The Art of Living in God’s Presence

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the people [are] idols: but the LORD made the heavens. 28 Glory and honour [are] in his presence; strength and gladness [are] in his place. 28 Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

The Lord is my light, my joy, and my song;
By day and by night He leads me along.

This tells the story of the presence of God. “The Lord made the heavens. Glory and honour are in His presence; strength and gladness are in His place.” And because in His presence there is strength and gladness and honour and glory, therefore, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.” “Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

There is a very interesting connection in this Scripture reading. Read it and ponder it carefully. In His presence there is glory and honour, strength and gladness. Therefore give unto the LORD glory and strength.

1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory [due] unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Is this not the message for our time? What is the first angel’s message? This is precisely the call of the Lord for God’s people today. In verse 6 the first angel is proclaiming the everlasting gospel, and he is heard,

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Give Him the glory due unto His name. What does that mean? It is evident that because in His presence there is glory, there is honour, and there is strength, we are to give God what we find in His presence. We are to give in return the glory and the honour that He is.

The principle of God’s Word most disregarded is that which enjoins upon us the necessity of loving God supremely, and the result is that men find it impossible to obey the second great principle of the law, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” {18MR 1.1}

If we disregard the commandment to love God supremely it will be impossible to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Just in accordance with the seed sown will be the harvest reaped. The test is now upon us. Which shall it be–transgression or loyalty, obedience or disobedience, to these commandments? {18MR 1.1}

The Word of God is our standard of character. It is a “form of sound words” from the great Source of light and life. There is nothing that we need to preserve so sacredly as this standard of doctrine, a “Thus saith the Lord.” This is the pure fountain from which we are to draw the reasons for our faith. The Bible is our guide and textbook. The law of God is our covenant with our Maker, in life, in death, in the resurrection, and through all eternity. Our loyalty to God in obeying, in spirit and letter, the ten commandments, reveals to the world, to angels, and to men, our covenant relation with Him. Adam and Eve were to glorify God by personal and perpetual obedience to His law, and it is in this way that we are to give God glory for all His entrusted gifts. We are to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. {18MR 1.2}

To give God the glory means to love God supremely, our neighbour as ourselves, following a “Thus saith the Lord” in all of our life’s affairs, so that in the true loyalty to God of keeping His commandments we reveal to the world, to angels and to men, the covenant relation that we have with Him. This is how we give God the glory. To give God the glory and the honour and the strength and the gladness, to return to God that which is in His presence, is what it means to give God the glory. The glory of God’s presence is to generate within us a return of the glory of God.

We are to behold the glory of God. And what does the beholding of the glory of God do, what does it achieve?

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

For a people to dwell on this planet manifesting God’s glory, which is God’s character, we are to gain that by beholding Him, by seeing Him who is invisible. Was this not Moses’ experience?

Finding the Sense of God’s Presence in Nature

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

We gained this in our previous meditation (The Sense of God’s Presence), that we can actually sense God’s presence. Sight is one of the senses. There are the other senses: touch, taste, etc. Those senses are to experience the invisible. We find Him in nature. This is what I laboured upon when we were out there, for us to actually feel after God in nature.

Our retired location will offer comparative freedom from many of the temptations of city life. {11MR 221.3}

This is talking about the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital where I did my nursing. At that time, in Sr. White’ days, it was put way out. From Wahroonga you can look down onto the city in the distance. In those days it was a country place, but now it is a metropolitan area.

Here are no liquor-selling hotels or dram-shops on every corner to tempt the unfortunate victim of intemperance. And the pure sights and sounds, the clear, invigorating air, and the sense of God’s presence pervading all nature, tend to uplift the mind, to soften the heart, and to strengthen the will to resist temptation. {11MR 221.3}

The presence of God is in nature. It is this presence that has an effect. What does it do? The sense of God’s presence pervades all nature, the sights, the sounds, the clear, invigorating air. The sense of nature is the sense of God’s presence. It tends to uplift the mind. What does it do to your mind? It lifts it to a high, lofty and noble honour. It softens the heart and strengthens the will to resist temptation. How important that we sense the presence of God in nature. The Bible is the other part. There we will sense the presence of God; we will see with our sense of eyesight; we will see Him who is invisible.

