What does it mean to encounter God? What does that look like?
I believe encountering God is much deeper than a tangible feeling or emotion alone. To encounter God is to have your inner Spirit refined and redirected in such a way that completely changes your life. To encounter God is to be welcomed into His all consuming presence. To encounter God is to discover who you were made to be and who He has always seen you as. Your identity begins to mirror that of Jesus and all He provides for you through His sacrifice, resurrection and love.
Have you encountered God?
Can you think of a time when you met Him and His presence completely changed your life?
This question came to me in devotion one day and it led to my heart aching for my generation and peers to truly encounter God.
16 May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, 18 be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; 19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]. - Ephesians 3:16-19 AMP
I’d like to emphasize the end of verse 19, “that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].” My heart’s desire, for my life and for the lives of others, is that very thing – to be filled up to all the fullness of God! The Bible says that God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). We know that what goes into a fire cannot come out unchanged. I believe when we encounter the Lord, we too leave changed forever.
As you read these seven points, please know that they come from a place of experience and expectation. I believe each of them can happen in your life as you yield [give way] to the presence of God.
1. Encountering God Repositions You on the Path He Set for You.
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. - Psalm 32:8 NLT
The plans God has for you are greater than anything you could ever plan for yourself.
There is something about how God’s Spirit speaks in the midst of the weight of His glory [splendor, perfection, excellence]. He will remind you of things that He spoke to you about months ago, even years ago, and give you the confidence and grace to see them through. When this happens, move and move quickly – do not wait! I like to think of this as assuming you have a green light to move forward rather than believing you are given a red light and waiting on that green light. Trust that if it’s a red light, God’s spirit will make it known.
I also believe encountering God will confirm what you have in your heart. He will provide an inner witness, something no words can describe, to assure you of your confidence to progress. Remember, the Lord is the One who puts these desires within you. This is evidenced by the fact that they line up with His word! You are made to do what He has called you to do, the way you do it, to reach the people only you can reach.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. - Psalm 143:8 ESV
You can also encounter God for the first time. He will show you the way you should go in life. His Holy Spirit takes you from a place of darkness, a path of spiritual death and destruction, to ultimate light and salvation. This is the greatest miracle of all – salvation. An encounter with God solidifies this as He reclaims your heart and you present your soul, your life, into His hands. You were made in His image and His likeness (given a unique role and position to represent Him on earth/you were made to do great things), and when He made you He said with joy, “it is good”. Encountering God will change your life forever.
Ready to give you heart and life to Jesus? Longing to rededicate your life to Him? Pray with me today.
2. Encountering God Will Heal the Inner Parts of Your Heart.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28 NLT
The spirit of God can go where no man can.
Let me just tell you this: you can trust God.
And after a powerful encounter with God’s presence many find that the weight of life they’d been carrying lifts from their shoulders. That painful experience that left you saying, “I will never forgive that person” disappears, and forgiveness moves in. The feeling of loss and sorrow is consumed in peace and wholeness from the Father. His presence changes everything.
There’s no room for a hard head or pride in the presence of the Lord. That will get you nowhere. The Lord says, “He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). This includes thinking you can get through the pain, stress or anxiety on your own. You can’t, so let it go. I believe coming before the Lord with a humble heart and realizing how much you need His healing will uncover a new facet of His love. He wants to heal your heart.
And whatever your heart is in need of can be found in His presence.
3. Encountering God Will Change the Trajectory of Your Family and Those Closest to You.
15 "But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:15 NLT
Your family is your legacy.
Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years or you’re a new believer, encountering God should change the direction of your family and those closest to you. “But how can you say that, I can’t make anyone want to serve God!” This is true but the life you live should draw those closest to you into pursuing Jesus.
Think of this, Jesus sat with sinners but never sinned himself, yet the sinners wanted to be like Jesus – wow! This moves my heart, because it tells me that even the roughest person longs to live a life of security, true identity, peace, freedom, and wholeness before God. Sure, it may take some time and this part isn’t always easy but as we continue to pray for and love them, encourage them, share how good God is, and be a light in their life things will break.
The hunger within you for others to encounter the Lord and to experience the love of God, will override any insecurity or fear of what they may think about you. You’ll just want them to have a life changing relationship with the Father like you do!
