Servants' News

Jan/Feb 2003

Beholding the Lord in Our Presence

by Jerry Laws

Many times during my personal Bible study, I will ask our Father for His guidance in the direction that He wants me to go during this time. Not too long ago I was directed to the book of Acts, chapter 2. It was not Pentecost season, when we traditionally cover this chapter, so as I was reading it once again I kept looking for something new for me.

It was in the middle of Peter’s message that I did “see” something new. He was explaining to the “Men of Judea, and all who live in Jerusalem” the meaning of what they had just witnessed regarding the power of the Holy Spirit. In verses 22 through 24, Peter was beginning to bring their focus of attention to Jesus.

As he continued in verse 25, Peter spoke of the patriarch David, saying:

“For David says of Him, ‘I was always beholding the Lord in my presence; for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will abide in hope; because Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; Thou wilt make me full of gladness with Thy presence’” (Acts 2:25–28, NASB).

My eye kept coming back to the sentence, “I was always beholding the Lord in My presence…” This is a prophecy of Jesus Christ speaking of the special relationship with His Father. This was Jesus’ mind-set—“always beholding the presence of His Father with Him.” We must know from the Scriptures that there was a very intimate fellowship between Them, and this fellowship was the Source of all that Jesus did and said when He was the “Son of Man” on earth. For instance, Jesus tells us that He could do nothing on His own initiative but everything He did and said came from the Father, and “…I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 5:19, 30; 8:28–29; 12:49; 14:10).

Beauty and majesty — one quick look at God’s creation can produce inspiration and awe—with no need to understand exactly how it works. A wealthy educated person, a poor person or a little child—anyone with the spirit that God put in man—can experience the beauty and majesty of His work.

Now this understanding about the fellowship that must have existed between Jesus and His Father was not any specifically new revelation to me, although it did amplify what I already knew. However, over the next few weeks I was drawn back to these few scriptures, meditating and thinking on them. Then early one morning I was reading in Ephesians 5, where Paul admonishes the believers in Christ to be imitators of God, and the thought “be like Jesus” entered my mind, and my thinking took off like a race horse.

My thinking went something like this: Jesus is the Son of God; I too am a son of God. Jesus had the Holy Spirit dwelling within Him; I too have this same Holy Spirit dwelling within me. Then, God the Father is my Father also, just as much as He is Jesus’ Father, the Father of all.

I thought, “How wonderful it would be if I could make this part of my life—always beholding the Lord in my presence—just like Jesus did when He was on earth. If I could do this, would it not draw me closer to Him? Wouldn’t this mind-set free up the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s work in me more effectively (Phil 2:13)? Would this not make my daily walk with God easier and flow more smoothly?”

My answer to these questions was a resounding “Yes!” So then I thought I would do this and I determined to concentrate on “always beholding the Lord in my presence”. I began by posting a sticky-note above my desk quoting Acts 2:25, “I am always beholding the Lord in my presence; for He is at my right hand that I shall not be shaken.” I could then see this every time I sat at my desk, whether studying my Bible or some other type of work. Later on, the example of Daniel came to mind where he would take the time out of his busy schedule to pray with God three times every day. So I began to apply this. I already had the habit of praying early in the morning, but began to specifically ask God to grant me His grace to apply “…always beholding Him in my presence” three times each day.

I have understood from Genesis 1:26 that the original purpose of God was to “make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”. This same purpose was reiterated in Romans 8:29, but magnified “to the image of His Son”. He started out to complete His purpose with the first Adam, and is continuing with the second Adam. I have seen the overview of the process of salvation in 2Cor 3:18 where we are now “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory”. The apostle Paul’s determined purpose for his converts was shared with us in Galatians 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you”.

That’s the key. It is not that we are to strive to be better people and thereby become like Jesus. Our responsibility as believers is to yield ourselves to God, just as Jesus did when He was the Son of man, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into the exact image as the beloved Son of God. As Christ is formed in us, we will then be “better people” because we will be like Him! The parable of the vine and the branches, given to us in John 15:1–11, seems to apply here. Verse 5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in Him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing [worthwhile before the Father]”.

In the “Sermon on the Mount” Christ made a very startling statement in Matthew 5:48, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (RSV). Now this is not a suggestion, nor is it just a request, but it is a command from our Savior to all of us who profess belief in His name. This is indeed a difficult statement to grasp, and some have said that it is impossible to fulfill in this life; but it is impossible only if you leave God out of the picture (Matt 19:26; Luke 18:27).

With this in mind, permit me to paraphrase and personalize Acts 2:25–28; “As we believers in Jesus Christ always behold the Lord in our presence, and consider Him always at our right hand, then we will not be continually shaken or remain in turmoil of this world or of our Adamic nature. What peace and joy we shall have, and we can praise our God with a pure heart. Because we are sons of God, holy to the Lord, we can know that we are fully accepted in Christ, and that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise until our resurrection. The Lord will continually reveal Himself to us and teach us His way of life so that we may glorify Him by yielding to His will and walking in His life. It is with His gladness that we can sing “Praise be to God” for making His presence personally available to us.”

 

Two Aspects of God        The Mechanics of the Law and Its Biblical Application

 


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