As believers in Christ Jesus our practice of the presence of God as a way of life, makes our relationship with Him more intimate. In order for us to be practicing God’s presence, as a way of life for a better spiritual perception of things; we first must get used to being in the spirit.
When we are in the spirit, we are able to perceive spiritual things better. We are three in one beings (spirit, soul and body), who do live in this natural world. Our ability to practice God’s presence, increases our ability and potentials in spiritual perception.
The only way that we can contact God is in the spirit, because our God is not and cannot be seen or known physically. There is absolutely nothing physical in this world, that we can equate with experiencing His presence.
Some may try to draw a comparison of God’s presence, with their own personal and physical experiences inside a building; or through their involvement in a religious gathering. But the truth at the bottom line of this is that; we may be able to participate in any of these events, without necessarily experiencing the presence of God through them. It is our ability to practice God’s presence, while we are alone that breeds our intimacy with God. The more time we are able to spend alone with God, the better for our spirit man in perceiving spiritual things.
The things of the spirit can only be understood or grasp, only when we are in the spirit and not in the flesh. We are able to relate with God only in the spirit, because He is a Spiritual being.
And just because we can perceive God’s presence, does not necessarily means that we are able to discern His presence. Spiritual perception and spiritual discernment are two different things.
There are however different ways by which we can get in the spirit, in order for us to be able to experience God’s presence. We can get in the spirit by praising and worshipping God; by continually giving thanks to Him; by reading, studying or meditating on the Word of God, or by praying in the spirit. Any of these can get us into the spiritual realm with God.
There had been many occasions, when I had personally been taken into the spirit, while being involved in each of these spiritual experiences alone. God desires for us to be in His presence at all times. He desires fellowship with us in the spirit. And there is no other way, for us to experience Him, except in the spirit.
This week we shall be taking a look at how praise and worship, strengthens us in our ability to perceive spiritual truth.
It is important to note that God reveals Himself to us, as we continually partake in any of these spiritual activities. When we practice anyone of these activities regularly, then we are in the spirit every time we do them. God ministers to us in those moments of our intimacy with Him. Any believer who wants the presence of God in his or her life, needs to be practicing any of these as a way of life.
Being in the spirit as we practice God’s presence, however has nothing to do with having goose bumps. Our God who is a Spirit comes and fellowships with us, as we engage ourselves in anyone of these spiritual activities.
PRAISE AND WORSHIP WITH THANKSGIVING
Jesus once made this statement:
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24 NIV
Worshipping God as a way of life, enables us to stay in touch regularly with our Heavenly Father, who is a Spirit. It also strengthens our spirit man in the inner witness, so as to perceive the will of God. And in being able to perceive the will of God, we are able to follow Him by faith in that revealed will to us.
God lives inside of our spirit man by His Spirit, for the purpose of helping us in perceiving His way, and His will for us to follow Him. As we praise and worship God, His presence becomes real to us.
The state of the spirit man is very important, for us to be able to grow up into spiritual maturity, through praise and worship with thanksgiving.
Praise and worship flows much more easier, from the heart that is full of thanksgiving to God.
The scripture says:
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
Hebrews 13:15 NKJV
Our continual offering of sacrifice of praise with thanksgiving to His name, moves God (who is a Spirit) in drawing closer to us, as we tarry in His presence.
Praising and worshipping God is a heart devotion, and it’s not just about singing. We can sing songs without necessarily devoting our hearts to it. And in many cases that is why some people do go to Church. They just like the singing aspect of worship, without their heart devotion. So they do get nothing out of it, except the satisfaction of their feelings during that moment of singing.
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”
Psalm 69:30 NIV
When we praise God’s name in a song, it has to come out of a heart devotion, and ‘agape’ love towards Him. We also need to be glorifying Him with the giving of thanks to Him, which comes from our heart also.
There is no other way that we can give thanks, in praising and worshipping God, without a heart devotion to Him. We are able to do this effectively by continually creating, a good spiritual atmosphere around ourselves in Praise and Worship.
Unfortunately not every believer in Christ Jesus does this regularly. By creating a good spiritual atmosphere around ourselves during praise and worship, we are preparing our hearts for God to be able to minister to us.
We can’t be hiding any unconfessed sin in our hearts, while participating in praise and worship, and yet be thinking we are spiritually okay. We must repent of the sin first, by asking God to forgive us. We then must make a quality decision never to go back into the sin again. We do this by beginning to live righteously before God. The presence of sin in the heart, is the absence of God with us and for us. If we get rid of sin, Jesus will come into our hearts to reign as we invite Him. And the benefits are uncountable during those individual moments in praise and worship.
There are also those who see praising and worshipping God in songs, as just fun and entertaining. To them there is nothing spiritual about it. Even though it is fun to spend time in God’s presence, but it is also an important spiritual experience as well. Praise and worship is not just about singing. It is the spiritual exercise of our faith before God, as we minister to Him. If we do not have the right attitude towards praise and worship, we are depriving ourselves of intimacy and fellowship with God.
