In the Bible it is written: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
It is common for Christians to invite God to come into their presence, to tell Him He is welcome in their midst, and to court Him. We warmly ask the Holy Spirit to “come fill this place…” to bless our meetings, our prayer times, our homes … as if He is somehow reluctant to do so.
When one courts the manifest presence of God one implies that God is not manifestly present, that it is appropriate for Him to be present — and that when He is not manifestly present where it is appropriate for Him to be present … then asking Him to manifest Himself should move Him to do so. This concept of God is essentially pagan: God is not like this.
God calls us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind here: God is always seeking to manifest Himself. His fundamental motive in Creation, in the entirety of His eternal plan, is to make Himself known. This can be seen in Romans 9:22-3: “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory… ?”
God is quick to reveal Himself when it is appropriate for Him to do so. When He is not manifestly present it is simply because He has been excluded by rebellion and sin. When the rebellious condition is corrected, when it is appropriate for God to be present … He need not be invited: He will reveal Himself in such a place immediately.
No, do not act as if God is not present with you in all of his fullness due to lack of interest on His part, due to distance he himself has arbitrarily imposed. Do not pretend to be the pursuer of God, the one generating initiative in your relationship with Him. The above text in James 4:8 tells us that the problem in the divine relationship is not found in God … it is found in you. When lacking the manifest presence of God Almighty, when he is not near … do not look up: look within.
The picture God gives to us is … “ Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” (Re 3:20a) God is effectively speaking to you … within your locked up, sealed up, lights off … “WARNING: NO VISITORS!” house … to you who lie inside, sleeping in the dark of your God-lessness … thinking you have been seeking Him and inviting Him into your empty, self-oriented, self-controlled life. He says to you, “Behold!!” It’s not the way you think it is. He is standing … outside … knocking.
He is standing outside. He is standing outside of your self-reliance, outside of your self-sufficiency, outside of your self-confidence, outside of your traditions and man-made rules and doctrines, outside of your love of the world, your pleasure seeking, your ease loving, your pride and carnality and wordly wisdom and financing. He is standing outside of your prayerlessness, outside of your coldness, outside of your apathy, outside of your complacency, outside of your faithlessness.
He stands outside of you, in all of your profound emptiness … knocking … knocking … knocking.
God is not only outside knocking, He is calling out to you … from without … shut out of your life by you … pleading with you. “If any man hear my voice …” (Re 3:20b) God’s voice rings out now, as it did in the Garden long ago … “Where art thou?” (Ge 3:9b)
No, it is not at all as you have supposed … that the absence of God is in the fact that He has wandered away. It is not up to you now to go find Him and entice Him back. The solution to your God-less life, my friend, the cure for all of your dead works, your dry and thirsty heart, your meaningless days, is not to continue sitting inside, in the darkness of your selfishness and sin … inviting Him to come in. The answer to the God-less life … my dear friend … is to quit hiding from Him.
Repent. Stop evading. Stop running. Take out the ear plugs. Unplug from the relentless pace, the busy-ness, the activity. Quiet yourself. Pause. Listen. Listen until you can hear Him outside knocking and calling out to you.
Then wake up. Get up. Get the lights on. (Eph 5:14) Your spirit is His candle, searching all your inward parts. (Pr 20:27) Look about inside. Look at all of that crap between you and the door of your life … see the blockades and barriers and distractions and dirty refuse of every kind that you have put between your heart and God.
Now move toward the door … make a path toward it through all of the junk. Put aside all of the things you have stacked up against it to prevent His entrance … all of the garbage and refuse and blockage between you and that door. “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset” you. (He 12:1) Make a straight path to it. Yes, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord.” (Ja 4:8)
Once you are at the door … there’s only one thing left to do.
When you have heard God’s voice and prepared to open the door to Him, then do it: “… open the door.” (Re 3:20c) Opening the door of your life to God is to give Him access to every part of you … to the deepest places within. Not merely access though … it is to say … “I am Your home.” It is giving Him the key to your entire life and keeping no spare. It is yielding to Him absolute ownership, granting Him complete control, nurturing an intent to implicitly and immediately obey whenever His will is made known to you. Once you do this, you have the promise of God: “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Re 3:20d)
Once He’s inside … be sure, He’ll be cleaning house. But now, it’s dinner time!