Encountering God will bring an urgency for your home to truly follow after God. Walking out Jesus’ calling to make disciples, found in Matthew 28:18-20, will become a personal mission. (Check out Every Disciple Sent to obtain practical tips, resources and training on making disciples – it’s worth your time!) Attending Church, and being involved in different activities and areas of service becomes something the family makes essential time for and regards as important, all whilst having fun! I want to emphasize FUN because serving the Lord is FUN and doing it along with other believers makes it even more enjoyable!
Maybe your children see you worshiping and praising the Lord openly while making dinner or cleaning the house, and hear your prayers privately in your quiet time before Him – invite them to join you!
You may find that you no longer do things you used to do around your family or those closest to you, they will notice and they may not like it but they will see the light and be drawn to it. The presence of God tends to do that, draw hearts near to Him.
4. Encountering God Makes You To Be a Greater Ambassador for Christ.
14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. - Romans 10:14-17 NLT
You have what everyone needs, and everyone needs what you have.
You become reminded of that very statement in a way that pierces the core of your heart. You begin to see people as the Lord sees them – with compassion because they’re lost, confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). Your language changes from, “I think that’s awesome but I’m not called to do that,” to “Lord, I want to be used by you! Help me to be bold and courageous to share your gospel as you lead me!” Now don’t get me wrong, I know this is something that doesn’t always come easy or natural for believers, but we are called to put ourselves and insecurities aside, be a student of God’s Word, and share the good news of Jesus!
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes ... - Romans 1:16 NKJV
You may be asking, “what do you mean, ‘put my insecurities aside‘? I’m called to something different.” I would have to greatly disagree – we are all appointed to be ambassadors for Christ, making His appeal through us (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). What an honour it is to be used by God! We are all instructed to put on the mind of Christ and be led by the Spirit of God, not the flesh and its fears. The gospel speaks to the hearts of man, it is the power of God and brings salvation! And as ambassadors you too carry that power within you, the kind that will make you bold and secure in Him.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. - Acts 4:13 ESV
They recognized that they had been with Jesus – this just makes my heart explode! The world can tell when you have been with Jesus, they can “sense” a difference about you (the Holy Spirit in you) and they tend to desire what you have. Isn’t that beautiful? I believe that with more time spent in prayer, God’s word, and His presence, you will begin to see this ambassadorial calling refined. There will be a greater urgency for others to know and experience the One who changed your life. God loves people, like..He really, really loves them! And He will impart His desires to us. As we spend more time with Him, we will receive greater revelations about who the Father is and His heart.
5. Encountering God Strengthens and Affirms the Power In You to No Longer Struggle With Sin.
6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. - 1 John 3:6-7 NLT
In Jesus, you are righteous!
And as a born again believer, who has repented of sin and given their heart and life to Jesus, you are forgiven and at peace with God. There is no greater freedom any human can ever experience. Encountering God will do a work in your heart and conscience that erodes the desire for sin. Sin won’t be a struggle because you will live in victory over the enemy and the schemes he used against you in the past.
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. – 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP
When someone dies, and their heart stops beating, and breath stops filling their lungs, they are no longer alive but have passed on. The same is true as a born again believer: that old man, the person you used to be, has died and no longer lives! Whether a christian for years or a few moments your salvation is the same – assured! Encountering God gives you an infusion of grace (application of Christ righteousness) and power over sin by His Spirit.
It is Jesus’ desire that we don’t endure the relentless frustration of continually struggling with the same old sins we struggled with from before we came to know Him. The beautiful thing is you’re not called to do it out of your own strength. It is in the total submission to the Holy Spirit, seeing and obeying that which God’s Word is calling you to, and yielding to your inner man’s (your spirit’s) desire to be in constant communion (deep friendship/relationship) with the Father that will bring freedom.
2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap [which removes impurities and uncleanness]. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi [the priests], and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord [grain] offerings in righteousness. - Malachi 3:2-3 AMP
The presence of God is that of a refining fire. If we enter it with a heart longing to be made more like Jesus, God’s presence will purify you and the urge to sin!
Read: Romans 6:12-14
→ Dance and sing about your commitment to Jesus: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” | Tommy Walker
→ Worship to this beautiful reminder of who He is: “My King Forever + Hosanna” – UPPERROOM
6. Encountering God Ushers in a Greater Desire to Build the Kingdom of God.
17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:17-19 NKJV
“Lord, if I can’t go, let me send someone who can.”