God sees us and wants to fellowship with us always; but if our heart devotion is far away from Him, He cannot draw closer to us. He speaks and whispers into our heart, but we may not be listening to Him, because our heart is not devoted to Him. The fulfillment of the desires of the flesh during praise and worship, is depriving many of the ability to perceive God within their heart.
When we are praising and worshipping God, we are actually fellowshipping with God. We are in Communion with God, whenever we are lifting His name up in worship. We are sharing our intimacy with Him during such moments. God is always pleased with our worship of Him.
We do not need to necessarily be singing songs, before we worship or give thanks to God. Every time we are giving testimonies, thanking Him for who He is, or for what He did, He is doing or He is about to do – we are actually worshipping Him.
And we do not need to do this in the spirit alone. We can do it in our understanding also. When we do this in our understanding, we are affirming His Lordship in us and over our lives.
And most importantly is the fact that, the Devil hears us when we make such affirmation or confession before God. He flees away from us, as we open our mouth to praise God in our understanding. He can never stand to see us praising and worshipping God in our understanding. He slips away from us whenever we do this.
Are you being tempted by the Devil lately? You probably need as a believer in Christ, to be praising God more with thanksgiving in your understanding. It draws you nearer to God, and takes you far away from the Devil. Do not get trapped in the deceptions of the enemy. Start praising God now in your understanding. It helps in creating a good spiritual atmosphere around you.
That’s why we need to cultivate the habit, of opening our hearts and our mouth, to give Him thanks and praises at all times. It is the expression of our faith before Him, whenever we do this.
God will always minister back to us, as we minister to Him. Our spirit man opens up before Him at any of these moments. God speaks to us in such moments, or He may open up our spirit man by His Spirit within us; so that we may be able to start perceiving things that, He wants us to know.
We are enlightened when we are continually giving thanks to God through praise and worship. The light of God comes into our hearts to brighten us up.
As we continually practice this habit of giving Him thanks, and praising Him in our understanding, our mind and our flesh begins to crave in to the desires of our spirit man in worshipping Him more.
In most cases that is when our spirit man, becomes open to worship God in the spirit, or in our mysterious heavenly language, which only God who is a Spirit understands.
Worship of God in the understanding and in the spirit, brings the presence of God into our hearts.
“What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
I Corinthians 14:15 NKJV
God begins speaking to us on the inner man at this moment of intimacy with Him. Intimacy with God is cultivated as we praise and worship Him, and as we give Him thanks as a lifestyle pattern. His Spirit ministers back to us, as we minister to Him in such moments.
We therefore can worship God in the spirit and in our understanding. We can sing in the spirit and in our understanding also.
The depth of God’s Word in our hearts, is often reflected in our songs of thanksgiving to God. The Holy Spirit has the ability to dig into our heart, and bring out bible scriptures from our heart, during praise and worship in blessing us.
That’s why Paul told the Colossians:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Colossians 3:16 NKJV
When our songs in praise and worship are rich in scriptures, faith begins to rise up within us, enabling us to do exactly what we are perceiving in the spirit, as we tarry in God’s presence.
PAUL’S PRACTICING OF GOD’S PRESENCE
Paul and Barnabas practiced this as a lifestyle pattern, as they received direction from God concerning their ministry. The scriptures says on one occasion:
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
Acts 13:2-3 NIV
The scriptures says as “they were worshipping the Lord”; the Holy Spirit spoke to them about their calling. We need to note here that, all these preachers together with Paul and Barnabas were not fasting and praying, to know what God wanted them to do next. That was not their motive, as they were waiting on the Lord.
They were just practicing the presence of God. They were just doing what they were used to doing daily as a way of life. And the Holy Spirit spoke to them as they practiced God’s presence.
Praise and Worship with the giving of thanks to God, does open up our hearts to receive from God. Great things happens when we praise and worship God, especially in the most difficult situations of our lives.
When we are unable to see or perceive in our inner man, the way out of difficult situations, we need to be praising and worshiping God. This moment of fellowshipping with Him, in the midst of trouble brings great deliverances to us always.
Paul and Silas did this also while locked up in jail at the city of Philippi. They could not see or perceive a way out of their situation, but they opened up their hearts to God by just worshipping Him. If they had not been practicing this before, they would not had been able to do it at that point in time. Praise and worship was a lifestyle pattern for them.
The scriptures says:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!””
Acts 16:25-28 NIV
Paul and Silas were fellowshipping with the Lord, as they prayed and sang to Him. They were not really seeking a way of escape from jail. They were waiting on the Lord, while in His presence for Him to reveal His purpose for their being in jail.
