Oh the joys of living with other people… It’s nice if it’s a holiday, but it can be a pain, a real pain when it’s short term let alone long term. After having had lived alone for many years, these last few years of living with others has been a challenge let alone living under someone else’s roof. I get in their way (although I try so hard to ensure that I’m respecting the fact that this is their territory and not mine) and vice versa. You get the trend. I often wondered why God made me learn to live alone – especially as I hadn’t even stayed one night alone prior to that stage – and then has made me live with others for nearly 5 years now… that too without a steady place to call ‘home’. Out of my comfort zone in every possible way, living like a nomad, out of suitcases and bags.
Interestingly, for the month or so, I had been pondering on writing an article on the topic of God’s presence but never got around to actually completing it. Then a few days ago, I saw a prophetic word published on the Elijah list. One phrase summed up what I had been contemplating on writing… “occupation not visitation” which I have changed slightly and used as my heading here.
It’s so much more easier to maintain friendships when we are on a ‘visitation’ basis. You visit me, I visit you.. we hang out for a bit here and there when we feel like it, when we are in the mood, when we are free. We don’t have to tread on each others toes then. It doesn’t take too much of effort, well not as much as when we are living with others.
A lot of marriages and relationships fail because people want to have it easy… and lot of people stay out of committing themselves to relationships because they want to have it easy, to avoid all the hard work of compromising and working together. In fact being single and living alone are in many ways a means to encourage selfishness. It doesn’t take much ‘sacrifice’ – although yes, my doors were open for the hurting and lonely any time. Let me clarify that people living with others can also be selfish as there are ways out to ignore others and see to their own needs only.
God had to initially take me through the living alone stage as I was one who needed people around me all the time, I hadn’t loved myself and would seek approval from others… My life was spent trying to please people at the cost of my own goals and desires. The time alone helped me find my worth and purpose in God, and helped me enjoy His presence, to dwell in His love. I would enjoy sitting at His feet and lapping up revelation, hearing His voice etc. But on the other hand, I also learnt to run house my way. If God had to bring a partner into my life during that time, I admit it would have been really difficult for me to submit as I had got used to living a certain way.
Perhaps He had to take me through this nomad chapter of my life to not only use me in other peoples’ lives, to share lives and help reveal blind spots but also to help me understand the difference of visitation and habitation. It’s not only in terms of our relationships with each other but more so importantly with that of God.
How often have you heard it being said at church, “God is present today”. Sorry but I confess I grin when I hear such things being said. Isn’t that contrary to God’s very nature, of who He is? Isn’t God omni-present.. i.e present everywhere? If we can say God is present in a mighty way today, well that just shows how much we have surrendered to be able to see Him. (And not to be cynical, there are a handful of people out there who would say such things merely to sound spiritual and gain ‘respect’ from others). Many people want God to ‘visit’ them on a Sunday or when they are free or ready to go for a prayer meeting or Bible study or their ‘devotional’ time.
However, as a believer, God wants to live in us. Our bodies are His temple. He doesn’t want to visit us and for us to shoo Him away when we want to get on with our fleshly life. He doesn’t want to be just a visitor or a resident in our hearts, but the president. No, no no.. He isn’t controlling or authoritarian.. He gives us free will and will only reign if we allow Him to. It is up to us to make that decision to live for Him, knowing in faith that He knows what’s best for us. Jesus always went about His Father’s business when He was here on earth – it was never about His life, or His comforts or what people thought of Him. He was one with the Father at ALL times.
“Jesus did not say, “Come to me and get it over with.” He said, “If any man would come after me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me.” Daily is the key word. Our commitment to Christ, however genuine and wholehearted it may be today, must be renewed tomorrow . . . and the day after that . . . and the day after that . . . until the path comes at last to the river” – Louis Cassels
I have also heard someone say that God won’t grace His presence where there is sin. Well, the Jesus I knew reached out to the sinners, He came to earth for all of us sinners and He condemned the legalistic self righteous religious leaders. God is looking for repentant hearts that desire to surrender their selfish fleshly will to His perfect pleasing will.. His presence is always there but we do not perceive it because we would rather satisfy our flesh.
- Where do you stand today?
- Are you one of those who want God to visit and leave the premises so that you can go back to living in the flesh, to carry out the acts of the selfish nature?
- Or, are you desiring Him to occupy your heart and reign, so that you will be led by the Holy Spirit into His perfect plan living with the grace of Jesus Christ?
Visitation or Habitation? What would you want?
Choice is yours… Consequences are yours too 🙂