Posted by Jerry White on Jun 6, 2016
It is far better to know God’s presence by faith than to know it by feelings.
This generation wants to feel something, whether it is the loud music from huge speakers at a concert, or the thunderous sound of explosions in a movie theatre, or stirring praise music in church. Political correctness has become an issue because of various sensitivities. We are instructed that we must not hurt anyone’s feelings so everyone feels included and their feelings are protected.
In recent years among Christians an increasing emphasis on sensing or feeling God’s presence has occurred. I have been a part of this, but I have had a growing discomfort about it. Has this become a badge of God’s blessing upon one’s ministry? Does it represent God’s approval? Is it a sign of success? Oh, there are times when our Lord graciously draws near and His presence deeply affects us. We bow and humbly worship. But just because our feelings are stirred up does not mean the presence of God has been revealed among us. Beautiful praise music with stirring words can move our souls to tears but it is not necessarily because of God’s presence.
Faith pleases God; good feelings please me. This raises a question. Do I want to please and honor Him or do I want Him to bless and please me? I cannot think of a Scripture where the early believers emphasized feeling God’s presence. There were times of dramatic encounters with the living God, but they were the exception, not the rule.
Through faith on the basis of God’s sure Word I can always know God’s presence, and this honors Him. Feelings, or sensing, has nothing to do with it. Believing God’s promises has everything to do with it. He promised His invisible presence repeatedly. The issue is, will I believe it, receive it and enjoy it with a glad, rejoicing and thankful heart? Knowing God’s presence by faith delivers me from needing anything other than God’s promise. I do not need special music, or a worship gathering, or a worship leader. Alone in a quiet place one can profoundly know the Lord’s presence again and again without any outside stimulus. An open believing heart receives, and this faith pleases and honors God. When He is pleased there will be moments when He gives Himself so there is a deep sensing of His nearness.