The Sense of God’s Presence in the Bible

What does it mean to see the invisible in the Bible?

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. {6BC 1098.1}

How do you see the invisible? Study the Bible, study His life, as it is given in His word.

We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. {6BC 1098.1}

When we look at nature and when we study the Bible, we are to see Jesus.

By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being (MS 148, 1897). {6BC 1098.1}

We need to have the sense of God’s presence. We find it by carefully searching out of the Bible all the imagery of Christ. As you do that, you cherish that image and it captivates your whole being. It begins to affect you.

As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself serious defects; {6BC 1098.6}

What happens when you look at Him who is invisible? You discover serious defects about yourself.

…his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees the necessity for radical changes in his life. Still he studies with a desire to become like his great Exemplar. He catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master. By beholding, by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” he becomes changed into the same image. {6BC 1098.6}

Do you notice what you can do? If you will dig for truth as for hidden treasure, you will actually be catching the looks of Jesus. Have you ever had someone look at you? If that person is an honourable person, you feel like creeping into a corner. You will catch His looks as you do this. You will catch His spirit, and what will it do? It will affect you. It will, it can’t be helped. When Jesus came to the entrance of the temple courts, what was His presence impacting? Every eye started to look upon Him and everybody began to withdraw, apart from the disciples. Everything was silent, because of His presence. The divinity flashed through the humanity and it had an impact that prevented them from holding Him back from turning over the moneychanger’s tables; that sent them all scurrying out of the temple. Where did this power come from? It is the presence of God. It does something.

By these means we will experience the presence of God; by spending time in nature, by spending time in digging for truth as for hidden treasure, we will sense the presence of God. And it is the sense of His presence that has the all-pervading, wide-ranging impact that we need so badly.

What Will God’s Presence Achieve?

As a shield from temptation and an inspiration to purity and truth, no other influence can equal the sense of God’s presence. {Ed 255.3}

A shield from temptation – Do you want to be inspired to purity and truth? Do you want to change to become like Jesus wants us to be? Do we want to conquer the temptations? How can you conquer? You need an influence, you need a motivation. No other influence can equal the sense of God’s presence to achieve that.

“All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” He is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” Hebrews 4:13; Habakkuk 1:13. This thought was Joseph’s shield amidst the corruptions of Egypt. {Ed 255.3}

There was nothing written against Joseph. He lived in Egypt, which is, spiritually speaking, this corrupt world. He was right there in it. And it was the thought of God’s presence that was the shield for Joseph amidst that corruption.

To the allurements of temptation his answer was steadfast: “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” {Ed 255.3}

Why did he say that? Because He knew the presence of God was with him. If he went and committed this crime, it would be against God who was right there with him.

Such a shield, faith, if cherished, will bring to every soul. {Ed 255.3}

It is a shield. What is the shield? Faith in what? Faith in the consciousness of God’s presence. We often get all into confusion as to how faith actually works. What is faith meant to do? It is very simple. Faith takes hold of the vision of the presence of God, like Moses did, and like Joseph did.

A Restraint on Your Life

Oh, that I could present before you, and before others of my brethren, the necessity of an ever-abiding sense of God’s presence, {5T 628.1}

Did you note her exclamation? “Oh!” How important this matter is. The Spirit of Prophecy is placing before us the great necessity of this ever-abiding sense of God’s presence,

…which would put such restraint on your life that your moral and religious standing before the people would be far different. We must reach a higher standard. Every soul, in going out and coming in, in all business transactions, at all times and in all places, should act with the consciousness that he is moving under the inspection of God and heavenly angels, and that the Being who will judge every man’s work for eternity accompanies him at every step, {5T 628.1}

Did you pick that up, children? You have God with you at every step. For every one of us, the consciousness of that will keep us from going forward into wrong, because God is with us at every step. He accompanies every man,

…observing all his actions and scrutinizing all his motives. A consciousness of the presence of God and the peril of violating His precepts would take possession of his entire being. What a change would be seen in man, what a change in society, what evils would be left undone! There would be exclamations from all ranks and among all ages: I cannot do this great wickedness, and sin against God.” {5T 628.1}

