Have you listened to the prayers of a child? When praying for someone struggling, they recognize God already knows the problem and how best to fix it. So, their prayer is commonly a simple one: “Lord, be with….”
It’s a beautiful prayer. When God is with us, we have all we need. It is a wonderful comfort to know God is not far off and distant. While our sins separated us at one time, Jesus has removed that barrier, and through faith in him, we are now reconciled to God. Through your faith relationship, you are assured of God’s presence.
So, what does it mean to have God’s presence?
A Father’s Love
Understanding God’s presence begins with an appreciation for your Heavenly Father. He doesn’t wait to determine his response based on our obedience. No, from Eden’s Fall, he set in motion a rescue plan (Genesis 3:15). At the moment we deserved his wrath, he shared grace.
This rescue plan was based entirely on God’s saving work, not on us. It is a unilateral covenant. He knew we couldn’t fix the problem of sin, so he did. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). This gives us insight into the Father’s heart. He doesn’t love us because of who we are or what we do. He loves us because of who he is.
Through faith, we are adopted into God’s family. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). As a dearly loved child of God, you can turn to your Father with all of your needs. He promises to provide and protect. You never have to fear when you know your Heavenly Father is near.
The Son’s Saving Role
Jesus’ atonement doesn’t just make forgiveness possible based on our efforts. His nail-scarred hands make forgiveness sure. Our standing with God is dependent entirely on Jesus’ saving work as our substitute. Through Jesus, we now have a wholly new identity before God.
Consider the lengths of Jesus’ saving love in action for us. Though God from all eternity (John 1:1–2), he took on human flesh to live the perfect life we couldn’t. He came as Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Then he suffered the punishment we deserved. His sacrifice provided peace between God and us.
Now, from heaven, Jesus’ work continues. He is preparing a place for us (John 14:2–3). He serves as our advocate (1 John 2:1–2). He is ruling over all things in your best interest (Ephesians 1:20–23). He will return and bring us safely to live with God forever (2 Timothy 4:18).
Jesus knows the struggles we face because he’s been there. But, more importantly, he stands ready to help us in our every need. What a comfort it is to know he is with us: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 29:20).
The Spirit’s Power
The Father created a rescue plan. The Son fulfilled it. The Spirit (or Holy Ghost) now connects you to it. He shatters the darkness of unbelief with the gift of faith in Jesus. What a comfort to know the Spirit’s companionship and gifts are not based on our performance but on Jesus’ saving work for us.
Some look for the Spirit’s presence in their emotions. This is often an unreliable and even corrupted source (Jeremiah 17:9). The best way to listen to the Spirit is through God’s promises on the pages of the Bible. There the Spirit assures us we are forgiven and works peace in our hearts.
Yet, the Spirit’s gifts don’t stop there. The Spirit dwells within the hearts of believers. “Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Spirit empowers believers to live a life of thanks to God, and live our purpose (Ephesians 2:10). He provides us with the fruit of the Spirit.
God Is With Us
The more we understand who God is and what he has done for us, the more we are assured of his presence. The Father’s love provided a rescue plan so we might live eternally with him. The Son showed God’s love in action by crossing the chasm and bridging the divide. The Spirit made us alive through faith and now dwells within us.
The faith of a little child praying “God be with…” understands that when we have God’s presence, we have all that we need. So rejoice that you live in God’s presence now and forever!
“If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:8–10)
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