Last month I wrote that God is near to everyone, everything and everywhere; he is omnipresent. But there is an added dimension to the “everywhereness” of God. He not only contains everything, he also penetrates everything to its deepest core. God is immanent.
Yet, even though we know that God is always near, a sense of his presence can vary. Sometimes we feel far away from him. Take a moment to reflect on how close you’ve felt to God in the past five days, using a scale of 1 (close) to 5 (not close). Why have you felt this way about the presence of God in your life?
A.W. Tozer says our sense of closeness to God has to do with the conscious manifestation of God’s presence within us. Yet God’s Word tells us very clearly that when we believe in Jesus, he dwells within us and we are new creations (John 14:23; 2 Cor. 5:17).
As believers, we have this seed of new life in us, but the seed needs to grow. As we become more and more like God, we experience his fullness within us. Certainly we must “live by faith”, but we must also pay attention when we feel distant from God. This feeling may be a signal that something is not right in our relationship with him. Tozer reminds us that Jesus is our example of what being like God is all about. He is holy, unselfish, loving, kind, forgiving, humble, zealous, and more.
How do you measure up against these qualities? I don’t do so well! Tozer says we need to engage in some real soul-searching about our Christ-likeness if we are to feel near to God.
Have you any tears for that distance between you and God that you know isn’t there, and yet you feel is there? You’re not diminishing in any way the things God has already done in your life. You’re grateful and thankful for every blessing, for justification, for the good grace of God on your life. But you can’t escape that sense of remoteness, and many a day is a heavy one because God seems far from you. You know He isn’t but you feel He is. He can’t show His face. You’ve allowed self-indulgence, harshness, a vengeful spirit, lukewarmness, pride and worldliness to put a cloud over the face of God.
If we can’t “see God’s face”, perhaps we need to repent of how unlike Jesus we truly are and change our heart and behavior. Let’s not allow ourselves to get used to feeling distant from God. Talk to God about making some changes and feel his presence within you. I pray that you will know his inherent affection for you as his beloved child.
This is the ninth post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in “The Attributes of God Volume 1 with Study Guide: A Journey Into the Father’s Heart.”