Who are those who enter through the gates into the city? “Blessed are they that do His commandments.” We want to enter the city, but we know how hard it is to change our habits and to overcome temptation. Well, here is the precious answer. That is why Sr. White wrote, Oh, that I could present before you the necessity of an ever-abiding sense of God’s presence. This is the most important influence that we need to study for; the consciousness of God’s presence. If I want to change I need to see Him who is invisible, as Moses did. And it is only by that method that we will inadvertently be changed. It will lift the mind, it will affect our heart, and it will soften our heart. The sense of this mighty, glorious Being right up close and inside of me will control my behaviour. You know what it is like, if you are all on your own you just do what you like, and then when somebody comes into your presence you behave differently. Isn’t that right? Well, we are in God’s presence all the time.

Winning the Game of Life

But when I forget, and I think I am on my own, I start to wonder why there are so many perplexities and problems in the lives of people. Sr. White writes about what life is. What is your daily life? It is called “the game of life.” My daily life is actually an art like a game.

There are some who profess to be Christ’s followers, yet put forth no effort in spiritual things. In any worldly enterprise they put forth effort, and manifest ambition to accomplish their object, and bring about the desired end; but in the enterprise of everlasting life, where all is at stake, and their eternal happiness depends upon their success, they act as indifferent as though they were not moral agents, as though another were playing the game of life for them, and they had nothing to do but wait the result. Oh, what folly! what madness! If all will only manifest that degree of ambition, zeal, and earnestness for everlasting life that they manifest in their worldly pursuits, they will be victorious overcomers. Everyone, I saw, must obtain an experience for himself, each must act well and faithfully his part in the game of life. Satan watches his opportunity to seize the precious graces when we are unguarded, and we shall have a severe conflict with the powers of darkness to retain them, or to regain a heavenly grace if through lack of watchfulness we lose it. {1T 407.1}

Did you know that you are in a game? You are in the game of life.

Life is a holy trust, which God alone can enable us to keep and to use to His glory. {6T 379.1}

Give Him the glory. How? In the game of life, a holy trust. Your and my life is a holy trust to engage in with great intensity of earnestness because it has to do with everlasting life.

The gold mentioned by Christ, the True Witness, which all must have, has been shown me to be faith and love combined, and love takes the precedence of faith. {2T 36.2}

Love is higher than faith.

Satan is constantly at work to remove these precious gifts from the hearts of God’s people. All are engaged in playing the game of life. {2T 36.2}

We are all in it. How are you playing? Have you developed the skill in this game? When people play games like football and cricket and tennis, they develop skills to play those games successfully and conquer the opponent.

Satan is well aware that if he can remove love and faith, and supply their place with selfishness and unbelief, all the remaining precious traits will soon be skillfully removed by his deceitful hand, and the game will be lost. {2T 36.2}

We have a game of life, we have an art of living, to understand.

As drops of water make the river, so little things make up life. {TMK 209.6}

When we look at a river we see how all the little rills join in and the water gathers and finally it becomes a flowing river. We see God in nature again. It is the little things that make up life.

Life is a river, peaceful, calm, and enjoyable, or it is a troubled river, always casting up mire and dirt. In this life you may place yourself under the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Through the sanctification of the Spirit you will thus grow more and more like Christ. {TMK 209.6}

You know that beautiful song, “When peace like a river attendeth my way.” Indeed, we are to understand the art of living. Life is a river; we need to understand how to calm that river down into peace and calmness. We saw this when we went for a walk near the Avon River. In certain patches it was really churning up and foaming and dirty. But as we walked along it started to become calm and peaceful. How are we to articulate our life acceptably to God’s glory?

Putting these Principles into Practice in Our Daily Life

Give God the glory. Let us give Him the glory in our life. We have very clear points of living that this needs to be applied to. In our daily life, we are to have joy. Are you joyful in every moment of every day? To have loving and lovable communications all the time, how does it look in our home? Are we loving and lovable all the time? Are there courteous words? You know what it is like, when words are uttered and it creates a thick atmosphere. Is that winning the game of life? What a joy it is when beautiful, courteous words are being expressed; kind words, when the law of kindness is in the lips. We need to have respect for the other person.

