A lot of Christians haven’t had any joy, peace or power in months or even years and they go to church, sing the choruses, pray, listen to the sermons and get stirred up from time to time. Sometimes, they even enjoy listening to Christian music and gospel radio but Jesus isn’t there. Just because we’ve asked Jesus into our hearts and lives, doesn’t always mean that He’s still with us. He always wants to be with us and would love for us to be with Him but the sad truth is, a lot of people in Gospel – preaching churches haven’t had Jesus with them for a long time. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, but many Christians leave Him regularly. It happened: Jesus and His parents went on a trip, several days journey from their hometown and they had a few days of worship, feasting and time catching up with their old friends and relatives. Then, when His parents left to head home, they got up early and started their journey. In the second chapter of Luke, it says that, “They, supposing him to have been in the company, went a days’ journey; and they sought him among their relatives and friends and didn’t find him.”
They panicked and they just assumed Jesus was with them and in the midst of their journey, they discovered that He wasn’t. He didn’t leave them; they had left HIM. They had to backtrack, ask questions and try to figure out where they last knew He was with them and that’s how they found Him. He was right there in the Temple, doing His Father’s business. Having Jesus in our lives is the highest privilege a human can experience and having His Presence in our hearts is what gives our lives spark. Sometimes we sense His presence very strongly and other times, we just have an inner knowing that He’s in our lives and that He’s as near as our call. When we’re in active fellowship with Jesus, there’s a sense of peace, faith, power and serenity. Not the kind that we could just have our own, not the kind you get from the world, but instead, the kind that comes from the inside where Jesus is. If we let ourselves settle for just a little touch and a little time with Jesus and are willing to go for days at a time without an intimate experience with Him. Before long, we’re going to run into problems.
That’s when our spiritual life becomes more or less mechanical and loses its real power. The true enjoyment gradually withers out of it and then, the spiritual life itself begins to languish and die. This is exactly why there are so many cold, lukewarm Christians and Christians who know what it’s like to sense the hand of God in their lives. They simply haven’t felt His presence in a long time. I’m talking about Christians who know the word but they’re obviously not living up to their privileges in Christ. Instead, they’re allowing a distance to creep up between them and their Master. They’ve allowed themselves to be too long and too securely satisfied with their past experiences. They know they “got saved”, or at least had an experience with God but now that knowledge has become a deception. What should you do then? Be careful to have a reality check on your spirit from time to time and check yourself frequently. “Examine yourself, whether you be in the faith.” Are you walking by faith or by memory?
That’s what Jesus’ parents had to do that day and they had allowed themselves to pass from the healthy phase of walking with Jesus to the unhealthy situation of thinking He was with them when He wasn’t. It’s the same thing that many Christians have done and they’ve gotten so accustomed to thinking that Jesus is near, or at least in the company, not very far off, that they allow themselves to leave the presence of Jesus and not even be aware of it. Now, if after an hour or two, Mary had said to Joseph, “Where is Jesus?” things would have been different and Joseph would have given a typical “male” answer like, “I don’t know. I thought he was with you.” They’d gone a whole days’ journey without Jesus and you wonder how a loving mother could have gone a whole days’ without Jesus, but she did and I can understand it. She had so many things to think about and she had been meeting good friends at the feast they had been up to and there was so much going on in the area of politics that Mary and Joseph were interested in. Both of them were busy, interested and had a lot on their minds. They were so busy that they didn’t notice the absence of Jesus so they went a whole days’ journey thinking that Jesus was with them when He wasn’t.
How did it happen? By taking the Presence of Jesus for granted. That’s the same way it happens to people today and the Lord Jesus will never allow His presence to be held too casually or to be thought lightly of. I regularly find Christians who have lost their joy and their power and they ask, “Why don’t I have the joy of my salvation anymore?” I usually have to answer something like, “Because you didn’t value Jesus highly enough and you just took it for granted that He would always be near you and would always be near you, almost at your command. Now, He’s teaching you how precious of a thing His presence is, by withdrawing it from you.”
Then, there’s unbelief. Doubt and unbelief are the twin destroyers of faith. When we stay away from the presence of God, avoid contact with the Holy Spirit and neglect the Word, we have no option but to enter into doubt and unbelief. Doubt and unbelief will get us to where we can’t believe God for anything just like the other “church people.” So, we settle for religion instead of the presence of Jesus. Have you been supposing that Jesus is in your company? Now is the best time to check and see. Does He answer when you call for Him? Do you have a sincere desire for Him? Are you willing to turn and go back to where He is? If so, you’ll once again be traveling with Jesus.
Come and find Jesus at the Worship Center this Sunday and let Him speak to you and touch your heart. YOU NEED HIM and He’s more than ready and waiting for you.
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