Being open and honest about your life is an important first step towards becoming aware and becoming known. However, awareness alone is not enough. If you want to live a transformative life, you’ll need to be willing to step into the light.
Why is it important to step into the light?
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
Psalm 89:15-24 (NIV)
Coram is a Latin phrase that translates “in the presence of God.” It’s a concept that embodies the idea that as disciples, our main goal should be to live in such a way as to be in a close relationship with God.
Stepping into the light is about a desire to be close to God. It’s not about whether or not you read your Bible or prayed today, or whether or not you were a good person. Being in God’s presence means you understand and display the righteous fear, honor, and gratitude to be before his awesomeness.
Imagine meeting your hero for the first time, in real life. Whether it’s the pro athlete you’ve looked up to since you were a kid, or the movie star who’s every film you’ve memorized… An even greater sense of awe and speechlessness is the what transpires when you’re truly in the presence of God.
The Honor to be in God’s Presence
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.
Psalm 114:7-8 (NIV)
The Shelter of God’s Presence
How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues
Psalm 31:19-20 (NIV)
The Joy of God’s Presence
They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day….
1 Chronicles 29:22 (NIV)
The Power of God’s Presence
When you’re in the presence of God, it changes who you are. Take the example of Moses who, prior to spending time with God, was timid and afraid, and used whatever excuse he could to get out of doing something big.
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.
Exodus 34:29-30,33-35 (NIV)
The change was noticeable when Moses spent time with God, so much so that the Israelites were in a fearful awe whenever he’d come away from his times with God. It was obvious to them that Moses walked with God, and they were careful not to rub him the wrong way.
The Bible teaches us that this type of transformation can be experienced by anyone, even today:
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NIV)
Spending time with God today leads to a radical transformation; there’s nothing that can’t be changed when you’re in God’s presence. It means overcoming sin, addictions, or relationship damage, transforming from selfish to empathetic, bitter and hard-hearted to considerate, or proud to humble. There’s no substitute for taking time to be with God.
So how do we accomplish this? What does it take to make the time we spend with God worthwhile and as powerful as Moses’?
There’s a choice we face every day we’re alive: the choice between God and sin. There’s a conflict that exists for those of us who try to have both, because it’s not possible to be in God’s presence and also value sin, since God is, in essence, the absence of sin.
Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. “Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit…
Jeremiah 5:22-27 (NIV)
When you desire darkness, you’ve become a churchgoer, and not someone who lives in the Kingdom of God. Church is a Sunday service, a midweek service, or a devotional. The Kingdom is something you live in 24/7. It’s an important distinction to make, because we can fool ourselves into thinking we’re in the presence of God because our physical presence is in a seemingly spiritual place. However, the love of darkness is something that will undo us in the end.
Hidden and unrepented sin is what leads to this confusion. If you’re someone who is engaging in immorality, drunkenness, bitterness, or other relationship damaging sins and not talking about it with anyone, you’re sabotaging your ability to be in the presence of God. Your idea of God becomes church attendance, and it’s not long before you make the decision that it’s not worth it to keep up the facade.
The Way Out
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from blood guilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…
Psalm 51:10-17 (NIV)
Confession is something personal to God. It’s not just the process of unloading everything you feel guilty about, but rather agreeing with God about your sin and it’s affect on Him and other relationships. It’s understanding the damage done, and being adamant about making it right. It’s about clearing your conscience, because it causes distance in relationships when there’s something inside you’re holding back.
If you’ve found yourself in a spot where you’re present at every church activity imaginable but don’t feel any closer to God or still feel guilty and weighed down, the answer is to ask for a new heart and to return to God’s presence. Remember how refreshing and transformative it is to be in God’s presence, and make the decision today to unload anything and everything that you’ve been keeping locked up inside so that you can be freed up and on your way to a new life.