How much do you really want the presence of God? There is a simple way to measure your true desire.
There is a difference between God’s omnipresence (everywhere all the time, Psalm 139:7-12), His cultivated presence (“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” James 4:8), and His manifest presence (the undeniable, visible, clearly seen presence of God).
The great works of revival and spiritual awakening that history records are the latter. “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,” Isaiah said as he proclaimed what all of us desire (Isaiah 64:1 NASB).
God manifests Himself where He chooses, but there is a vital part we play in this. We can, in obedience to the Lord, create an environment where God is pleased to dwell.
King David knew this, and Psalm 101 is an expression of what he was doing to invite God’s presence:
I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
Although Christ comes to live in believers and will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), we all know that there are greater and lesser times of intimacy. There are seasons when we sense the nearness of God in extraordinary ways and those when God seems distant.
Greater intimacy should and can be the normal experience for our lives. But how can this be cultivated?
I Will Sing
Praise uniquely invites God. It is the highest form of trust to rejoice and give thanks in all things. It acknowledges that, no matter how the circumstances appear, we believe in the One who loves us and gave His life for us. Do you want God’s presence? Give thanks and sing!
I Will Give Heed to the Blameless Way
This means to pay attention, to acknowledge, to turn our mind in God’s direction, away from the world’s. This is a deliberate, daily exercise. If we are not careful, we can give our attention to that which is sinful and displeasing to the Lord. Why would He dwell where He is not even acknowledged or honored?
I Will Walk Within My House in the Integrity of My Heart
We must give not only attention, but obedience to God’s way. It’s not enough to gaze there—we must follow. And we must do this not only in public but in private. Real integrity means there is no double standard, no hypocrisy. The room you’re in does not determine your holiness.
I Will Set No Worthless Thing Before My Eyes
This is a huge problem in our visual, media-driven world. It may be the main reason we are not encountering God more fully. Hours and hours are consumed by putting worthless things before our eyes.
Notice, this doesn’t have to be overtly evil, but simply worthless—things that have no eternal value. You may rationalize all of this, but God doesn’t. He will not inhabit a room where his archenemy’s diversions are the main attraction.
David reminds us of the bondage of this practice. “It shall not fasten its grip on me” is a powerful statement of reality. If you don’t think so, just try to walk away from all the “entertainment” components on your cell phone, television, and computer for a month. Have they fastened their grip on you?
David was so strong in this thought that he had come to “hate the work of those who fall away.” He didn’t just ignore it; he loathed it because he realized how deeply it could affect him and others. He knew it could be that which aborted the presence of God, and this mattered to him more than anything else.
How Much Does It Matter to Us?
Do you long for God’s greater, more recognizable presence? in your life, your home, your church, your community, our nation? There are very deliberate things you can do to create environments where God is pleased to dwell.
Our response to God’s directions indicates our desires. Every hour of the common day illustrates what we really want.