Have you ever felt disconnected from God? You know He’s there, but the perception of His presence is distant at best.
Despite how we may feel at times, our inability to experience God’s presence does not equate to separation from God’s love: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” and “this is eternal life, that we may know the one true God.” (John 3:16, 17:3) Knowing God requires holiness because He is only Holy. It is my understanding that because of Who God is, we may experience a disconnect in our comprehension or understanding of God’s presence in our life as a result of our own distractions or disobedience. Therefore, these pains of loneliness sound an alarm in our hearts so that we may recognize our tendency to stray. And, in doing so return our attention to God.
He may feel distant to us, but His love is not contingent upon our feelings. The sting of separation in our awareness of His presence brings us back to the Word. By the power of His Word, the Spirit of Truth works in and through us to produce the fullness of His love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. That sting brings us back into a space that is once again, saturated with Him – Holy.
Again, this perceived disconnect does not mean that His love is absent. On the contrary, I believe the experience to be evidence of His relentless pursuit for our souls beyond simply making us feel good about ourselves. God is only Holy, thus He dwells in Holy places. If we are living temples of a Holy God, then it makes sense that we must be Holy in order to experience the fullness of His presence.
If we refuse to obey God, living life on our own terms, He will stop at nothing to get our attention. God says He is with us, but He is also for us, desiring that we would turn to Him, confess our sins, repent of our wrongdoing, and receive the gift of forgiveness that only Christ can offer. In doing so, Jesus purifies us from the inside out. His holiness makes us holy so that the Holy and perfect God can dwell freely in our hearts, with us as living temples made Holy and glorious through Christ alone – not of our own doing.
As Christ makes us new, so He makes it possible for God to dwell in our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Truth is truth regardless of our thoughts and actions: God loves us when we are abiding in Him, and He loves us when we are living in sin just the same.
What does change as a result of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit is how we experience His unfailing love:
The Bible says that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) As we abide in Him, we “are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him [we] too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Thus, we can join in the blessings that the apostle Paul prays over those who follow Jesus in Ephesus, that we, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that (we) may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19) Essentially, abiding in Christ brings us into the actualization of His love, like white on rice.