When I traveled with Life Action Ministries in the 1970s, my life was saturated with thoughts of knowing God, and loving and pleasing Him. After I left the ministry, got married, and children came along, it wasn't that I forgot about the need for revival, but rather that other things seemed more important than constantly "seeking God" at the time.
Wrapped up in busyness for God and family, I allowed my own ideas about life to take precedence over seeking God's face and making sure that He was speaking life into my everyday routines. We all have periods of dryness, but after a while, I realized how desperately thirsty I'd become. I couldn't seem to find a way to quench my deep thirst; I felt I'd always be a "sipper" at the fountain of life.
In God’s Providence, in 2001, I returned to Life Action as a writer and researcher for Revive Our Hearts. A few years ago, as I attended the annual staff “Revival Week”—a time of intense preparation for another year of ministry—I heard these simple words: "Everything flows from the presence of God." These words, spoken by Pastor Bill Elliff, powerfully altered my thinking. I wept for a long, long time, letting the words sink into my soul.
At that time, life was not "flowing" for me. I felt stagnant and shallow, insecure and incompetent. So Pastor Elliff’s words haunted me when I returned home. If everything flows from God's presence, I thought, I need to make sure that’s where I’m living.
I asked myself, How do I get back into God's presence? and heard, “I’ve always been here.”
Then why don’t I sense your presence? "You don't spend time with me."
I'll admit that I spiritually rolled my eyes. Prayer. Bible reading. Meditation. I was doing them all. But then I unpacked what the Spirit was trying to tell me, to teach me.
I was praying about others' requests in emails, on Facebook, and at church; but I wasn't communing with God. I was reading my Bible for facts and for my job, but I wasn't reading with the intention of obeying what God showed me. I was mulling over questions I had about philosophy and apologetics, but I wasn't allowing the Spirit of God to press the Word deep into my soul and give me solid inner strength.
Over time, I realized that seeking the Lord in revival is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, and it’s not once-for-all. But there is a beginning point. David told Solomon, ". . . set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God" (1 Chron. 22:19).
So I intentionally set my mind and heart to seek God, get into the Word for more than knowledge, and understand what it means to be "in Christ,” to live in His presence. I searched for a visual picture that would help me understand. How could I dwell in God's presence?
A speaker at a women's conference supplied the illustration. Shelly Volkhardt stood on the platform behind a table and filled a small glass with water.
"That represents you, a believer," she said, “a believer filled with the Spirit of God.”
Then she set that cup of water into a larger container and filled the second container until the water overflowed the smaller cup and then continued to the top of the larger container. She explained that the larger container represents Christ Jesus. We, the smaller glass, are "in Christ."
I clearly saw that no matter what comes into my life, it will be filtered through the presence of Christ. Before anything can reach the smaller vase, it must pass through the water surrounding the vase!
Resting in my position in Christ means that I am safe and deeply loved. It’s not a matter of striving to sense His presence, but knowing that He is always there. I simply need to live as though that’s true.
I cannot tell you the relief I've discovered in this. No striving. Just resting and allowing the power of the presence of Christ to flow in my life.
"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11, emphasis added).
What does it mean to you to rest in your position in Christ?