Ask any Christian, “Do you love Jesus?” and he will answer, “Yes, absolutely!” But words alone will not stand in the holy light of His Word, for Jesus Himself said two distinct things will reveal our love for Him. If those two evidences are not being revealed in your life, then your love for Jesus is in word alone—not in deed and in truth. They are: (1) your obedience to Jesus’ every command and (2) a manifestation of His presence in your life.
This verse says it all: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me . . . and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). “Manifest” means to “shine or break forth”—in other words, to become an instrument or channel that radiates Christ’s presence.
The Church so often prays, “Oh, Lord, send us Your presence. Come among us—fall upon us—move upon us. Reveal Yourself to us!” But God’s presence does not just come down. It does not suddenly fall and surprise or overwhelm the congregation. We seem to have the idea that Christ’s presence is an invisible smoke that God sprays into the atmosphere, like the Old Testament cloud of glory that so filled the temple that the priests could not stand to minister.
We forget that in this day our bodies are the temple of God, and if His glory comes, it must appear in our hearts and fill our bodies. Christ does not inhabit buildings or a certain atmosphere; in fact, the very heavens cannot contain Him. Rather, He is manifested through our obedient, sanctified bodies—His temples: “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16). “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Why is there little or no presence of Jesus in the midst of our churches? Why are so many congregations dead? Because either the pastor or the people—or both—are spiritually dead! Experiencing the presence of Jesus in a church is not so much a corporate matter as it is an individual one. It is true that a spiritually lifeless, prayer-less shepherd can spread death over the people. Yet every member is still a temple and remains personally responsible to obey God and be available as an instrument of His presence. Your church can be dead and yet you can be full of Christ’s presence.