In the previous blog post, we looked at the great need for repenting from the lies that we have believed about God before we are able to truly believe the truths about His love and enter into them by faith. Today we will look at the important role that healing plays in being able to experience God’s loving presence.
Finding oneself disconnected from love, and particularly God’s love, is a universal human experience. Sin separates all of us from experiencing the love of God. That is, until we meet the Lord Jesus and discover His saving grace and experience reconciliation with God through Christ’s work on the cross. But for many, this is still something that they struggle to experience in reality, even though they have believed into Jesus and experienced salvation from their sin. They may know that they are free from sin, but yet they still struggle to boldly approach God’s throne as a son whom He loves… whether it is to receive from Him, open their beings to Him, or to just spend time with Him.
There are only two reasons why people do not approach God boldly. Ignorance and Fear. Many do not know that they can approach God and enjoy all that He is, whereas others are too afraid to do so. Ignorance is something that can be solved by hearing the good news that there is a God that loves us and wants to know us, and that through Jesus we have a way to know Him. Fear on the other hand is much more complex. There can be many reasons we find ourselves afraid of God. The problem is that often we do not even realise when we are afraid of Him.
The reasons that we fear God are perfectly illustrated in Genesis 3.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.“ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. – Genesis 3:1-6
Satan deceived Adam and Eve with a lie about God’s character. He made them think that God was keeping something from them, and that He could not be trusted. This mistrust caused them to take matters into their own hands to gain that which they believed God was keeping from them. This mistrust led to disobedience which resulted in sin. And that sin led to fear. Fear of God.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Sin caused Adam and Eve to cover themselves with fig leaves and hide away from God (probably behind some bushes). They did this because they were afraid. They knew that God was all powerful and that He was the just judge over all the universe. So they were afraid of what He would do to them if He found them. They were afraid of confronting God in their sinful state.
In this story we see that Fear doesn’t stand alone. It is built upon and works in tandem with a range of different emotions and experiences. Doubt, Mistrust, Desire, Disobedience, Sin, Shame, and Fear were all woven together to separate Adam and Eve from God, and from His love.
And it is no different when it comes to our relationships with God. Without even realising it we inwardly hide from His presence and His love. We clothe ourselves with fig leaves and hide our hearts behind bushes. And often our fear is also very much intertwined with a range of other experiences and emotions.
In order to be found in His love and in His presence it requires us to let go of the things that cause us to fear. To be healed, so to speak from the things that have caused us to believe Satan’s lies, doubt God’s goodness, Mistrust His character, Desire that which give us Independence from God, Disobey His life-giving ways, Sin against Him, and end up in places of Shame and Fear.
The challenge is that we cannot heal ourselves. We cannot sort ourselves out behind the bush in order to be joined back to God in the open. Even if we are the ones that caused the separation, we are unable to make things right. Only God can. The beauty is that He loves us so much and desires to make things right so that we can be joined to Him again and walk with him in the openness of the garden.
God does this in two specific ways that are seen in Genesis 3. He disciplines Adam and Eve (Gen 3:14-19), and He clothes them with animal skins (Gen 3:21). This heals them from their Sin and sets them free from Fear. They are disciplined for their sin in very specific ways, and their nakedness is covered with clothes that are made by God himself (by shedding the blood of an animal to atone for their sin). Once this happens they are no longer afraid of God. For that which separated them from Him had been dealt with. They were free to walk with Him again.
Today our experience is no different to Adam and Eve. We also need to experience God’s disciplining and clothing in order to be healed and set free to enjoy His presence and love again.
for the LORD disciplines (corrects) those He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. – Prov 3:12
God disciplines us by revealing to us what it was that we have done wrong, what lies we have believed, what aspects of His character we have mistrusted, what desires caused us to seek independence, how we have disobeyed Him, what sins we have committed, and how this has caused us to experience shame and fear. He shows us our mistakes and then corrects us. He lovingly reveals to us the consequences of our actions and instructs us in the truth. The truth about Himself, and the truth He wants us to believe and walk in.
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. – Isaiah 61:10
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. – Gal 3:27
Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and do not obey your flesh and its desires. – Rom 3:14
Then, once we have humbly received this disciplining he clothes us with His Son, Jesus Christ. He places garments upon us that He himself has made (through shedding the blood of His Son for our atonement). Naturally we need to let go of the flimsy fig leaves of our own design in order to truly receive the garments of His design. Garments that can truly cover our nakedness. Garments that can truly set us free from shame. Once He has clothed us with Christ, we are free again to enjoy His presence and love.
If you have never truly experienced this spiritually then it will be very difficult for you (if not impossible) to truly experience God’s love as a vibrant reality in your life. You may have believed that Jesus clothes you as a spiritual truth, but you may not have truly faced God and let him actually heal you from the things that keep you from experiencing His loving presence. Which means that although you are clothed with Christ in spirit, you have not truly entered into this revelation experientially. It is still an objective truth rather than a subjective reality for you.
So, how would you know if you have actually experienced this healing or not? You will know. The difference is like night and day.
If you have never truly experienced this healing in your inner being, you will no doubt continue to experience shame, fear, depression, doubt, unworthiness, self-rejection, mistrust, and a range of other things that are evident of separation from God.
If you have experienced even a small measure of this healing you will experience an overwhelming sense of peace, as well as a deep sense of God’s pleasure. You will experience God smiling at you and it will fill you with a peaceful joy that cannot be explained. The center of your being will be filled with an experience of God’s loving pleasure.
The journey towards maturity is for every part of our inward person to go through this healing process so that our entire being may be found in His loving presence until we are completely rooted and grounded in His love (Eph 3:17).
So how do you take a journey towards experiencing this healing…. we will begin to look at that in our next set of blog posts.
If you have ever experienced the healing discussed in this blog post, please share your testimony in the comments section below. It will be very helpful for those who are on this healing journey.
If you would like to engage with me on a more one on one basis about what you have read or about your current and unique situation, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog post is the 6th in a series. Click on the links below to see the rest: