The finished work of Christ has opened the door into God’s presence and we may enter that secret place with confidence. One of the benefits of relationship is access. But with privilege comes responsibility. Intimacy with God requires some preparation on our part. Some basic groundwork on our end is necessary.
To put it in simple terms, we need a spiritual bath from time to time. We still sin and disobey God, and so does everyone else. That sin is, in a spiritual sense, just like a kid playing in the mud. Unless the mud is washed off, it finds its way into the house, onto the carpet, and everywhere else. Sin stains far deeper than mud, so from time to time we need a spiritual shower.
We have to remember we are about to enter the presence of the King. No one would wear blue jean cutoffs, flip-flops, and a tee-shirt with sweat stains to a state dinner at the White House. No! We would take a bath and dress appropriately. Therefore, we must also deal with the stains sticking to our soul and hindering our ability to enter the intimate presence of God.
Forgiveness for sin is readily available from God (if we confess God will forgive—1 John 1:9), but we must step into the shower and that happens when we confess—when we agree with God that what we have done is sin. Confession brings about repentance—a return to God—to where we were supposed to be anyway. If you’re wondering how intimate your own relationship with God is, that can be determined by how long it takes you to confess the sin once it has been committed. Is it a few seconds, minutes, hours, days—or months? That span of time is directly proportional to the depth of that relationship.
Once the sin is confessed, just ask the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh. That spiritual filling is like putting on aftershave or perfume in the natural. We need a bath, but we also need the anointing of God’s Spirit. When we depend on the Holy Spirit and rest in him, entering the presence of God is no sweat. If you don’t rest, you sweat it trying to do things that you think will make God notice you. Stop struggling and straining and rest in the fullness of God’s Spirit.
Finally you need to dress for success. Leave the sin and sweat stained garments behind and put on something appropriate. A suitable outfit to wear to your intimate appointment with God is praise. Isaiah 61:3 tells us to put on “the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” We tend to faint—to give up—because we are weighted down and worn out with the trails and the troubles that so easily consume us. But when we begin to praise God, we turn our attention heavenward instead of focusing inward.
You already have an open invitation. God awaits—patiently and passionately. What are you waiting for? It’s time to get dressed!