Life with God. This was always the intention. God created Man and God wants to be with Man. God is sufficient within Himself and needs nothing from Man. This is a refreshing revelation, to realize God wants us, but doesn’t need us.
From the very beginning of the Bible we can see a God who wants to be with His people. In Genesis chapter 3 we see God walking ‘in the garden in the cool of the afternoon’ looking for Adam and Eve. After they had sinned, it wasn’t God who was hiding Himself from Adam and Eve, but rather they were hiding from God because of their shame.
Since sin entered the world, God has been adamantly involved in getting His children back to Himself. As humans, we have a tendency to wander from the Lord; we become distracted, disengaged and begin to doubt the very being who gave us life.
God’s intention revealed in scripture
Throughout the Old Testament we see a God who is highly involved with the livelihood of His people. God provided food miraculously for the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years and traveled with them, with his presence tangible through fire and cloud.
God’s presence with the Israelites was the characteristic that separated them from the rest of the people on Earth; it’s what made them special. He consistently spoke through the Prophets calling His people back to holiness, back to a life with Him.
The Book of Judges is a clear representation of the imprisoning cycle in which Man finds Himself.
The cycle begins with God and the Israelites together; after some time, they walk away from God and choose to sin, then they are enslaved and need a hero to save them. So God sends a judge to show them the way back to Himself, only for the Israelites to soon forget their God and go back into sin for the cycle to repeat itself.
Man is enslaved to the cycle of sin until God sends Jesus, which changes everything.
Jesus changes everything
Jesus came not only to die, but also to bring life and life in abundance (John chapter 10 verse 10). Jesus came to show us what life with God was always meant to be.
Jesus lived in a conscious awareness of God and His presence because He was God. But because He was fully human, He also showed us what life with God looks like.
He never doubted God; His goodness, His ability to provide, etc. When the people were hungry, Jesus provided food. When people were sick, He healed them. Jesus knew the Father’s will and chose to partner with Him in bringing His kingdom to earth.
I believe one of the differences between the way we live as humans and the way Jesus lived is awareness. Jesus was so focused on the Father, doing His will and bringing His kingdom to earth that He stayed connected to the Father. By staying connected in relationship, He stayed in conscious awareness of His presence.
Living with God’s presence
To some Christians around the world, God has become something you think about only on Sundays. Instead of Christianity being about doing life with God, it’s become a list of do’s and don’ts because a formula and list is much easier to control than a dynamic relationship.
With the loss of relationship has come a loss of the manifest presence of God. Some churches hold a Sunday service and the majority of people wouldn’t notice if God was a part of the service or not. We no longer feel as though we need God’s presence.
God’s presence is the one thing we need most. It was the defining quality of the Israelites. It brings us life, hope, and joy. It is God Himself and without His presence, we will perish.
As Christians, if we stepped into an awareness of God’s presence again, how would our lives look different? How would we approach a relationship conflict knowing God is present? How would we do mundane tasks knowing God is present? How would we worship knowing God is present? How would we celebrate knowing God is present?
These are questions I’ve been asking myself recently. How can I live in a conscious awareness of God’s presence? How can I do life with God?
The Bible ends in Revelation with a picture of God dwelling with His people. This is the climax of the whole book; God and His people together again, forever.
Heaven is about God, it’s about His presence and man living always with Him; I look forward to the day.
Laurinda is a missionary at Youth with a Mission in Brisbane where she leads a discipleship program for young adults. On her day off you can find her hiking up a mountain or swinging in a hammock.
Laurinda Rapp’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/laurinda-rapp.html