Throughout the Bible we can see one reoccurring trait that all of God’s people possessed. It was the presence of God that was upon them in such a way that others could tell – even those who did not know God. This presence did not come because they spent all their time out in the world witnessing. It did not come because they read this book or that book and listened to this message or that message. It came because they were with God.
Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. – Luke 22:54-59
In this passage from Luke 22, the only thing we can gleam from how these three people knew Peter was with Jesus was from the last time we was “found out.” Someone said he was a Galilaean. However, all the other times someone said he was with Jesus there is no indication that he gave them any reason to suspect he was with Jesus. Let’s not take this scripture out of context. Let us look as well at Acts 4:23.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. – Acts 4:23
In this passage we see that the Pharisees recognized that Peter and John were with Jesus. How though? There were certain things about these men that from all natural standpoints, should not have been. When we are with Jesus, when we spend time with Him, things change. Not just around us or in our circumstances, but in us. This was true in the Old Testament as well.
But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. -Exodus 34:34-35
Here we see that Moses was in the presence of God. What happened to him? His face radiated with the glory of God. In this instance, the presence of God actually went with Moses when he left God in the form of God’s Glory. It was so intense that he had to put a vail over his face so people could look upon him.
Being with God makes a difference. Yes, these other things like listening to messages and Christian music (as long as it is Biblically) can help. But nothing compares to being with God. It is in His presence that things get changed – not just circumstances but us and things in us. It is in His presence that things get worked out, things get pulled out, and things get put in. In all of the scriptures we’ve looked at, you will see that people knew that God’s people were with Him not necessarily because of anything they said or did. They knew they were with God because of a tangible presence of God that was upon them.
When we realize that the Great Commission calls us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, not to get people saved, this concept of being with God brings on fresh meaning. First, the fact that were were and are with God is the first step to witnessing. Without a relationship with God, you have no witness for God. People can tell that you have been with God without even opening your mouth, without even doing anything. That was the case with Moses. There are other examples in the Bible as well. Study them out to see for yourself. We are called to preach the Gospel, that is our part. God will go the saving, the tugging on people’s heart, the radical changing in their lives. Not us.
The first thing that Jesus did when calling His disciples was not call them to preach. If you look at Mark 3, you will see what the disciples and our first call in.
And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, -Mark 3:13-14
Jesus first called the disciples to be with Him. That is because without being with Him, there was no point. God said that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, but apart from Him, you can do nothing. There is such an importance of being with Him that it can not be over exaggerated. Our first call is to be with Jesus. That makes all the difference. People can tell when you have been with Jesus, when you have been in the presence of God. And if they can tell that, can they also not tell when you have not be with Jesus and yet claim to be a Christian. Something to think about. Let’s fulfill our first call – to be with Jesus – and show the world the power and love of Christ.