I was asked by my daughter’s fiancé to give them a word of counsel in one sentence as they were planning for marriage. After a moment of bemused thought of how to give it in one sentence, it suddenly came to me, Never get used to each other. What does that mean? Always respect the other person. Otherwise, when you get used to that person, you don’t respect them anymore. There is to be tranquillity in the home, tranquillity in the life. How we minister and serve others; the art of living is to have a meek and quiet spirit in all of our affairs. Have a look at your home. Are these things in your home perfectly? This is the art of living, to have these skills. To have a firm adherence to principle while at the same time being absolutely kind and courteous with no judgmental attitude; this is the art of living. To have purity. These are the things that make up a happy home and a happy society, when we have these qualities, these little ingredients that make up the river of life, these skills that make successful living.

Where Do We Get These Skills From?

Where do we get the joy of life that leads to perfect tranquillity through all the upheavals? As the river hits the rocks and sprays everywhere and mud flies everywhere, where can we get that joy from that prevents us from doing that? When you watch a waterfall going through some rocks some of the water splashes and churns and some of it just runs smoothly over the top of the rocks. Have you seen that smooth waterfall? It doesn’t get disturbed by the rocks, it just flows beautifully. Those of us that went canoeing, if you wanted to get through the rapids smoothly you had to go through those smooth patches to avoid getting smashed. This is the skill of a beautiful life. How do we get it?

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life:

You will show me the art of life, the game of life.

Psalm 16:11 …in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

If I want joy and tranquillity and pleasure, how will I gain it? It will be when I am in His presence, when He is in my presence.

Happiness in Unpleasant Circumstances

Here is the answer to how this particular skill in the game of life can be found:

We are so anxious, all of us, for happiness, but many rarely find it because of their faulty methods of seeking, in the place of striving. We must strive most earnestly, and mingle all our desires with faith. Then happiness steals in upon us almost unsought–it may be amid aggressive warfare, truth against error. We believe in a general way, but we lose much because we do not trust fully and entirely in God our Maker. When we can, notwithstanding disagreeable circumstances, rest confidingly in His love and shut ourselves in with Him, resting peacefully in His love, the sense of His presence will inspire a deep, tranquil joy. {9MR 289.3}

Are we anxious? Sr. White writes that we are so anxious, all of us. I know this to be true. People come to me with their anxieties, this and that, anxious. “This person isn’t doing the right thing and that person is annoying me, etc.” All the time. Am I right? We are anxious, we want happiness, we want joy, and we want tranquillity. What must we strive for to have that? “When we can, notwithstanding disagreeable circumstances, rest confidingly in His love and shut ourselves in with Him, resting peacefully in His love, the sense of His presence will inspire a deep, tranquil joy.”

This experience gains for us a faith that enables us not to fret, not to worry, but to depend upon a Power that is infinite.–Letter 57, 1897, p. 1. (To Brother and Sister Hare, January 20, 1897.) White Estate Washington, D. C. October 22, 1979 {9MR 289.3}

Can you see what we need? We need that sense of God’s presence; then what we are hungering for, that life of happiness, of tranquillity and joy, will come to us, because that is what we find in His presence. Nothing disturbs us anymore because His presence is so close; we sense His presence. This is how we can be happy in most unpleasant circumstances. There is a freedom from anxiety when we have the sense of His presence.

Courteous Communication

Have we become used to each other, whether in the family or in the church? When people first come to church we meet them and we are ever so courteous to them, but then when they stay in the church and become members, what happens all of a sudden? We start saying, You shouldn’t be doing this, or, If you are miserable, why don’t you do that? We start to judge, Well, it’s only your own fault. Are we courteous? Are we courteous in the home, are we courteous in the church; are we kind?

We are placed in this world to be children of God and to prepare for the future immortal life. Speak no unkind, thoughtless words. {TDG 225.3}

Have you ever said something and then thought, That was so thoughtless of me, I have just hurt my friend, my wife, or my husband?

