(week 26/01)
Olubi Johnson

In our article last week, we saw that to keep yourself pure sexually you should find the fulness of joy and pleasures in the presence of God greater than the pleasure in sex, so you will not need sex outside the will of God. In our article this week we will study the reality of the manifest presence of God that will give us this greater pleasure and joy.

Distinction between God’s person and God’s presence

God is three Persons but one God: they are One in substance, mind and character just as a husband and wife can be one; or a group of people can one:

John 17:21 (KJV): That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 

Ephesians 5:31 (KJV): For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 

Genesis 11:6 (KJV): And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 

There are three Persons in the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Each Person has a mind, will and emotions:

I John 5:7 (KJV): For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Furthermore, each Person of the Godhead has a definite image, likeness and shape:

Genesis 1:26 (KJV): And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

John 5:37 (KJV): And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

So each Person of the Godhead has spiritual (just like we have physical) members: a head, arms, legs etc. since man is made in the image and likeness of God. So God is a person with a definite image and shape: He is not a cloud or just some intangible influence. For instance the person of the Holy Spirit is described in Ezekiel 8: 2:

Ezekiel 8:2-3 (KJV): Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire; and from his loins even upward, as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber.And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. 

However, at the same time God’s influence or presence pervades the entire universe:

Psalms 139:7-8 (KJV): Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

So God is Omnipresent: in all places, at all times. He sees all and knows all. However, even though God’s presence is present everywhere it is not everywhere that God’s presence is manifest in His love, wisdom and power. In particular, in the above scripture, God’s presence is in hell but certainly it is not manifest there in His love, wisdom and power.

What is the Manifest Presence of God?

The manifest presence of God is having God’s presence manifest in love, wisdom and power to our minds, bodies and circumstances in this physical realm.

The fact that God’s presence is everywhere, however, does not mean that everyone automatically experiences it. This can be better understood from the analogy of satellite television waves. There are invisible satellite waves everywhere but only those with a television and a receiver have the opportunity to pick up those signals. Then again, out of all the people with televisions and receivers, only those who know how to orientate and power their equipment will be able to, ultimately receive. If you are born again, then you are like the man who has a television and a receiver (i.e. you have the right equipment):

Your born-again spirit is like a satellite dish receiver:

John 14:17 (KJV): Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 

The world cannot receive the signals, so to speak, of the Holy Spirit because their spirits are dead or unregenerate. But a born-again Christian can.

Your renewed mind is like a TV set or Visual Display Unit:

Psalms 16:8 (KJV): I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 

Notice here that David, obviously by faith, in his mind, sets the Lord always before him at his right hand: so you can receive pictures or thoughts in your mind of what the Spirit of God is transmitting.

Your will is like an antenna that determines how accurately you receive:

John 7:17 (KJV): If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Observe from this scripture that orientation of the will determines the accuracy of the receptivity of knowledge of God: if you will to do, you will know; if you will not to do, you will not know. Obviously the more you will to do, the more you will know. In fact the scripture speaks of those who are “wilfully ignorant” (2 Pet. 3:5) showing that they are ignorant because of the orientation of their will: they do not know because they will not to do.

The major problem, therefore, is not in having the right equipment, but in supplying adequate power to the equipment and receiving accurately.

How to Experience the Manifest Presence of God

Many Christians experience so much interference from the carnal (natural) mind and the flesh, that most of what God is transmitting to them gets lost, or contaminated, as they try to receive it. It is possible however, to have God’s presence 24-hours a day without any interference, or losses, by aligning your will correctly and powering your equipment: spirit, soul and body.

An excellent natural illustration to use to understand how we can experience God’s manifest presence is our satellite TV illustration. The scripture in Rom. 1:20 tells us that we understand spiritual things we cannot see from natural things we can see:

Romans 1:20 (KJV): For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

Today’s television technology provides us with non or semi-interactive (i.e. in some cases you can talk to people live on TV), two dimensional audio-visual contact with distant people, places and events.

But the presence of God, however, enables us to experience a fully interactive, three-dimensional audiovisual contact with God. In other words, there is nothing God could do for you in person, if, say, you were standing in front of His throne in heaven, that you cannot experience via His presence here on earth, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Consider the vision that John had of the Lord Jesus on the Isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:13-16). What John saw was actually a fully interactive, three dimensional projection of Jesus in heaven. This is similar, in a way, to seeing President George W. Bush of the U.S.A live on CNN. It is simply a vision of George Bush projected from the person of George Bush in the White House in America by the power of light and electronic technology.

John also had a live transmission from the person of the Lord Jesus in heaven by the power of the Holy Ghost, but with the added advantage of being able to have physical contact with his vision!

You can also actually feel God’s abiding power and anointing and receive healing, counsel or comfort by God’s presence transmitted from His person.

In fact the scripture says in

Psalms 16:11 (KJV):
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 

You can experience the joy of unhindered thought communication with God without interference and, by faith, see Him in your mind constantly, without having a vision like John did. I must stress that all your experience of God’s presence must be strictly by faith, for this is how we are to live:

2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV): (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  

Hebrews 11:27 (KJV): By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Consequently, you should never seek after visions because that would open the door to satanic deception (2 Corinthians 11:14). Visions are given by God only occasionally as He deems it necessary.

So to enjoy God’s presence there are 3 things you need:

1.The right attitude or willingness to do God’s will (John 7:17): this comes by daily self-judgement and repentance from anything that displeases God. —Orientation of your antenna or satellite dish to receive accurately.

2. A renewed mind that has the knowledge of God’s Word (Rom. 12: 2): this comes by daily Bible reading and meditation. — A functioning TV set.

3. The power of the Holy Spirit released by the life of God through prayer in the Spirit for at least one hour daily (Matt. 26:41, Eph. 6:18). — A generator that supplies electricity with the right voltage.

So many Christians try to get God’s presence by trying to be willing to do God’s will and getting the knowledge of scripture but still do not experience it because there is either no or insufficient power of the Holy Ghost because they do not pray fervently and effectually in the Spirit daily. This is like having a satellite dish and excellent TV set but no electricity to power the TV and the satellite dish: of course you will get no response on your TV set.

The power of the Holy Spirit is indispensable if you desire to enjoy the presence of God daily.