Charles Stanley - Energized By His Presence
When is the last time you felt the presence of God in a very special way that was unlike anything you'd felt before? Or maybe I'd put it this way, when was the last time you felt His presence in your life in a way that you couldn't even describe? There are no real words to describe it. Was it when you were praying? Was it when you were in a worship service? Or maybe you felt it in a very special way when you were witnessing to someone else. Or maybe you were praying for someone else; you had a real burden for them. Or maybe it was the fact that you yourself was going through a very difficult situation, you felt so totally, absolutely dependent upon God. He just made Himself known to you in a special way. Almost like He just showed up; like it was He interrupted what was going on in your life at that moment.
Well, what is all of that about? It's all about God manifesting Himself, revealing Himself, showing Himself forth in your life. And when you think about that somebody says, Well, I don't know whether God would ever do that for me or not. Maybe the question is, are you in a position spiritually, have you allowed yourself to surrender to Him to such a degree that God would speak to you in a very unusual and a very powerful way, to encourage you, to energize you? In other words, something would go on in your life that you'd not experienced before. I think about for example when Jesus gave the Great Commission, which is to be found in the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew. And those last few verses and most of us know that by heart because we call it the Great Commission. But listen to what He said and I want you to notice if He'd left out one phrase, I don't think they would have done it.
Listen, "But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.' Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations". Now remember we didn't have airplanes, we didn't have trains, we didn't have fast boats, we didn't have automobiles, we didn't have bicycles, we didn't have anything except horses and camels and so forth. Go into all the world and preach the Gospel. "Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I've commanded you," period. But then He finished that Commission by saying, "And I am with you always, even to the end of the age". It was the awareness and the promise of His presence that turned that handful of disciples into hundreds, thousands, millions upon millions over all these years.
What is it about that phrase, I'll be with you even to the end of this age? It is very important in the eyes of God that you and I recognize His presence; that we understand what He's about. And when we think about His presence, how would you define it? How would you describe His presence? Oftentimes people will say, Well, I believe that God's everywhere. That God's in everything. And what they mean by that is, that as they look around at the creation they say, God's in the trees. God's in the stars. God's in the beaches. He's in the mountains. God's everywhere. And so, people who are so called pantheists in their theology would believe that everything is God. That tree is God. And you hear people say this, not too often but... and the ocean's God, everything's God. God does not say that at all.
Now remember this, while He's omnipresent, which means that people will say, Well, God's everywhere. The truth is, that means everywhere is in the presence of God. Now, God is present everywhere but He's not present everywhere in the same way. For example, He's present in your life in a very specific, personal, redemptive way. But He is shall we say, in the mountains, in the fact that He created them. He's not a mountain. A mountain or the seas, these are all creations of God. These are exhibitions of His power. These are the result of His awesome love for mankind to create such beauty for us to live in. But He's not in a tree like He's in your life.
And you see people who do not know Him personally have put God up yonder and out yonder somewhere. They don't know who He is exactly but they say, Well, I do believe in God. What they don't understand is that God never intends to be seen and to be felt and to be thought of as being out yonder somewhere but rather in our life. What He desires is a personal, intimate relationship with us. And that's what He's always continually seeking to discover in your life and mine. And that's why He has done the way He has operated in our lives.
So, when you think about where God is, where do you think He is? You say, Well, I think He's everywhere. Well now, exactly what does that mean? Well, that means that He's over yonder and up here and over there. Well, what about back yonder? There's no such thing as God not being everywhere. Now as I mentioned to you here, I want you to look at this passage of Scripture in the fifteenth chapter of Proverbs. And because while we say that God is everywhere, I want you to notice what the Scripture makes very, very clear about where He is. In this fifteenth chapter of the Proverbs and look if you will in the fifteenth chapter and the twenty-ninth verse. Listen to what he says, "The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous". He's far from the wicked.
You say, Well, wait a minute, the Bible says that God is everywhere. He is everywhere but He's not everywhere in the same way. In the life of one of His children, who is a believer, He is present in a certain way. In the life of those who disobey Him, those who have no concept of God, those who are just living an evil, wicked life, He's not in their life the same way. So, let me explain something, it is difficult to explain the very presence of God when we take things out of it and we think in terms of the way He manifests Himself, reveals Himself, unveils Himself to us personally. And so, when you think about that and you try to explain that, it's very difficult to explain for this reason, God, so to speak, sometimes just shows up. That is, all of a sudden, you are aware of His presence. You are aware that He is doing something special in your life, something powerful.
So, I want to give you a definition, not that it's an adequate definition because I don't think you can adequately define the presence of God. So, I want to put this definition up here and think about it for a moment. The presence of God is the revealing of God by His Spirit to our spirit for the purpose, for a specific purpose of what? Enabling us or energizing us, informing us, or maybe even warning us. But what I want you to notice is this, there is a direct relationship between the Spirit of God and the way God manifests Himself. So how does He do that? So, think about it in this light, the place of the Holy Spirit in your life and my life is absolutely essential. He came to indwell you for some very specific reasons. He is our teacher for example. He's the One who energizes us. He's the One who gives us understanding of the Word.