As you associate in family relationship, be careful to speak kind, tender words, which will comfort and encourage. {TDG 225.3}

What should we do in the art of living? We are to be careful to speak kind, tender words, which will comfort and encourage.

Do not forget the little acts of kindness which do so much to help the member of the family who is struggling with infirmities which no one but himself can understand. {TDG 225.3}

How do we usually behave when we see somebody struggling with a spiritual or a character infirmity? Do we get impatient with them? Is this what happens in the home? I know it happens; it has happened to me in my home too. Here is the counsel we are given: Do not forget the little acts of kindness which do so much to help the member of the family who is struggling with these infirmities. I know that in our Christian homes we want to be like Jesus, but are we? We are struggling. How are we going to help each other? By being careful to speak kind, tender words, and to give little acts of kindness.

Not to Persist in Having Your Own Way

It does not pay to persist in having one’s own way, {TDG 225.4}

This is a powerful one, especially when we have high standards. Sr. White was writing to her husband who believed he was right on a subject, and he pushed it in the church. She was giving him counsel not to talk about it, to keep it quiet. “We want unity in the church. It is not of importance. To you it is important, but it is not important according to God.” Now that is tough. You really believe something and you go along and barge ahead wanting your own way.

It does not pay to persist in having one’s own way, to be unwilling to yield in the little things which are of small consequence, thus bringing bitterness and wrath into the home. Life is too short, too full of sorrow. We have no time to spare for the bruising of any sore, tempted heart. {TDG 225.4}

Let each one be kind and considerate of the other. Never let the sun go down upon your wrath. {TDG 225.5}

You may have got wild at your marriage partner, and what do you do? “I am not talking to you.” Does that happen? You can’t settle the problem in your life and this person has really annoyed you through the day and now you ignore them, and you go to bed with that ignoring attitude and the next morning you wake up with that ignoring and it is painful.

Never close your eyes in sleep without making right the little, pettish difficulties which hurt and bruise the soul. {TDG 225.5}

Here is the counsel.

When you are tempted to think or speak unwisely, kneel wherever you are, and pray till you find rest in Jesus. I am sure that He will not leave you or forsake you. {TDG 225.6}

What would happen if everybody did this in the home? How many times would we drop to our knees to be like that? This is the counsel. But now comes the how, to be able to succeed in doing those things that will make life in the home a pleasant and happy experience.

We all need to study the life of Christ and the lessons He gave, that we may know how to conduct ourselves in our relation with one another. Cherish the soothing influence of the Spirit of God. Remember that speech is a talent of great value, if used aright, and that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. {TDG 225.2}

If we are filled with the soothing influence of the presence of the Holy Spirit, what will our mouth speak? It is self-evident, isn’t it? I will be under the influence of the softening movement of the presence of God and I will speak soft, beautiful, kind and courteous words. The consciousness of God’s presence will produce that.

Jesus desires to make celestial harmony in your soul. Read His words, not with discouragement, but with confidence and hope. {TDG 225.7}

When you read those words you think, I can’t reach that. That is a discouraging conclusion. Read it with hope.

Listen to the blessed words which God speaks to you. Walking with Christ means to believe that, though unseen, Christ is walking with you.–Letter 104, Aug. 4, 1901, to E. K. Beaman. {TDG 225.7}

Here is the answer. For me to be courteous, kind and not to push my own will, and if the other person really wants it so badly, to give in without a problem; how can that happen? It can only happen if the presence of the Lord is there in the heart. We have some precious answers here of how.

Serving Others

There is then the activity of serving and reaching out to others – the spiritual ministry. How does that come into practice? Sr. White received a dream and she sent it to Willie White and to Br. Kellogg.

