Monday, March 17, 2014

Longing To Sense The Presence Of Jesus

"I want to sense the presence of Jesus." It is a desire I hear expressed often. It is a desire I have expressed often. Jesus promised us that he will always be with us. He sent the Holy Spirit to fulfill that promise. There is no doubt that he is with us and we operate in this truth, in faith, but it would be nice to actually experience that presence. Yet, we are not willing to take the sacrificial steps necessary to make this a daily reality in our lives.

Imagine listening to loud music non-stop ten hours a day for a couple of years. You are going to cause some damage. Our hearing is pretty sensitive. Normally we detect the smallest whispers but after such an abuse of our hearing we are going to damage the sensitivity. The whispers will still be there but we won't be able to hear them.

Our sense of taste is a fantastic instrument. We can detect even the slightest subtleties in flavour. But when we load our diet with sugars and hot spices we are abusing our taste buds and overloading our sense of taste. Soon most foods taste bland without adding things like salt, butter and various spices. Gone is our ability to enjoy the fantastic flavour of a garden fresh tomato. Spirituality works in the same manner.

The Western society is a thrill seeking society. Pleasure is the single greatest driving force in our life. Bigger is better in everything. Bigger TV's, bigger stories, bigger noise, bigger food, bigger thrills. At one point murder was an implied thing on television. Now we want to see every gory detail. It used to be that sexual immorality was never displayed but only implied. Now we are not satisfied unless we see all the details of what those people are doing in bed. Evil was only ever implied; now we want to see if personified. All of our sensitivities are being overwhelmed and dulled. This is not even saying anything of what pornography is doing to relationships.

Our spirit yearns for fellowship with our Lord but we have lost all sensitivity and have lost the way to an intimate relationship. We go through the motions. We do what is expected. We attend church, participate in worship, try to read our Bible, try to be kind to others, but it just doesn't seem to work for us. The reason it doesn't work is because we are too dull in our spirit to detect his quiet whisper or sense his delicate touch or see his gentle leading. Our ears are too full of noise, our eyes to full of images, our mind too full of deceit, and our heart too full of sin. the psalmist wrote:

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.

A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will not know wickedness. (Psalm 101:3-4)

The intimate relationship we want with Jesus requires some decisions on our part. As long as we are overwhelming our spiritual senses with wickedness we will fail in our relationship. We don't have to participate physically with these things but allowing the images, the ideas, the emotions of it to fill us all the time makes it impossible for us to enjoy the rich fellowship of Jesus. We have to make the decision to set nothing wicked before our eyes. We have to allow the Spirit to develop in us an allergic reaction, where we will abhor the things that abhor our God. This is what Jesus taught on the matter:

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)

Jesus desires intimacy with you today and every day. He wants to direct your paths and lend you strength all the time. He wants to see you succeed. The question is: What do you want? And how bad do you want it? Bad enough to make the decision and to take the action to set nothing wicked before your eyes? What is the greatest desire in you because that is what your heart, and then your actions, will follow? You can't have two masters.

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