Are You Walking as in God’s Presence?
DUE to inherited human weakness, many employees need to be watched or they may steal or loaf on the job. That is why, for example, every large post office in the United States has inspectors stationed high above the mail clerks. It is their job to detect any worker with “sticky fingers,” who might be tempted to pocket a piece of valuable mail. The inspectors work behind one-way mirrors; they can see the clerks but the clerks cannot see the inspectors.
Not that postal employees are the only ones that need to be watched. Employee dishonesty runs rampant throughout the world, causing losses that mount to many thousands of millions of dollars. Statistics show that the greatest amount of dishonesty, dollarwise, is found among supervisors and executives.
Clearly, none of these would be erring if they were walking as in God’s presence. To be walking in God’s presence means, first of all, having faith that God really exists. The evidence to our senses all about us testifies to the existence of the Creator, Jehovah God. And so do the pages of His Word, the Bible. But to believe that God exists is not enough, even as his Word reminds us: “You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder.” (Jas. 2:19) We must go farther. We must have faith in God’s justice, wisdom and power; we must appreciate that he knows and cares about what is going on in the earth among men.
Yes, God sees everything; his powers of vision are far superior to those of a postal inspector and He does not need one-way mirrors to keep humans from seeing him. Whether he personally takes note of everything or does so through his vast angelic organization is beside the point. The effect, the result, is the same: “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the bad ones and the good ones.” We can rest assured that “there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.” Note, we are accountable to God.—Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13.
The fact that we are accountable to God should make us take our walking as in his presence seriously. It means for us to walk, that is, to conduct ourselves, knowing that God is watching continually what we do. Moses, Jehovah’s prophet and the ancient leader of Israel, was one who was fully aware of that fact, for of him we read that “he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.” God was truly real to him and He should be to us also.—Heb. 11:27.
If we are walking in God’s presence it will keep us from getting into trouble with him, for it means that we will be fearful of displeasing him, knowing that there is no escaping his judgments. It will keep us from the course of the wicked one of whom it is written that “there is no dread of God in front of his eyes.” (Ps. 36:1) That the fear of God will keep us from yielding to temptation and so getting into trouble can be seen from the response that the young man Joseph, the favorite son of the patriarch Jacob, made when he was importuned by the wife of his Egyptian master Potiphar: “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9) He walked as in God’s presence, as though God were watching him all the time, as though he at all times could see God. Doing so served as a safeguard for him.
Whether the attacks of our adversary Satan the Devil are in the form of temptations to engage in immoral conduct and other forms of selfishness, or in the form of pressures to compromise our loyalty to Jehovah God, our only safety is to be walking as in God’s presence. That means that God must be very real to us. To aid us toward that end we must give thought to God. One way in which we can do this is by regularly praying to God. If we make a habit of prayer we will instinctively call on him for help when we are faced with temptations or pressures. Praying to God strengthens our faith, for prayer is an expression of faith, and God answers prayers directed to him in the right manner and in regard to right matters. (1 John 5:14, 15) But it follows that we must do our part; we must work at what we pray for, wholeheartedly.—Phil. 4:6, 7.
One way in which we can do that is to increase our knowledge of Jehovah God by a study of his Word and the Bible helps that he has provided. We can benefit by the weekly congregation meetings. The more we get to know God the more we will love him and the more he will be in our thoughts and be the primary object of our feelings. Of course, all of this takes time, for which reason the apostle Paul admonishes us: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.” True, we need a certain amount of time for providing things honest in the sight of all men, a certain amount of time for eating and sleeping, but beyond that, are we wasting much of it on excessive recreation, pleasure-seeking or hobbies?—Eph. 5:15, 16.
One reason why lawlessness is increasing in these perilous last days is that people are less aware than ever that God sees all and that all are accountable to him. If we are wise we will not ignore these facts but at all times will be walking as in God’s presence.