In the Manual we read about God’s presence. There was the time He decided to go down and see what was happening in Sodom and Gomorrah, He also went down to see what the humans were doing at Babel, His presence filled the Tabernacle and the Temple, and how many times have there been when you were worshipping and you felt the presence of the Lord all around you?
It’s really nice, isn’t it? For me, I feel spiritually relaxed, unburdened and often I cry: the tears just come all on their own. Tears of joy, of comfort and of peace.
The problem is that it doesn’t last. We feel His presence, we can actually even sense His touch: that sort of chill that goes through you. I remember when I first experienced that as the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) physically entered me. I felt totally ethereal, like I was spirit. It happened about 18 years ago, and it still gets to me, emotionally and physically. I still get all teary-eyed when retelling it.
Whenever we feel His presence it is wonderful. Why then don’t we feel it all the time? After all, God is omnipresent, is He not? That means that He doesn’t really “go down” to anywhere- He is already there. God is always right here, just a hand’s reach away from us, ready to grab us as we fall or hold us back when we go rushing into disaster.
His presence is always present, so why don’t we always feel it? The truth is painfully simple: we can’t come into His presence because we are too into ourselves. The Holy Spirit may live within us, but we have to give it more room if we want to feel it more often. A small paper cut on the finger will hurt when we get it, and then we get used to the pain and it seems that it no longer hurts, until we get lemon juice in it. WOW! Then you remember you have the cut!
The Holy Spirit is much nicer than a paper cut, but the idea is the same. We become inured to it’s presence and we forget about it. We don’t remember it’s there until we pour some lemon juice on it, the lemon juice being our sinful actions, words or feelings. When we are doing something sinful we are then reminded by the Spirit that it is still there. It causes us pain, and helps us to want to wash off the sin like we wash out the lemon juice.
With a paper cut, we put a bandage over it to stop it from hurting. How many of us have put on a spiritual bandage to prevent ourselves from feeling the Ruach when it wants to remind us it’s there? Every time we do not “die to self” so that the Spirit can live more fully within us, we are placing a band aid on the Ruach. The more bandages on the Ruach, the less likely we will feel the sting of sin when we do something wrong in God’s eyes. And the more we cover it, the less we sense His presence, so it seems that God is not near us. But He is near- He is right there, at your side, at my side, holding out His hand and asking us to take hold.
If you want to feel the presence of the Lord more often, more intently, and more completely, remove the bandages. Allow the soreness of sin to remind you quickly and painfully that you are not doing as the Spirit leads.
We are a container- we are filled with ourselves and with the Spirit, but the container can only hold so much. If you want more Spirit, you need to make room by getting rid of more of yourself. I used to be frightened to death by that statement (literally, since this fear of losing myself meant that I was rejecting the truth about Messiah Yeshua); but now, after I faithfully took that leap and accepted Messiah, I find that I am not really losing who I am, I am just becoming a better me.
The more the Spirit leads me ( scratch that, change it to this): the more I allow the Spirit to lead me, the better a person I am.
I have been given the gift of humor, and I used to misuse it by making people laugh with nothing but bawdy jokes, and I used foul language to shock the humor out of people. I can tell you this: it worked a lot, but it also got me in a lot of trouble. I still find exotic humor (OK, OK…yes, I admit it, they’re dirty jokes) funny but I have “toned it way down”, and I can still be funny without being sinful. Richard Pryor was one of the funniest men I ever heard, and he was well known for being filthy, but he was also exceptionally funny (when he started out) on the Ed Sullivan and the Tonight shows, and there were no dirty jokes allowed on those shows. The spirit of humor God gave me is like anything else from God- how well I use that gift is based on how much I let the Spirit guide me in it’s use.
God is always here, he never leaves, He never sleeps, He doesn’t need to hit the head; God’s presence is always present. It’s us, it’s me, it’s you, it’s the flesh that prevents the Spirit from being felt and it’s our self-absorbed nature that numbs us to God’s touch.
All any of us needs do to feel God’s presence is to reach out to Him, but to do that we need to let go of whatever we are holding on to. What you are holding on to, you need to determine for yourself.