The Atmosphere of His Presence
Updated: Apr 9
FAITH begins with a backward look at the cross, but it lives with a forward look at the promises – John Piper.
We are commanded to look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)
The cross gives us perspective, and the promises make us focus.
So, we can live as God pleases—continually in an atmosphere of His Presence.
ONE distinct behaviour of successful people in the scriptures was to be in his presence.
The woman with the Issue of Blood sought his presence. So when she touched the hem of his garment, she was made whole (Mark 5:22-43).
David knew the atmosphere of his presence would make the difference, so he took the ephod and worshipped (1 Sam. 30:6-8).
And Psalm 16:11 says: "In His Presence, there is fullness of joy. At His right hand, there are pleasures forever more."
Some things do not stand in His Presence!
THE DISCIPLES chose Stephen as one of the deacons to serve when the Hellenistic widows were neglected.
He was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Through his hands, God performed many miracles (Acts 6:5-15).
But you must understand that the devil goes around like a roaring lion seeking who to devour.
And he isn't far behind whenever God does great things in your life.
A GROUP called the Free Synagogue arose and opposed the message he preached.
But the Holy Spirit gave him wisdom in responding to their arguments.
Whenever you reach a crossroad, God has promised to tell you what to say to the enemies of the cross. (Luke 12:12)
Wisdom was not far from him because he was a man of His Presence (Prov. 2:6).
IN RETALIATION, they spread a vicious rumour that Stephen spoke blasphemies against Moses and God.
They grabbed him and hauled him before the council.
The group had convinced some witnesses to give false testimonies.
As they did, the entire council turned to him to see how he would respond—but his face was radiant with peace.
God will keep in perfect peace whose heart is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3).
Your peace is hinged on your focus.
STEPHEN was energized because his purpose was right.
However, his journey to demonstrate Jesus didn't begin there. He lived a Christ-centred life; he was a man of his presence.
He knew that whatever he did was cumulative. His walk with God impinged on the collective walk.
Your walk with God affects others.
Joshua understood this too. So he stayed in the tent, not wanting to leave God's presence (Exod. 33:11).
You must spend time with him to be a man of his presence.
WHEN the council asked him to respond, they gave him the platform to talk about Jesus.
And in the atmosphere of His Presence, expressing Jesus became easy.
They thought that he would recant his message, but he didn't. So instead, he testified of Jesus.
He made them understand that the life of Christ is a carefully scripted story of redemption—and in it, they could write their stories.
AS STEPHEN spoke, they boiled with fury; they clenched their jaws and fists.
But he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:54-55).
Gazing to heaven in worship, he saw something they couldn't see. He saw the glory of God and Christ standing at God's right hand.
The atmosphere of His Presence took him beyond the physical—and this is where God wants you to reside.
When Jesus died, the curtain that separated the outer and the inner courts tore in two (Matt. 27:51).
So we could gain access to the holy of holies.
Isaiah had a similar encounter when he saw the Lord—and God's train filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1).
AS THEY pelted him with rocks, he knelt in prayer and said: "Lord, do not hold this evil against them."
Then, he fell asleep in death. (Acts 7:60)
He gained perspective in His Presence. You can do the same too.
Bringing it Together
OUR OBEDIENCE is God's pleasure when it proves that God is our treasure – John Piper.
Stephen had a backward look at the cross and a forward look at God's promises. So, Christ saw his light in him.
The total of your life will be what God see's in you. Will it be life or death?
My advice is that you choose life that you might live!