In fact, if you go through the Scripture here's what you'll find, that all the things that the Spirit of God does for us are things that you and I could not do for ourselves. God sent Him in order to do what? To live in us and through us the life of Christ because His goal for us ultimately is to conform us to His likeness. You remember what He said in Genesis that that when are we talking about creation? God said, "Let Us make man in Our image". Why did God make us in the image of Himself? So He could fellowship with us, so we could relate to Him, so we could know Him, so we could experience His love. God wanted to manifest Himself to mankind. God chose to do what? To make us in His image and therefore to do that He had to change us.
So that a person who is saved, it's not a person who's decided to do good. A person who is saved is a person who has received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. And at that moment the Spirit of God gave them a new spirit. Now, a new spirit, in order that you and I may be able to relate to God. And the reason the lost person does not see any personal relationship with God is because they can't. Now, in our physical body, we relate to each other in our emotions. In our mind we relate to each other in our surroundings. The physical body we relate to our environment. With our spirit, we relate to God. And until the Holy Spirit is within you, you cannot relate to God because God relates by His Spirit to our spirit and gives us direction; makes us aware of His presence. And He's willing to make His presence known. Don't shut Him out. But you must live in such a fashion that God can speak.
And you can't be living in sin on Monday and trying to be a saint on Sunday and have God... that's just not the way He operates. He's looking for people who are willing to be obedient to Him, to trust Him, to believe Him, to be open to Him, to be aware of Him, to be realizing that God is always in the process of doing something in our life. Can you think of a time in your life where you could look back and say, You know what? That day, at that moment, I had this awesome sense of the awareness of God in my life that I have never had before. Well, what did you do? Did you say, Well, I don't know what that meant? Or did you say, God speak to my heart? Lord what are You saying to me?
Now think about this, When God speaks to your spirit. When He reveals something to you, manifests Himself to you, just shows up in your life, He has something in mind. And what He's looking for are people who are willing to listen to Him, to be quiet enough, to be obedient enough that He can say, listen, God isn't going to say to you, now here's what I want you to do, knowing that you're not going to do it, knowing that you're living in rebellion. He wants to get you to a position where you can listen to Him and say, Yes Lord, whatever You want in my life is what I want. Now what does that mean in your life and my life? It means we have to get ourselves in the position to hear Him.
Think about this, let's get to the New Testament for example. You remember when Peter and the disciples are out on the ship, storms brewing, waves tossing them. And, all of a sudden, here comes Jesus walking on the water. Well, what happens? Peter saw Him and when he saw it was Jesus. He said, Jesus call me to you. If that's who You are and I'll come. It was in the presence of Jesus that he had enough faith to walk on the water. And so, he did. You think about the Apostle Paul for example. What about him? Think about this, if he had not been living in the awareness of God's presence, would he have been beaten as he said thirty-nine times three times, ship-wrecked, stoned, left for dead, imprisoned over and over and over again and then standing before Festus, Felix, and Agrippa? What happened? Every single time, stalwart, immovable, absolutely unafraid, why? Because he knew he was in the presence of the Living God.
When you think about all the things he went through out there on the seas for three days, battling for his life, could you ever convince the Apostle Paul that the presence of God was not with him? Never. He was aware of His presence. But notice what happens to Peter, in the presence of Jesus, man, he could walk on water. When Jesus wasn't there he denied he even knew Him.
Now here's the difference, you and I have God living on the inside of us. We are, listen, you may get lonely but you can't ever be alone from the moment you received Him as your Savior, you could never, never, never be alone. Why does He love us that much? We don't know why God loves us that much. We just know that He does and we just know that somehow and some way He's chosen to work in every single one of our lives in a way that's totally beyond us... unless we are willing to acknowledge that He has the right to work in our life.
And I would challenge you this, before you go to sleep tonight, let's say you live alone, for example. Let's just take the folks who live alone first. You live alone and you really and truly want God to show Himself in your life. Lord, I'm available for you to show Yourself. I'm available for You to reveal Yourself to me in a way that I've never known it before. So, Lord, first of all, I want to ask You to show me whatever sin there is in my life that doesn't fit what You've got in mind. Secondly, I want You to point out anything that I'm holding onto that I need to surrender. Lord, I want You to bring anything to my mind that You know is a stumbling block between Your perfect control of my life and what You want to do in my life. And Lord, I'm available for You to speak to me. I'm available for You to make Yourself known to me any way You choose.
You may be shocked at what God's willing to do. The presence of God is not a mystery. The presence of God is real. Is it almost indefinable? Yes, because we're dealing with the Spirit of God. Is that a mystery? No, because He lives within your heart. And more than likely if you've been a Christian for awhile, you you've prayed and asked God to give you clear direction about some things. And you know that He has given you specific direction at times in your life. You knew that was the right thing to do and you thanked Him for it. But you see He doesn't just want us getting answers. He wants us to be satisfied being in His presence. The answers will come.
So, let's think about how does He make His presence known to us? This awareness of His presence; that we say the awareness of His presence energizes us? Well, think about this, when I think about the awareness of His presence what comes to my mind is, first of all, is who He is. This is the Sovereign of the universe, the God of this world. This is the One who's created it all. This is the One who is my Savior, my Lord and my Master and who loves me totally. How could it get any better than that? And He loves you enough to just make His presence known. The awareness of His presence energizes us for the work to which He's called us. And in each of those cases and there're lots more in the Scripture, what is God doing? He's dealing with people and the result is they are motivated to live a godly life. They're motivated to do what God wants them to do.
And you say, Well, but here's my job. And you could give me, let's say, for example you're a secretary or let's say that you work in electronics or maybe you're a plumber or doctor or whatever you might be. The truth is, God wants to make Himself known to you, where you are, doing what you do. Don't put yourself over here in somebody else's category. You are precious in God's eyes. And all I'm saying to you is this, I'm really pleading with you, just surrender your life to Him and watch what He does. He will make Himself known in a way, listen, not the way He reveals to somebody else, but the way that fits you perfectly.
In fact, think about this, your relationship to Him is tailor made. That is, it's made by God for you in your circumstances, who you are at this point in your life where you are, whether you're a student or whether you're ninety years of age, God has something going on for you in your life. It's a matter, are you listening? Do you care? In other words, do you care to have this kind of relationship to Him? And once, listen, once you experience that you will say, listen, you can count everything else as as almost nothing when you begin to realize that God loves you enough just to show up. Let me ask you a question, if you believe what the Bible says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you".
If you believe that would you ever have any real legitimate reason from walking away from the battle when you have God on your side? You remember what He said to Joshua? "Be strong and of a good courage; fear not, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord your God is," what? "With you wherever you go". The awareness of His presence reminds us of who He is. The awareness of His presence reminds us of what He's done in the past and how's he worked in the lives of all these men in the past.
And I think about times in my own life difficult times, situations that I would never have wanted to deal with, and yet, He was there every time. And I've sat in battles, big battles, big church battles and I'm sitting up here watching it all. And watching who's voting for me and who's voting against me. It's really interesting. And with the most awesome sense of perfect peace and assurance and confidence. Why? Because I knew that I was sitting in His presence, watching Him work in the lives of people until He worked it all out.
You see, a believer has no reason to be afraid. Think about this, if you were in the military and you had a thousand tanks, a hundred thousand men, and a whole squadron of jet bombers at your disposal, and you were facing a hundred soldiers out there. Would you be scared? It wouldn't even cross your mind. So, I want to show you something. Because you see it's the way we look at things and what we see and what we don't see.
And I want you to turn to second Kings chapter six. Give you a little idea of what's happening. The king of Aram is warring against Israel and what he can't figure out is, he can't figure out why the nation of Israel and the king knows everything. And so, one of his associates said to him, well he said, in the fact the king said, "'Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?' One of his servants said, 'No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, he tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.'" They already know what's going on. Listen, "So he said, 'Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.' And it was told him, saying, 'Behold, he's in Dothan.'" He sent horses and chariots and, listen to this, "He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God," his servant, "had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?'" Scared to death.
Now that's looking through the eyes of flesh. Listen to what the prophet said, Elisha, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O Lord, I pray, open the eyes that he may see.' And the Lord opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha". Here's what happens, when you are aware of the presence of God in your life, here's what happens, you are able to see things from God's perspective. And everything usually changes when you look at it from His perspective. It's the way you look through the eyes of your spirit or through the flesh.
And it's my prayer that whoever you are, wherever you are, don't live out your life and miss one of God's choicest blessings and that's learning to live in the presence of God. Learning to live aware that at any moment He can manifest Himself to you in ways that you could never imagine. You can't manufacture it, can't predict it, and you can't do anything to make it happen. It's just something that He chooses to do in your life because He knows who you are, where you are, and what He wants to accomplish in your life.
If you've never trusted Him as your Savior, you may say, Well, all of this is just beyond me. I don't get all this. Well, naturally you don't and you know why? Because you can't even communicate with Him. You must communicate with God through the Spirit of God and if you're not a believer you don't have the Spirit of God within you, so you can't. You can talk about it but the truth is you cannot. And I want to challenge you to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins. On the basis of what He did at Calvary, ask Him to forgive you, surrender your life to Him, let the Spirit of God come into your life, and begin to work His awesome work. Your life will never be the same and it's yours for the asking.
And Father, how grateful we are for Your awesome grace. And how we do pray that not a soul would listen and say, Well, but. Because You love every single one of us. You're ready to make Yourself known in the times that You know are essential, necessary to accomplish Your purpose in every one of our lives. And that is my prayer, Father, today, openness, yielded, surrendered, available, but whatever You desire. In Jesus' name, amen.