That was why they never tried to escape, even after the chains had been broken. We do not need to be worrying about many things in life. What we need mostly is for God to show to us; His purpose for letting us go through certain things in life, that we are encountering. God wants to be glorified in the midst of our trials and tribulations.
Praise and worship helps us to perceive the purpose of God in the midst of tribulations. God sometimes does this in order for Him, to be able to put us on display through those trials and tribulations. He wants to reveal His glory for the people around us, in the midst of those trials to see and acknowledge Him as Lord.
He may not necessarily want us to be relieved from those situations, but He will show us His purpose in them, as we praise and worship Him in them.
For Paul and Silas they were practicing the presence of God in jail, to know or perceive the purpose of God for them being in the jail at that time. When we praise and worship God as a way of life, He will often come down to our level in fellowshipping with us.
God saw Paul and Silas in jail, and eventually revealed His will to them in the jail. He saw their situation and delivered them.
But their deliverance also led to the salvation of the jailer and his family – which was God’s perfect will for them, in going through what they went through. Everything that God puts us on display for before the world, are meant to glorify Him. When souls are being saved, even while we are being persecuted, then God is being glorified. The angels in the heavens are rejoicing, every time a new soul receives Jesus Christ as Lord during those moments of persecution.
We need to remember that Christ even in the midst of His crucifixion, was still able to assure a criminal of salvation.
Paul and Silas never saw or perceived this type of deliverance coming to them, but the Lord moved on their behalf anyway. When we learn to practice the presence of God through Praise and Worship, our ability to see and perceive the move of God becomes stronger.
Paul was on the way to Rome sometimes later, when his ship was faced with a storm. Every one on the boat were panicking, but Paul continued in the presence of God. God’s presence led Paul into perceiving, the purpose for the storm. Paul revealed this to the people traveling with him on the journey:
“saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.”
Acts 27:10 NKJV
Even though Paul perceived what was going to happen; he had to continue in the presence of God to understand His purpose in it. The purpose for what Paul perceived in the spirit, was eventually revealed to him from heaven.
The scriptures continues:
“But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.””
Acts 27:21-26 NKJV
Paul had to go into fasting, as he sought the purpose of God, in the midst of the storm. It was during this moment of waiting on the Lord, that an angel was dispatched to reveal God’s purpose to Paul.
Fasting and praying helps us in perceiving, the purpose for certain situations that the Lord allows into our lives. We saw that with Daniel also in Daniel chapter ten.
At that time Daniel was deeply concerned, about the captivity of His people in exile. He was fasting and praying to understand the purpose, when the Lord dispatched an angel to him, in understanding God’s plan.
We need to see here that Satan did everything, to prevent Daniel from understanding the purpose of God, as he waited in God’s presence. But his resolute and persistent spirit in spiritual warfare defeated the enemy.
In the case of Paul on the way to Rome, the salvation of every one on that journey with him, was more important to God than the storm that they all faced. God will always go to every extent to catch our attention. If He could use the storm on the sea, to get the attention of the people with Paul; He can do anything to capture your attention also.
When we practice the presence of God always, the troubles of life becomes so little before us, as we begin to perceive God’s greatness and purpose, in the midst of those troubles. The trouble may not necessarily go away, but we will receive the power from the presence of God to ride above the issue. We will come out stronger, even in the midst of those troubles; as more souls will be saved and delivered, even in the midst of every persecution that we may be facing. God’s presence gives us the strength that cannot be matched in those moments. He expects us to do great exploits for His Kingdom, even when those persecutions and trials are getting tougher for us.
DARKNESS GIVES WAY TO LIGHT THROUGH WORSHIP
We do worship God in the Spirit and in truth. Darkness cannot thrive where truth reigns. The evil one has no hold over our spirit man, because we had been redeemed from his hands by the precious blood of Christ Jesus. We are able to worship God in the Spirit and in truth, because the truth now lives and reigns in us. The knowledge of the truth was what delivered us from darkness (John 8:32).
A man who is fully devoted to worshipping the Lord, has no darkness in him (1 John 1:5-7). The spiritual perception of such a believer is powerful and precise. He lives in the truth, and because of that darkness has no hold on him.
Our best way of fellowshipping with God is through praise and worship. When we praise God with our hearts’ devotion, it pleases God and He begins to draw nearer, and closer to us.
We cannot therefore serve God and money or mammoth (the god of this world or Satan) at the same time; as we are being thankful to God through praise and worship. Light and darkness cannot thrive together. Darkness has to always give way to the light in our spirit man. The Holy Spirit gives us the light of God always.
The Bible says:
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
1 John 1:5 NIV
By continuously walking in the light through praise and worship, we are positioning ourselves where the blood of Jesus continually cleanses and purifies us. Our spiritual perception becomes stronger and sharper than ever before as this happens. Let us continue to keep the praise and worship of God flowing through the heart.