jesus always initiates our drawing closer to Him, but it’s our choice.
The busier we are, the more we need to abide. If we cultivate a holy habit of being aware of His presence, He’ll set our hearts aglow with the fire of His holy love and fill us with unspeakable joy. When we choose to enjoy His presence, our faith grows. Then, when the storms of life come, His indwelling presence supplies the strength we need to withstand them.
When we enjoy “unbroken abiding” with Jesus, He changes us from the inside out, increases our discernment and godly wisdom, and helps us to recognize His still, small voice. As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). Giving Him our best First 20 daily deepens the quality of our devotion. Over time, we’re able to move from a First 20 to an all-day attentiveness to His presence.
A breakthrough of sensing God’s presence arrived as I began to understand the character of God more fully. Knowing God as “Elohim,” the Creator and Sustainer of life, developed into knowing Jesus as the more personal, ever-present, loving and gracious “Yahweh,” the LORD. My living God became the lover of my soul. “Immanuel,” God with us, permeated me with an inner peacefulness and nourished me with deep joy. As my understanding developed of who God is, my prayer life also grew. Although my commitment was minimal in the beginning, prayer now has become my way of life. With my mind fixed on Jesus in continuous communion, praying without ceasing is a way of being aware of His presence.
In “The Pursuit of God,” A.W. Tozer described the presence of God. On the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies under the shadow of the cherubims’ spread wings was where God promised to meet His people (Exodus 25:22). The fire that glowed beneath the wings of the cherubim was called “Shekinah,” the Presence, throughout the years of Israel’s glory. Then the old way was superseded by the new, when His Presence came at Pentecost as a fiery flame and rested on the disciples.
The invitation is offered to enter into His Holy Presence. So, press into abiding. The Lord promises that “he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). For in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
Our God hears,