Don’t you just love a good worship service? When the choir or praise team is on fire, the prayer touched the core of your soul and the pastor preached a sermon that was tailor made just for you!
In those services I experience what I know is the presence and fullness of God. There is this emotional high I feel that I don’t get at any other time. But a few years ago I began to think to myself, “Why is that? Why do I only feel the presence of God on Sunday morning at church when He’s supposed to be omnipresent?” When I thought about it, I realized that there were quite a few reasons why I didn’t:
1. Allowing emotions to control me.
I don’t know about you but I have allowed my emotions to get the best of me more times than I’d like to admit. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be ye angry, and sin not…” and I believe this is true for all emotions including sadness, anxiety, fear and the like.
What is important to remember is that God gave us emotions to inform us, NOT control us.
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was angry about the treatment of African-Americans, he didn’t become violent or spew hatred. He allowed the anger to point him to what God had called him to do, to lead the Civil Rights movement. So what that teaches us is that our emotions don’t have to be that thing that hinders us but, with the help of God, they can motivate us to change.
2. Allowing pride get the best of me.
Pride is the sin that has you believing your own hype and gives Satan permission to be your personal Hype-Man:
You don’t owe them an apology!
You have too much experience on this job…You don’t have to do that!
Girl, if I were you I wouldn’t let them talk to me like that…
Trust me, I’ve been there… and while I was at it, I lost my witness and credibility each time. I think that’s what Proverbs 16:18 means when it says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” “The fall” not only meaning falling into sin or falling from grace but failing in the inability to be an effective witness for Christ because pride has won.
No one likes admitting that they are prideful–especially Christians. But being honest with ourselves about what God already knows is what it takes to usher in His presence.
3. Inadequate Self-knowledge
A few years ago, I spoke at a Women’s Conference on the topic of developing a better relationship with ourselves. In the speech I focused on becoming a “student of yourself.” When I was a therapist, I saw many women (and men) who were struggling with all kinds of personal issues.
I had one client who came in who had all of a sudden began experiencing intense anger outbursts toward her significant other but had no idea why. She had never really experienced this type of explosive anger before and she knew that it would likely end her relationship if she continued. The issue for her (and many of us) was due to the fact that she had not taken the time to process what was beneath these outbursts. If she could resolve that issue, then she could resolve the anger.
When we don’t take the time to get real with ourselves about who we are, how are we ever going to believe who God says we are?
1 Peter 2:9 says that we “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…” And daily, we’re given the chance to live this out but easily fall short. When you are aware of all of your faults, idiosyncrasies and flaws, you’re less likely to displace them onto other people and allow God to help you grow and change. This is where you can be a living testimony.
4. Unintentional Living
Lastly, the reason why we don’t experience the fullness of God daily is because we are not intentional about it. Consequently, we can easily edge God out of our every day lives. When the Bible admonishes us to renew our minds daily – it shouldn’t be treated as a suggestion – it is a command.
Why? Because it is necessary in order to live the Great BIG life that God has called you to. We know all of the situations and circumstances that trigger us and yet more often than not we have no real plan to deal with it. It’s hard work is to set an intention to be humble when you want to be proud or to cut off a conversation when you really want to hear the latest gossip.
Using the spirit of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7), you have the absolute capability to be deliberate about how you approach all of the circumstances you encounter.
Experiencing the presence and fullness of God daily may not be the easiest thing to do outside of worship service, but the relationship with Him that is born out of the pursuit is something that you will never regret!