On Wednesday night I had a dream. In my dream I was preparing to attend an important meeting where we were expecting to meet Dr. Kellogg and W. C. White. Willie came into the room unexpectedly, and I was surprised and glad to greet him. There was altogether a changed look on his countenance. He said, “Mother, I have it; I have found peace and rest and fullness in Jesus Christ. I know now, as never before, what it means to abide in Christ. My heart, my mind, my flesh, are all the Lord’s. My will is to do the will of God. I feel a new and spiritual life, and all who have this spiritual life are ‘alive unto God.’ Christ is the very substance, the fountain of life, to every believing heart.” {18MR 286.1}

“I feel the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining in my heart. I realize that I am in the presence of God, under the protection of One who never slumbers nor sleeps. I know that in God I live, and that every step I take, every beat of my heart, every motion of my pulse, is the action of His power. As never before I am alive to a sense of His preserving care.” {18MR 286.2}

Then the door opened, and Dr. Kellogg came in, the very same light shining in his countenance. Willie linked his arm in that of the doctor’s, and said, “The Lord has given us both an advanced and rich experience. We have been learning that we ourselves cannot help soul or body, try as hard as we may. {18MR 286.3}

In serving and ministering we try to change people, we try to make an impact in people’s lives. What does Willie White say in Sr. White’s inspired dream? “We ourselves cannot help soul or body, try as hard as we may.” Have you tried to change people? and have you succeeded?

But now we can say, ‘I will therefore lay me down, and take quiet sleep; and I will awake, for the Lord sustaineth me.’ Being alive to a sense of God’s presence, we are alive to His favor. It is more precious to us than the praise or honor of the greatest men of the earth.” {18MR 286.3}

“The Lord has lifted upon us the light of His countenance. Now we will make known God as never before. Our conversation will be in heaven, and we will draw souls to His attractive loveliness. Our hope of success is in the truth we bring before the people, presenting it in every line in prophetic history, leading step by step to the close of time with the simple exhibitions of the wonders of the cross of Calvary. {18MR 287.1}

Can you see this beautiful statement? The truth of all the prophecies is on a different scale entirely when the presence of God is there. When the presence of God is there, ministry will be different. Here is the answer to witnessing and working effectively – it is the sense of God’s presence that will produce true ministry. If you want to preach a good sermon, those of you who feel challenged to preach, there is the answer.

Purity

We want to have purity in our life. We can try to be pure but the temptations get us. What did we read?

Keep ever before you this truth: “Wherever I am, whatever I do, Thou, God, seest me.” It is not possible for the least item of our conduct to escape the observation of the One who says: “I know thy works.” The depths of every heart are open to the inspection of God. Every action, every purpose, every word, is as distinctly marked as though there were only one individual in the whole universe and all the watchfulness and scrutiny of God were employed on his deportment. {5T 627.2}

God’s presence is there; He sees everything.

Shall we then break even one precept of His law and teach others to do so, by evasions, by assertions, by falsehoods, in the very sight of the Lawgiver? Shall we brave the sentence in the very face of the Judge? {5T 627.2}

The presence of God will keep me pure after I have been impure. The presence of God will chase away, as did the presence of Jesus, all the corruption out of the human temple.

“Thou God seest me” (Genesis 16:13). Let these words be kept ever in mind. They will be a safeguard against imprudent, passionate speeches, against all desire to domineer. They will repress words that should never be spoken, and resolutions that men have no right to make–resolutions that restrict the liberty of human beings. {UL 227.6}

When we know that God’s presence is there, that the mind is affected by that presence, it will safeguard against imprudent, passionate speeches, against all desire to domineer. Do you need that, husband, over your wife; or, wife, over your husband? Do you want to domineer because you want your way? This will disappear in the consciousness of God’s presence. It will lead to purity; it will lead to government over my soul in every respect.

Respecting Others’ Rights

God is observing everything that transpires in the office. “Thou God seest me,” should be always in mind. Everyone who bears responsibilities in the office should be courteous and kind to all. An ever-abiding sense of the presence of Christ would prevent the encroachment upon others’ rights which is so common in the world’s practice, but which is an offense to God. {5T 558.2}

When you are in the presence of God, you realise that what I am pushing for is actually encroaching upon the rights of others and it is a total disrespect to them. The moment you put your foot down and domineer, you will see, Now I am actually encroaching upon their right and I am not giving them respect, the deep respect for another person. How important is this element in the river of life, the game of life.

