September 13 - How to Invoke God’s Presence
The goal of every Christian community is to maintain the presence of God among them. It is so easy to drive away the presence of God through human sin. The presence of God is the only true authentication of a truly “Christian” community. At the end of his second Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul gives the believers five keys for invoking the presence of God. If they could have these five characteristics in their community, the God of love and peace would be with them.
First, they must rejoice, be happy and be cheerful. The absence of joy is a symptom of spiritual sickness due to a lack of faith in the Lord. If the Lord is alive and cares for us, there is no reason why we should be sad. Sadness is the loss of hope and our hope is in the Lord who never changes. Joy is the hallmark of a believing community and sadness has no place in it.
Second, there must be perfection, or growth to perfection. We must be fully restored to God and to one another, growing in the faith and in the Word. Our goal is the fullness of Christ in our lives and we must keep on growing and never stopping. Sin often takes us on other paths away from the Lord. Spiritual hunger is an indication that we are healthy spiritually.
Third, there must be mutual encouragement. God is a God of Comfort and we must comfort one another. When we are down, we must receive comfort from others and not insisting on our feelings. Encouraging one another is a command and we must be diligent in bringing comfort and encouragement to others.
Fourth, there must be agreement with one another. Be of one mind is not an easy task for everyone has his or her own thinking. Having the mind of Christ is a sign of maturity as we abandon our own ideas and opinions in search of the heart of God in all things. Only spiritual maturity can bring in harmony among believers.
Finally, there must be peace among believers. When we willingly give up our own ideas and agree with one another, God’s name is exalted. Oppositional behavior has no place in the house of God and when we cannot agree, arguments and fighting can result. When there is no peace, the God of peace cannot be there.
Be one who brings in the presence of God in your community. Check on yourself: Are you happy? Are you growing? Are your spirits up? Do you think in harmony with others? Do you agree with others? Is the God of love and peace with you and your church? Begin now to bless others in your community by the five injunctions of Paul and ask God to change you into a child of peace.
Ps 104:1-9 Isa 12:1-14:32 2 Cor 13:1-14 Prov 23:9-11