Did you know that the Garden of Eden was where Heaven and Earth met? It was the place where God and humanity dwelt together. Then sin entered in and separated the two. Thankfully, Jesus became the “door” back into fellowship in the “Garden” with God. But why is it that we can be Christians and yet still feel so disconnected from the manifestation, or realization, of the presence of the Holy One who is continually with us “Emmanuel”?
A.W. Tozer is one of my favorite theologians. He was a self-taught theologian who lived between 1897-1963. Some of the titles of his books were “The Pursuit of God”, “The Purpose of Man”, and “The Crucified Life”. Here is what he says concerning the subject I’m addressing: First he asks, why it is that the children of God know so little of the conscience presence of God on a continual basis? Truly he says, “it is our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual sense to function. Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things” (Tozer, The Pursuit of God, 2013, p. 53, emphasis mine). Thankfully, God is “ever-present” (Ps. 46:1) therefore, wherever we are there He is. We have all been in various locations at various times, whether at home, on a trail, on a mountain, or at work, etc. and we all have prayed in these places and met God, right? However, if we were just performing some “mantra prayer”, or rushing through our devotional time, or running out the door while praying, well then, we may not have encountered Him. Distractions abound, don’t they? There is always somewhere to go and something to do. Our society seems set up for this. We are always rushing somewhere. Infact the modern workplace is set up just this way, but that is for another time. But what about a “spiritual retreat”? Have you encountered God there? Most likely you have. But why? Because you were looking for Him and expecting Him to show up. Now, continuing with the subject of intimately being aware of God’s presence, Tozer writes: “A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality” (Tozer, The Pursuit of God, 2013, p. 54, emphasis mine). Isn’t that beautiful!?
But let’s talk about faith for a moment. Tozer mentioned at the beginning that the real issue is one of “faith.” We are all aware that salvation is received by faith, but I am absolutely convinced that the Christian also lives daily by faith. And what is faith? “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). But I really like the way the Amplified Bible says it, “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” (Heb. 11:1). And this is exactly what Tozer is saying is the reason for our disconnection to the reality of Jesus presence “with us continually.” Again, I need to emphasize this last part of the verse, Faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. Wow, if only I could live by “faith” in constant awareness of and communion with the Holy Spirit of God! Do you believe this would change your outlook on life at all if you lived this way, unless you do of course? It would mine! There are stories of many saints of old who truly lived this way, and they rocked the world doing so. But does someone have to be a “Monk” to live this way? No. Enoch “walked with God” as did Noah, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Jesus, Paul, etc. many others throughout history have, and some do even today. But it is rare. However, I am convinced the reason it is rare is due to our “busy, hurried, distracted, anxious, and … unbelieving lives. We have everything we need at our disposal daily; we don’t have to trust God for much in our generation, do we? But that may change soon (different subject for a different day). So, the root of the issue is faith. May we practice living more aware of the presence of God, praying often, and seeking Him, asking for the “help to believe that He is nearer than our own breath.”
So, what is standing in your way of continuous awareness meeting constant fellowship with your “Abba” Father, if anything? I know that if I were constantly aware of God’s presence with me, I would be more courageous, joyful, peaceful, hopeful, content, and feel overwhelmingly taken care of and loved. Oh yes, and I would be much less prone to giving into sin. But really, what may be standing in the way of this full experience? Could it be jealousy, envy, bitterness, or resentment? Maybe you have a wall up? Or maybe you haven’t released someone or something to the Lord? All these “things” or footholds of the devil in our lives cause us to be much less aware of God’s loving presence. Most likely due to shame or guilt over carrying these around and the pain of broken relationships. The Lord has called us to peace whether that means forgiving and being reconciled with someone or releasing them to the Lord. But the sooner we deal with “barriers” hindering us from experiencing the loving presence of our Savior and Lord the better it will be for all parties involved, and for the gift of being enraptured with God!
Well, I am not trying to draft a book here, and I certainly could. So, for the sake of my desire for many to read this post, and to consider all parts pertaining to them, I am going to end it with an encouragement: To pursue the presence of God since He is already pursuing you and He is ready to walk with you in the Garden of God whenever … you get the time. How bout now?