Last week, I shared that God wants us to enjoy His presence continuously. He loves to fellowship with His friends. He never leaves us which means He is always with us. But there is more, when we intentionally draw near, He comes close. (James 4:8)
So what are the attitudes that bring His presence close and what are the behaviours that unwittingly push Him away? I’m going to look at one big one today.
How we push Him away
The Old Testament can give us great insight into the heart of God: “Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the Lord heard everything they said. Then the Lord’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.” Numbers 11:1 (NLT)
Thank God for the cross. We live our lives in the era of grace which means nobody is going to die today for complaining! However, we can hear God’s heart on the matter: it hurts Him when we grumble. If the truth be known, it hurts us too. When we whine, it saps our energy. When we thank, it generates joy.
Is He enough?
Hebrews 13:5 says: “Be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
I saw this scripture in a new light recently and it broke my heart. I believe that the Lord is saying that we should be content because we have Him. He is our reward, our joy, our life. In other words, when we are grumbling, in our hearts we are saying: “You are not enough for me.”
Psalm 100:4 says: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…” The Message puts that verse like this: “Enter with the password: thank you.” What are we entering? His presence, of course.
So everyone time I choose gratitude, I’m drawing near. Every time, I say, “Thank you Lord for my job, my life, my family,” I’m releasing an irresistible invitation to the Holy Spirit to hover around my heart.
A turning point
A few years ago, in the middle of winter, I travelled to Pittsburgh to assist my spiritual mother, Prophet Cathy Lechner, at a conference. I started to feel ill towards the end of the convention. Soon, I had a fever. I carried on the best I could but was very glad when it was time to head home.
I waved Prophet Cathy off then waited for my flight via New York to London. As I waited, the fog descended. My eyes were glued to the departures board as the delays clocked up. 30 minutes became an hour. Two hours became a three hour delay. Before I knew it, I had missed my flight to London.
Something inside me said that I must not let anything but thankfulness out of my heart. When I reached New York, I arranged a new flight home for the following morning. But by the time it was sorted, all the comfy seats in the drafty waiting area were gone.
A long night
I lined up four wooden chairs, put my bag under my head and pulled my coat over myself. As I lay awake fighting the fever, all that left my heart was worship. I kept telling God how grateful I was for His goodness. I dwelt on the privilege of being able to call myself a minister.
When I eventually reached London, I waited at the carousel for my luggage. You guessed it: my bags didn’t arrive. I filled out the forms then headed home, still loving on the Lord. About two days later, my suitcase was delivered to my house.
The heavenly perspective
I thanked the delivery man and then my heavenly Father. Just at that moment, I heard the Holy Spirit say: “Test passed.” I didn’t even know He was watching yet His words meant the world. God values gratitude and He responds to it with the highest prize: His wonderful presence.
If you would like the Holy Spirit to rejuvenate you from the inside out, I encourage you to read our books which will speak straight to your heart. And come to Healed for Life, you will be amazed at the depth of refreshing you will receive.