Are we, individually and as a church, truly experiencing Godâ€™s presence?
Jesus said, â€œWhoever 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 himâ€ (John 14:21 ESV).
The Amplified Bible says, â€œI will make Myself real to him.â€
Isnâ€™t this what we want â€“ for Jesus to make Himself real to us?
Read the first part of the verse again. Do we truly love God? Do we desire to experience His presence in such a way that weâ€™re willing to obey His Word? What about the verses that speak about loving others?
Do we love God enough to forgive â€œseventy times sevenâ€ (Matthew 18:22 AMP) when someone expresses a different political opinion time after time? Are we committed to loving others as Christ loves us, even when they infuriate or just plain bother us?
Or would we prefer to hold on to our grudges and forfeit a manifestation of Godâ€™s presence?
Unrelenting animosity is rampant â€“ sadly even in the Church. Doesnâ€™t it seem as if the enemy especially enjoys stirring up trouble among Godâ€™s beloved?
Bear in mind that the world can see how well (or badly) weâ€™re following Jesus by the way we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ. Can others clearly see whether you or I are Christ-followers? Or do we leave them wondering?
Jesus says, â€œBy this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one anotherâ€ (John 13:35 ESV).
What would happen if we, the body of Christ, loved one another in our communities, on social media, and within our churches so magnificently that those observing took notice?
What if we actually behaved in a Christ-like way toward one another instead of just talking about it?
We could start by asking God to search our hearts to show us where weâ€™ve failed in our relationships and humbly ask those weâ€™ve offended to forgive us. As the Holy Spirit continues to reveal our imperfections, weâ€™ll also likely be compelled to offer grace to those who are also imperfect.
A great way to obey God and express our love for others is to pray for those weâ€™ve been holding grudges against (and for those holding grudges against us) and ask God how He wants to use us to meet their needs.
Letâ€™s obey Godâ€™s Word. Letâ€™s stop letting our divisiveness and petty disagreements eat away at our relationships.
Most of all, letâ€™s truly experience Godâ€™s presence â€“ and allow Him to make Himself real to us as never before.
Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, www.TodayCanBeDifferent.net. Connect with her at SherylHBoldt@gmail.com.