(Friends: during this series, the messages may frequently be longer than usual due to the subject matter. Thanks for your patience, and I think you will find the considerations interesting, and hopefully, helpful in our walk with the Lord. Glen)
Part 18 – “Always”
Only God can be with us always. Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ hold this truth as a fundamental tenet of our faith. “I am with you always” declared the Lord Jesus to His disciples, clearing alluding to the coming presence of the Holy Spirit that would grace every person born again during the age of the church (Matthew 28:20). “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Romans 8:9).
This does not mean that believers always think about God being with us, nor do we continually feel or see the obvious evidence of His abiding presence. Indeed, we must be careful that we do not seek to manipulate or manufacture experiences of our Lord by artificial means. “We walk by faith, not by sight” wrote the Apostle Paul (II Corinthians5:7). Thus, while we appreciate and enjoy those times when the presence of God manifestly graces our thoughts, emotions, and conscious awareness, we also recognize that, at present, much of our lives must be spent without overt displays of the Presence that both envelopes and inhabits us.
As we consider the “Who?” of God, that is, His personal nature, our “walk by faith, not by sight” constitutes a primary element of understanding. That our Lord is with us always must be established and enhanced primarily as a conviction of trust rather than a hoped for experience of the mind, emotion and senses. This does not preclude such experience by any means, and in fact, growing confidence in our conviction certainly prepares us for the times when the fact of God shines upon and within us as the brightest light of our existence. Nevertheless, our personal experience of the “always with us” truth of God presently involves both the obvious and the obscure. We actually need times when our Lord seems far away if we are to be strengthened in the faith that prepares us for those times when He overwhelms us with His nearness.
We must live with confidence in God’s personal nature and presence, and in the expectation of living experience thereof. At present, however, we also recognize the tempered nature of such experience in a fallen world wherein we ourselves remain far from perfection. “We see through a glass darkly” confessed the Paul who perhaps saw the things of God more clearly than anyone (I Corinthians13:12). Our Lord is near, nearer than our next breath. He would have to increasingly recognize the gift and glory of such grace. Moreover, He would have recognize it with such core conviction that the fickle nature of our minds and emotions does not shake the resolve of the Psalmist that must be our resolve…
“Thou art with me.”(Psalm 23:4)