Welcome to our continuing discussion on the subject ‘The secret of God’s Presence’. I pray that this discussion will help you think about how you should live your life as a follower of Jesus Christ and practice living in the presence of God. What makes us Christians different from the rest is maintaining the presence of God with us.
In my last article, I alluded to fact that there is a perfection which the Scripture speaks of as possible and attainable. There may be, and there is great diversity of opinion as to how the term is to be defined. But there can be only one opinion in relation to the fact that God asks and expects His children to be perfect with Him.
There is only one opinion in relation to the fact that He promises perfection as His own work, and that the Scripture speaks of some as having been perfect before Him, having served Him with a perfect heart. Scripture speaks of a perfection that is at once our duty and our hope.
Let me sight some examples from the Bible. In Genesis, the Bible says, “And when Abraham was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him” (Genesis 17:1-3).
The Bible also says, “Thou shall be perfect with the Lord they God (Deuteronomy 18:13), and the same expression is found in the book of first Kings and it says, “Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day” (1Kings 8:61).
It was now twenty-four years since God had called Abraham to go out from his father’s home and he had obeyed. All that time he had been a learner in the school of faith. The time was approaching for him to inherit the promise, and God came to establish His covenant with him. In view of this, God met him with this threefold word: I am Almighty God: walk before me: be thou perfect.
Be thou perfect. The context in which we find the word will help us to understand its meaning. God reveals Himself as God Almighty. Abraham’s faith had long been tried, it was about to achieve one of its greatest triumphs. Faith was to be changed to vision in the birth of Isaac.
God invites Abraham more than ever to remember, and to rest upon, His omnipotence. He is Almighty God. All things are possible to Him. He holds and rule over everything, including our lives. All His power is working for those who trust Him. And all He asks of His servant is that he be perfect with Him; give Him his whole heart, his perfect confidence.
God Almighty with all His power is wholly for you. Be thou wholly for God. The knowledge and faith of what God is lies at the root of what we are to be, “I am Almighty God, be thou be perfect.” As I know Him whose power fills heaven and earth, I see that this is the one thing needed, to be perfect with Him, wholly and entirely given up to Him. Wholly for God is the keynote of perfection.
Walk before me, and be thou perfect. It is in the life fellowship with God, in His realised presence and favour, that it becomes possible to be perfect with Him. Walk before me, Abraham had been doing this. God’s Word calls him to a clearer and more conscious understanding of this as his life calling.
It is easy for us to study what Scripture says of perfection, to form our ideas of it, and argue for them. But let us remember that it is only as we are walking closely with God, seeking, and in some measure attaining, uninterrupted communion with Him, that the divine command will come to us in its divine power.
Walk before me, and be thou perfect. God’s realised presence is the school, the secret of perfection. It is only a person who studies what perfection is in the full light of God’s presence to whom its hidden glory will be opened up.
That realised presence is the great blessing of the redemption in Jesus Christ. The veil has been torn; the way into the true sanctuary, the presence of God, has been opened. We have access with boldness into the Holiest of all. God, who has proved Himself God Almighty in raising Jesus from the dead and setting Him and us in Him, at His right hand, speaks now to us: “I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
That command did not come only to Abraham; Moses gave it to the whole people of Israel, “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord they God.” It is for all Abraham’s children, for all the Israel of God, for every believer. Oh! Do not think that before you can obey you must first understand and define what perfection means. No, God’s way is the exact opposite of this. Abraham went out, “not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8).
You are called to go on to perfection; go out, not knowing where you go. It is a land God will show you. Let your heart be filled with His glory. I am God Almighty. Let your life be spent in His presence: Walk before Me. As His power and His presence rest upon you and fill you, your heart will, before you know, be drawn up, and strengthened to accept and rejoice in and fulfill the command: be thou perfect.
As surely as the opening bud has only to abide in the light of the sun to attain perfection, will the soul that walks in the light of God be perfect, too. As the God, who is all, shines upon it, it cannot but rejoice to give Him all.
By Rev. Eric D. Maefonea