Saturday, May 2, 2009

His Presence

Bill Johnson:
"Learning to Host the Presence"

One of the greatest privileges in life is to learn to be a person that God will rest upon. He already lives in every born again Believer. But He doesn't rest upon all of us. One way I like to say it is, "He is in me for my sake, but He is upon me for yours." When He is upon us, it especially changes others around us. Jesus modeled this lifestyle in the story of His baptism in water.

When Jesus was baptized, He came out of the water, the Heavens opened, the Father spoke, and then the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove and remained. "John testified saying, 'I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of Heaven, and He remained upon Him'" (John 1:32). If, in the natural, I have a dove sitting on my shoulder and I want to go about life without it flying away, how am I going to live? Every step would be with the dove in mind.

As we become faithful in learning how to host the presence of the Lord, it is important to understand that there is a tension between two realities: He has been given to us without measure, yet what we enjoy on a daily basis has been "measured" to us according to our faithfulness. In other words, we have access to the unlimited measure of God's presence, but He doesn't entrust Himself to untrustworthy people. All of the measurements are set up on our end of the equation. He typically entrusts us with the measure of the presence we are willing to jealously guard.

We are to become His resting place—the place from which the exploits of Heaven are accomplished. For when the Lord rests upon a person, there is actually an atmospheric shift that takes place wherever that person goes. How do you think Peter's shadow healed people? Our shadow will always release whatever overshadows us. When we learn to host the presence of the Lord, we get more breakthroughs by accident than ever used to happen on purpose. That is a possibility for every Believer every day.

One of the conflicts we face in learning to host the presence is sometimes found in the very lessons we learned from the previous seasons. Believe it or not, those principles sometimes war against the actual presence of the Lord upon us. We are to use principles to plan by, but we must learn to live from the presence. And if there's a conflict between the two, presence always wins out over principle.

For example, I may be accustomed to aggressively pursuing the will of God for my life. My key verse might be Matthew 11:12, "and the violent take it by force." Living by principle has me apply what I have learned up to this point—violent faith. But in this story, the presence of God may be leading me to "receive the Kingdom as a child" (Luke 18:17). If you live entirely by principles only, you will make assumptions in certain moments and seasons that are entirely based on Scripture, but they will be in conflict with the Spirit. In this example, both violent faith and childlike faith are Biblical. It is the Holy Spirit who knows how we are to respond in each particular season or in a given situation.

We are supposed to be well grounded in what God has said so we can discern what He is saying. It is the presence of God that gives me access to continuous ongoing faith, because faith comes by hearing, not having heard. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Learning to host the presence of God provides the atmosphere of the heart where faith becomes natural and normal.

Let's commit ourselves to become the resting place of God.

Bill Johnson
Bill Johnson Ministries and