Presence Devotion #29

Heidi Waddell

Scripture

Galatians 5:22-25 AMP

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Do you wonder whether you have been in the presence of Jesus? Many experience the manifest presence of God through feeling Him, receiving revelation, prophecies or speaking in tongues. What can be said then for those who don’t experience God in this way? Where is the evidence that we have been in the presence of God?

You will know whether you have been long in the presence of God by the fruit you bear, ‘for out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks’ (Luke 6:45). In your daily interactions do you see the fruit of the Spirit being exhibited through you? The fruit of spending time in God’s presence is evident in how you relate to those around you. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s character to us. If we are spending time with Him, then our character becomes increasingly more like His, and thence we see the fruit pouring forth.

If we live by the Spirit, if our life comes from Him, then let us also be guided by him. In everything, let our hearts be listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Does God not do all things with our best interests in mind? If we follow His guidance then we cannot be led astray. The temptation is to listen to the loud voice of the world, saying that what God has to offer by way of His Spirit is not enough. But there is no evidence that the ways of the world lead us to abundant life. Rather, the evidence shows that what the world gives is never enough, and it draws us deeper and deeper into sin in order to fill a void within us that will never be filled by that means. Instead, when we have decided to crucify our ‘flesh’, we learn to live in the presence of God.

When we have been with Jesus, if we have opened ourselves up so that He may fill the void within us, then as a result, we cannot help but love—even those who despise us. We cannot help but have patience—even when we do not have things go our own way. We cannot help but be gentle—even in response to temper and injustice. We cannot help but practice self-control—even when temptation dances within our reach. Joy remains in us—even when our situations seem hopeless.

This is the evidence of Christ in our lives; that despite whatever may come against us, our response is Christ-like; a display of the fruits which represent the character of God. We become a blessing to those around us, even to our enemies, and the glory which has been revealed to us by God’s Word and by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be revealed to others, and through us, they may experience the Grace of God first-hand.

So do not be concerned with how you experience the presence of God, and whether or not your experience is as obvious or tangible as your neighbours’. So long as His good fruit is being produced in your life, you can know with certainty that you have been in His presence.

Reflective Questions

1. What fruits of the Spirit do you feel are strongly evident in your life?
2. What of the nine fruits of the Spirit do you feel you struggle with?
3. What Spiritual Disciplines can you introduce into your daily routine so that the fruits of the Spirit become habitual, or more habitual in your life?