Meekness

Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ; we are to draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him, the living Bread that came down from heaven, drawing from a fountain ever fresh, ever giving forth its abundant treasures. If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him, we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life. Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak His mysteries to us personally. Often there will come to us a sweet joyful sense of the presence of Jesus. Often our hearts will burn within us as He draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. When this is in truth the experience of the Christian, there is seen in his life a simplicity, a humility, meekness, and lowliness of heart, that show to all with whom he associates that he has been with Jesus and learned of Him. {COL 129.3}

This consciousness of God’s presence will produce meekness. When this sense of God’s presence is in our experience, it will produce humility, meekness, unselfishness.

What We Do When We Shut Away God’s Presence

If God’s presence is not cherished and kept there, what will finally catch up with us? Sr. White is speaking of the Pharisees and the priests:

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). How would they see God?–in the way that Enoch saw Him. They had the privilege of walking and talking with God. By faith Enoch lived in the presence of God three hundred years. By faith he saw the faith of Jesus. He was taken into special favor with Him. The priests and rulers needed just such an experience as Enoch had. They needed a continual sense of the presence of God. O what riches of grace the Lord longed to bestow upon the favored people of God. It is represented in the call to the supper prepared for them, “All things are ready: come” (chap. 22:4).–Manuscript 96, Sept. 23, 1897, “The Jew’s Rejection of Christ.” {TDG 275.4}

This is what the Pharisees could have had, but what did they do? Did they live in the consciousness of His presence?

And yet they [the Jewish leaders] would not receive Him. {TDG 275.3}

I want you to examine yourself. When you are in a tight corner in a discussion with another person, maybe it is between husband and wife, maybe there is a tangle somewhere in our relationships and it is making our life unhappy; you focus your attention sharply on what you want to get across and that other person isn’t giving you that right or doesn’t agree with you, what do you do with the sense of God’s presence at that time? You want this so badly that you just push the sense of God’s presence away. I have done it. I have noticed God sometimes drawing close to me and I have done that and I think, What am I doing?? God is right there trying to influence us, but because the subject is so intense in our experience we keep on pushing the sense of His presence away. What happens?

While they claimed to keep the law, they denied it by their works. Having eyes they saw not, because of the ignorance that was in them through the hardness of their hearts. The impurity of their hearts, the defiling practices of their lives, their selfishness, their envy, their jealousy, their evil surmising, their transgression of the law of God, while they claimed to keep it, bore continual testimony as to their character. By the fruit the tree was known. Christ laid bare their true character. He declared that they were “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7). {TDG 275.3}

They brushed Jesus aside because of their selfishness, their envy, their jealousy, their evil surmising, their transgressions, etc. Do we find those characteristics at work sometimes in our life? That is what happens. We will persevere in our evil surmising, we will dig in our heels and say, No, this is what I know is the case, instead of saying, Lord, You know the truth, I am going to surrender to Your influence. This evil surmising, this jealousy, this envy continues to work to brush aside the sense of God’s presence.

Here are the two great principles–love to God and love to our neighbor. Upon these two principles hang all the law and the prophets. Those who fail in their fulfillment of these vital principles, though they profess a knowledge of the truth, though they preach the Word and understand all mysteries, “shall eat of the fruit of their own doings, and be filled with their own devices.” Those who cherish suspicion and imagine evil, reveal that they are not carrying out the principles of this law; and they pursue a course which brings upon themselves the evils which they imagine. God will not be trifled with. His word is to be cherished and obeyed. {18MR 2.1}

What will happen as we brush off the sense of God’s presence? We will engage in these objectionable characteristics of suspicion, imagining evil, and as we do that we will experience the consequence.

I once shared that with you from the Scriptures that you will devour one another. That is what the end of the world will be. Brother will fight against brother, they will devour one another; they will be placed under Satan’s pall. The master of the art of living, of the game of life, is our Lord Jesus Christ. To master this art of living in our life, we are to reach out for the sense of God’s presence and hold onto it for dear life. By His presence you will know the path of life, you will know the art of living; you will become skilful. May God help us to realise that with all these things that we have contemplated here there is a simple answer – the presence of God, to hold it for your life. May this be our decision is my prayer.

Amen.

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Posted on December 14, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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