Do you seek God? Do you seek Him first? Do you seek to know God above anything else, like how to pay your bills, how to keep your family safe, even before things like serving Him? God wants us to know Him. One of my favorites of Jesus’ teachings is about how to know God more. It presents a profound picture of relationship that can and will change our lives if we let it.
John 14:8-21 reads,
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
In response to Phillip’s request for Jesus to reveal the Father, Jesus replies that He has been with them all this time and they haven’t recognized Him or known Him yet. He said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Why? How? Because as Jesus said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” we know that to know Jesus is to know the Father and to know the Father is to know Jesus. The intimacy of that relationship is just astounding. A few verses later Jesus gives us the awesome news that we too can have that same relationship! He says,
“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!
18-20 “I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you” (John 14:15-20 The Message).
John 14 gives us several reasons why having God indwell us and dwelling in God is not only good and beautiful but mindbogglingly marvelously miraculous. Firstly, Jesus said that the Father dwelling in Him gave Him authority so that each word He spoke manifested to works. And He promised us that same authority when He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Sometimes we can get confused about the definition of glorify as it has become known as worship and exalt. And it means that, but it means it because we make God known, we make Him famous. The true definition of the glorify is the ultimate revealing of God. Jesus did everything He did to show us God and bring us to Him. He is the supreme and perfect image of the Father and believers will reach that glory as well as the Spirit transforms us to the image of Christ (Colossians 1:15). And this brings us to the next wonderful result of this dwelling and indwelling of God in us and we in God, He is glorified, He is made known. Jesus said that Philip and the other disciples would have known the Father had they known Him. People who know us, should be led to know Jesus because of who we are in Him. Do we obey Him? Do we love as He loved? Do people know us by our love? Perhaps, we are not as intimate with the Lord as we think. Perhaps, we are not abiding quite in God.
Next and perhaps the best part of is what Jesus promised in verse 21, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Now, we know God loved us first, His love for us is not reliant on whether or not we love Him. It is, in fact, the other way around, our ability to love is because God loved us first and our love is proof and demonstration of God’s love. 1 John 4:13-21 says it this way,
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
The love Jesus talked about in John 14 is a tangible active love that is demonstrated in obedience, faith, and the greater works He spoke about. This is real love. Like James said, to say ‘be well’ is just lip service, it is the deed that proves the love (James 2:15-16).
The fact that God abides in us is flabbergasting! We have authority to do the works that Jesus did, to make the Father known, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to love as Jesus loved us, and to know that we have nothing to fear. We have the hope of Salvation. All because God chose to abide in us. The Spirit is powerful and He chooses to indwell you! That is the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). He has the power to help you overcome sin and live in the freedom of grace as the sons and daughters of God. As His children we are heirs with Jesus Christ, carriers of His name, His image, and His authority, all because He abides in us.
Abide means to lodge or remain with to travel with. But there is some choice on our part. You see, we can choose to trust and obey, we can choose to rely on Him and recognize His power within us or we can choose to quench the Spirit and feed into our basal desires. While we walk with the Spirit, we glorify the Lord but when we stifle Him, we exalt ourselves. Let’s read what Paul said about this in 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the house of God, and that the Spirit of God lives among you in his house? 17 If anyone defiles and spoils God’s home, God will destroy him. For God’s home is holy and clean, and you are that home.
18 Stop fooling yourselves. If you count yourself above average in intelligence, as judged by this world’s standards, you had better put this all aside and be a fool rather than let it hold you back from the true wisdom from above. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As it says in the book of Job, God uses man’s own brilliance to trap him; he stumbles over his own “wisdom” and falls. 20 And again, in the book of Psalms, we are told that the Lord knows full well how the human mind reasons and how foolish and futile it is.
21 So don’t be proud of following the wise men of this world. For God has already given you everything you need. 22 He has given you Paul and Apollos and Peter as your helpers. He has given you the whole world to use, and life and even death are your servants. He has given you all of the present and all of the future. All are yours, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ is God’s (The Living Bible).
What about the other part of it, that is us dwelling in or abiding in God? Let’s take a look at the wonderful joy of abiding in God or dwelling in God. Dwelling in God is about your relational position to God, so you have a choice about what you believe, who you understand God to be, and how you understand He thinks of you. These choices affect your relationship with Him, the better you know Him, the closer you will be to Him. The more time you spend getting to know Him, the closer you will be to Him.
You can be in the same room as someone and be considered near to them, but if you are sitting by their side or at their feet, you are obviously closer than the person sitting across the room. If you spend every day with a friend, you are closer to them than the person who sees them once a week. If you spend your time with a person talking about yourself, you will not be as close as the friend who spends time in communication, listening, asking, and actively seeking to know the person. We can call ourselves a friend but really only be an acquaintance. It is no different with God. Let’s look at some of what the Word of God has to say about it.
Psalm 27 reads,
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
David’s desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord so that he can see Him and inquire of Him. Because David seeks God’s face, that is presence, voice, and will, he doesn’t fear, he is protected, and he knows his eternity is secure. And like us, as David’s enemies do all they can to hurt him, as chaos reigns around him, David declares his belief, as if to remind himself, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” He is saying, ‘I don’t have to wait until I am dead to see God, I see Him now while I live!’ Then David reminds himself what dwelling in God’s house means. It means to wait for the Lord; don’t fight the enemy without God, wait and see what God will do, wait and hear what God will say. That is what takes real courage and strength, letting God be God rather than letting us take action without God’s commandment.
