How do I encounter God today? | Pathways to God's presence

gospel spice podcast Jan 23, 2023

Our goal is to enter and remain in the presence of God through the pathways He has ordained for this purpose. The presence of God is our path and our destination.

In Hebrew, the word Presence and the word Face are the same. In the ancient world without zoom and facetime, you could only be in the presence of someone when you were face to face with them. There was no remote presence.

Each week we are going to approach the pathways to God’s presence, or the spiritual disciplines, by linking one element of prayer with one aspect of Bible intake and one facet of worship.

This is our second episode in our Pathways to God’s presence series. If you missed our intro, please make sure to listen to last week’s episode, episode 185. We spent time laying out the land of what this series is about –the spiritual disciplines with a twist. We established that Jesus is the only pathway to God’s presence, and that He offers to teach us, through the Holy Spirit, how to nurture intimacy with God through the practice of timeless biblical principles that He himself role-modeled. If Jesus catered to His relationship with His Father through prayer, Scripture intake, and worship in various forms, then we too will benefit from the same.

We are seeing today that prayer, in its essential form, is adoration. All the other elements of confession, thanksgiving and intercession are rooted in adoration. God is not safe confessing to, if he is not the utterly majestic Being we adore; God is not worthy of our thanks if He is not the resplendent glorious Being who gives us all things and works all things for our good; God is not safe coming to when we have needs, if He is not the perfectly omnipotent and otherworldly generous and gentle Sovereign who has chosen to be introduced to us with the meek and loving title of Father.

About prayer, Stephanie says, “you are never more Christlike than when you adore God lavishly.”

We consider the study of Scripture as the essential element to know God. We adore God most when we are most aware of His perfection, beauty, loveliness and holiness. In other words, when we are saturated with the knowledge of Him. And we can only know God from the place where He has specifically revealed Himself – Scripture.

It means, we need to spend time in Scripture. We need to read it widely, and deeply both. We need to rake for leaves and dig for diamonds, as countless Bible teachers have described over many centuries.

We interact with Scripture first and foremost to know God. Yes, the Bible gives us much about our relationships with one another, and about ourselves too. We will discuss these elements in the weeks to come. But the main, primary, most essential purpose of the Bible is to draw us into the presence of God. When the Holy Spirit who lives within our hearts opens the words of the Scriptures to us, we are allowed into the presence of God. We get a glimpse of His face and behold His presence. It transforms us forever because, like the light that shone on Moses face when he came down the mountain after having spent time with God, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is found in the radiant face of Christ Jesus our Lord (2Cor 4:6).

So, we read and study Scripture to know who God is.

The essence of this approach is actually worship. My primary goal is to meet God through the pages that He wrote. I want to know Him more. If I can discern a new glimpse into His face, if I can learn something new about the depths of His love and kindness and majesty and power, then I am a happy camper. A happy worshiper. Bible intake should always stem from adoration and lead to worship, which are essentially the same thing.

So today we looked at the element of adoration in prayer, and we have seen how intricately connected it is to the element of public worship. We have looked at a fresh way to study Scripture, all with the primary goal to KNOW GOD MORE because it’s a virtuous cycle: the more you know God, the more you are going to desire to adore Him, and the more you adore Him, the purer your heart gets, and this allow you in turn to experience deeper intimacy with Him, which is the ultimate form of knowledge. Which leads to more adoration, etc. I think this is the ultimate virtuous cycle, spiritually speaking, this side of heaven. I believe it is the essence of what our experience in heaven will be: utter delight in His presence, a heart growing fuller each moment because of an ever-deeper awareness and experience of His presence, beauty and loveliness. I think we have utterly no idea of how enjoyable heaven will be. We have no frame of reference, no clue for the ecstasy that awaits. This holy cycle of adoration and intimacy with God is its closest equivalent here on earth.

We have the fullness of the Spirit of Christ within us, because that same spirit had been living in the incarnated Christ. Jesus is the pathway to the presence of God, and more than that. He is God Himself. Jesus is the pathway and the destination. He is the way and the goal.

The Holy Spirit is your teacher and guide into the pathways to the presence of God through Jesus Christ our matchless Lord. Adore, behold, worship Him who was, and is and is to come.

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