I believe encountering God awakens us to the necessity of building His kingdom. A lasting desire for people to hear about Jesus and to be discipled around the globe will become your heart’s cry. Maybe you’re a full-time student, or a mother raising three children with a husband who works hard as a construction worker; how are you going to go and tell the world about Jesus? How are you going to go to a small town like Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, or a big city like Las Vegas, Nevada, or Zambia in East Africa? You can’t, but someone else can. They are commissioned to go and you can be used by God to supply the resources for their obedience.
God is still moving through missions across the nations, the planting of churches, local and international outreaches (that tend to the physical AND spiritual needs of others), and evangelism. These are so crucial for the building of God’s kingdom. And someone has to do it, someone has to put their boots on the ground and fulfill the call of this great effort.
Your heart will be given to reaching the lost, even if you don’t physically go to those places. There is nothing like seeing the fruit of salvation and individual growth from a ministry that you give your earnings to.
3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. - 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 NLT
A call to generous giving: 2 Corinthians 8:1-8
7. Encountering God Establishes a Deeper Hunger for His Presence and Glory to Exist, in Every Area of Your Life.
1 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. 3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! 4 I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. 5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. 6 I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. 7 Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. 8 I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. - Psalm 63:1-8 NLT
Go from an encounter with God, to constant fellowship with God.
Fellowship = companionship, partnership, connection and intimacy.
This is what the spirit of God longs to have with us. Isn’t it amazing when we look at Genesis 1, we see God spoke everything into existence, but when He made Adam what did He do? He spent time intricately, crafting him by hand in His likeness and His image. And God has done the same with you.
Aren’t you proud of the children you’ve made? The items you DIY? The degrees you’ve acquired? The delicious meals you make for your family? These are things you have the opportunity to admire and enjoy because they are yours. Can you imagine the depth of relationship God longs to have with you. Did you know that He eagerly awaits you everyday with a word saved for you.
18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favour, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! - Isaiah 30:18 AMPC
I believe encountering God will establish a hunger for His presence in every area of your life. You begin to look at things through different eyes as you seek out His glory, His splendor, His magnificence to shine on you and all you put your hands to. Where you once leaned on skill, ability, and personality to pull you through, you become dependent on His presence and Glory to do anything and everything – realizing that apart from Him you can do nothing.
Because truthfully, the Lord doesn’t need what we have to offer; we’re the ones in need of His Spirit, to be used by Him and for His purpose and calling. It’s necessary that His presence moves in everything we desire to do, big or small. Once we go from encountering the Lord into consistent fellowship with the Lord, we will begin to see the fruits of what lies in the mystery of who He is and what He has set before us to do.
Having intentional fellowship (companionship, partnership, connection and intimacy) with the Holy Spirit, the type of fellowship that comes from a place of dependency and humility, will always bring His Kingdom in reach. He won’t feel so far away. Whether it’s picking an outfit for the day, buying a new home, or living out a prosperous marriage, the way we steward what God’s placed in our hand will be impacted by our relationship with Him, and dependence upon Him.
After taking in these seven points, would you say you’ve encountered God? If you haven’t, know that you can and He’s waiting to meet you.
Love & Blessings,
P R A Y . W I T H . M E ⤵
Maybe you’ve never had a life changing encounter with God but your heart is burning – you want to experience His presence in your life. Maybe you’re in a place where you’ve gone astray from your first love in Christ and need to rededicate your life to Him. Or maybe you’ve never had the opportunity to make Jesus your Lord and Savior – you can’t think of a time where you accepted Jesus into your heart and life – I want to give you a chance to do that today!
I need you to know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), there is nothing you have ever done that God cannot forgive! God loves you, He sees you, and He wants you to be full of the life that comes from knowing Jesus. He wants you to encounter Him daily and allow Him to put you on the path of true, everlasting life! Say this prayer with me out-loud, from your heart, no matter where you are!
“Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son Jesus to die in my place, I admit that I’ve sinned and I repent. I believe in my heart, you raised Jesus from the dead, and I confess with my mouth, that Jesus is my Lord and my Savior – I want to encounter you every day of my life! Come into my heart Lord Jesus, take out the stony heart and put in a heart of flesh. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Right now, I receive forgiveness and by the blood of Jesus, I am saved. I am made new. I am free. I am a child of God. In Jesus name—Amen!”