Omnipresence is a big word — almost daunting, actually. It brings to mind ponderous catechisms or dusty systematic theology textbooks. In spite of its off-putting, twelve-letter appearance, omnipresence is an attribute of God that we should cherish. Omnipresence — God’s being everywhere present at the same time — is to be boldly declared, and confidently believed.
Is God really among us? Do we act as if he is? Do we really believe that he is?
If we live in forgetful neglect of God’s omnipresence, we become functional atheists. If we don’t believe that God is among us, we behave as if there is no God. God’s omnipresence is a plain biblical fact (Psalm 139:7-10; Jer. 23:23-24; Col. 1:17). Just as God’s visible, palpable presence among the Israelites was used as a motivation for holiness and reverence, so God’s presence should shape us and develop us as believers. Here are four ways in which a fresh realization of God’s omnipresence can change your life.
1. You will have a deeper abhorrence of sin.
If God is among you, in you, and around you, how can you tolerate sin? This abhorrence of sin is much deeper than the “better watch out…someone’s watching!” motivation, which is a shallow pretense for avoiding sin. Avoiding sin because of God’s omnipresence is much deeper — being convinced of the absolute perfection of God and the disgusting nature of sin.
2. You will have a heightened pursuit of holiness.
God’s defining characteristic is holiness. Believers are called, even commanded, to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). The constant presence of a holy God compels us to develop in holiness. “Holiness” here is not prudish, self-righteous, goody-goody behavior that is clearly forbidden in Scripture (Matthew 23:23-34). Holiness is a positional separateness and a distinction that results in progressively right behavior.
3. You will have a greater attitude of reverence.
Have you ever had a really intense “worship moment?” It may be when you’re standing in church during worship, hands raised, praising God. Maybe it’s when you’re sitting alone with your Bible, praying and meditating. Whatever the situation, you’ve probably felt God’s presence in a very real way. You may have thought, “God is with me. He’s here! His presence is real!” Those are precious moments, and the reality is, God is always here. He’s always with us. His presence is always real. We may not always have the same sensation, but we can have the same attitude of reverence that we ought to have in the presence of an infinite, holy, and omnipresent God.
4. You will have an increased love for God.
Realizing that God is always with us is a sign of his love for us. We are actually indwelt by the Spirit, who is God. In Psalm 139, David was so taken in by God’s omnipresence that he declared in praise, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” Meditating on God’s presence led David to a greater love for his Lord. It will do the same for us. The importance of God’s presence can be seen in the very nature of the incarnation. God came in flesh — he became man — to be present with us in a tangible way. He identified with us by becoming present as a human being. He came not only to reveal himself as a human, but to die in our place on the cross. The gospel reveals God’s omnipresence in an incomprehensible way, not only motivating us to greater love, but transforming us from death to life.
This is the kind of theology that simply blows your mind. When meditating upon God’s omnipresence, we reach a point at which we admit our intellectual shortcomings, and shift irresistibly into praise and adoration of our great God. God really is among us, and this reality will cause us to spurn sin, cling to holiness, revere God, and love him more.