“I won’t go back, I can’t go back, to the way it used to be before your presence came and changed me.”
As I reflect on these lyrics to a fairly well-known Gospel song by William McDowell, I can’t help but remember what I thought it meant years ago. I thought that God’s presence was just a feeling. But now I have gotten revelation that it is far more than a feeling.
Feelings are fleeting, God is not. God’s presence is always available, but sometimes our sin and what we want to do don’t allow us to realize that He is there. When we say we sense God’s presence it’s a way to say His presence is more tangible, spiritually and even physically. Even when you may not think His presence is tangible, He is there. God’s presence is an assurance that He is with you, has been with you, and longs to always be with you.
What you feel doesn’t have to and shouldn’t dictate who you are, faith should! So, even when you don’t feel that God is with you, know that His word and presence shall stand. It takes faith to know and believe that God will never leave you. In times of desolation remember that God is omnipresent because it is His nature to be so. We are literally unable to hide from Him or be at a distance from Him. But our perceptions can often limit what we allow God access to.
Do you remember what you were like before you first experienced God’s presence?
I remember, and I can’t help but thank God that He transformed me from how I was then to how I am now! Experiencing His presence changed me for good in the best way ever, but I must choose not to go back- year after year, season after season, month after month, week after week, day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute, moment after moment, and second after second. I must choose to stay in His presence to keep moving away from who I once was.
“Go now and leave your life of sin.”John 8:11b NIV
When the woman in this passage of scripture was left in God’s presence with Jesus, her life was transformed. Everyday, God bids us to come into His presence so we can stay away from our life of sin.
Just as Jesus empowered and encouraged the woman caught in adultery, I encourage you to leave your life of sin! He only calls us to do what we have the capability to do, so with His help you can do it. But you have to become uncomfortable with it (sin) to leave it!
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
The only way out of any temptation, testing, suffering, or sin is relying on God’s grace and allowing His power, which is available to us through His presence, to rest on us.
7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV
Choose to acknowledge His presence, not go back to how you were before you encountered His presence, and rely on Him to keep you away from sin and the weight of sin today!