Why do I say that dwelling in God is positional and we have a choice in that position? Because of statements like the one that beings Psalm 91
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
You see, the psalmist words it as our choice. “He who dwells,” the person who dwells in God’s shelter will abide in His shadow. His shadow doesn’t cover everyone, it covers those who are dwelling in His shelter or secret place. The psalmist then goes on to tell us a few of the privileges of abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. He uses two awesome names for God here, first “the Most High” which explains God’s superior sovereignty over everything. Then He calls Him “Almighty” referring to His omnipotence, His power over everything.
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
The first thing that is promised is that He will deliver you from the fowler’s trap, a bird trap. The trap killed the bird but more often it brought it into the use of the trapper or his customers’. If we are in God’s protection, no one will be able to use us for their purposes, we are set aside for God’s purposes, not the enemy’s.
Furthermore, we will not be given over to pestilence. Pestilence is specifically a deadly and overwhelming disease that affects an entire community, something like the black plague that killed 30% of Europe’s population in the mid fourteenth century. In the Bible, pestilence is a tool of the enemy that God uses to judge. Some might consider Covid-19 pestilence; the pandemic has affected the globe. Yet, many, not all Believers, have been in direct contact with the wildly contagious disease and have not contracted it. You see, not every believer is aware that they could be under God’s protection from pestilence. Some have simply stepped outside of His shadow. They are just not as close to God as they might think. Maybe they are not ascribing God’s attributes to Him, because they don’t know Him that well or they think He couldn’t love them enough to do all that He says He will or can. But, Believer, God loves you so much! He adores you. He can and will do what He says He can. He cannot deny who He is! But, we can and if we deny Him, He will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 says,
The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful--
for he cannot deny himself.
Denying God doesn’t merely mean, saying God doesn’t exists; it is refuting or negating who He is and what He is capable of. If you say, God will not protect me or God will not heal through me or speak through me, then you will be correct. You have denied Him, and He will stand behind your words or beliefs. He gave you authority to make your words manifest to works, denying Him does the same thing, you deny He can or will and He will not.
Let’s be encouraged by reading the rest of Psalm 91.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place--
the Most High, who is my refuge --
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Read that and accept that every promise is for you, Beloved. It is contingent on your position to God, are you dwelling in His shelter and abiding in His shadow? Do you know Him as your refuge and fortress? Do you actually trust Him?
If you find like so many of us, that you have moved away from that intimate position of being in His shadow? What can we do? Here is a very quick rundown on some postures or positions with God.
- We need frequent time alone with God. Even Jesus took frequent time alone with God and He is God!
- We need time with other believers. Jesus went to church, shouldn’t we? (Luke 21:37-38, Mark 14:49, Mark 11:27). Meeting with one another helps us to draw closer to God! (Hebrews 10:21-26).
- We need to sit at Jesus’ feet, that is listen to Him, learn from Him, allow Him to teach you. Imagine the perspective from the position of sitting at anyone’s feet. You are close to them, you can hear everything they say, even if they whisper. You are aware of their breathing, their every movement. No one and nothing else can distract you from your closeness because your relationship is expressed physically, emotionally, and psychologically by your proximity. (Luke 10:38-42, Luke 8:26-39).
- We need to pray to the Father, looking up, looking toward the Father for our needs and allowing people to know that this is where we are meeting our needs and theirs, such as telling people you are praying for them and doing it and asking for God’s blessing on food or service (Mark 6:41, John 11:41-43).
- We need to kneel before God. This is not only about requesting something, it is also a position of acknowledging God’s authority and Kingship, additionally it is a position of worship. We bend our knees in submission and acknowledgment. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord! (Philippians 2:8-11).
- We need to lift up our hands, this is another position of prayer, one that Paul said we should employ (1 Timothy 2:1-10). Paul wanted men everywhere to pray this way. That means that above all this pose is prayerful. It is one that speaks to God with and without our words. In addition, this position is often a public one which communicates a oneness with people sharing in that time of supplication, prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving. Finally, according this passage just as it conveys unity, it suggests respect, unpretentiousness, and self-control. It is an external display of our mind toward God. It is a posture of blessing others while we pray and worship (Luke:24-50-53). Additionally, this posture means we reach towards God’s holiness and sanctuary (Psalm 28:2). It is a posture of desire for God (Psalm 63:1-4).
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Being still and knowing that God is God is so simple and beautiful and it is the key to dwelling in the secret place, the shelter of the Most High! Being still takes a deliberate effort and it demonstrates faith. It allows God to strengthen us and it glorifies God as His power is displayed instead of ours. Waiting on God is a magnificent expression and revelation of our faith. It is not doing nothing; it is an intentional seeking of God’s face, His will, and His voice.
Be blessed, be still, abide in the Lord, and know that you are the Temple of God and He abides in you as well. Jesus is in the Father, we are in Jesus, and His Spirit is in us. Believer, nothing is impossible with God! Nothing!