God With Us Everywhere
By Ng Zhiwen
“Emmanuel” – it means “God is with us”. This scriptural truth has been a tremendous source of comfort and encouragement for us who have believed in Jesus. Once alienated from God, we now become a dwelling place for God. The original 12 disciples understood Emmanuel as God walking among them in the person of Jesus. Later, God continues with them through His Spirit who dwelled in them. Just like them, we have the Spirit dwelling in us. This may have been what Jesus meant when He said, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20). He is ever present with His people.
Now think about the truth of Emmanuel in this way: Wherever we go, we carry God’s presence. That is truly life-changing.
Because of this, we do not think of the Christian life merely in terms of attending church or joining in Christian activities, as if we can switch on and off our being Christian. Neither is it just about having a religious identity or lifestyle. We also will not talk about God being with us as simply that He is always standing by as a life-consultant we can call on (“You can ask him for help or guidance whenever you need!”).
Emmanuel means so much more. It means that in every time, and in every situation, we may be deeply conscious of the very presence of God, whether we feel it or not. We do not think of how we can ‘run away from the affairs of this world’ to be with Jesus, but we also think about how we view all our affairs in this world through the eyes of Jesus. We may always ask of God what His interest and purpose is for every moment of our lives. Every thought, every word, every action and inaction takes place before the presence of God. Imagine that.
Emmanuel means that no matter who is looking at us, they should see clear signs of one who faithfully carries the presence of God with him or her. “Ah, so this is what godliness looks like,” people should say of us, because God is with us.
The truth of Emmanuel is why we will not confine our interests to what we do when we gather as God’s people. We are also deeply interested in how each and every one of us sees ourselves walking with Jesus when we scatter throughout the week. This is why come Missions Month, we will spend a lot of time unpacking the theme of Everyone Missional Everywhere. We may talk about this because God is with us everywhere, looking to redeem every part and every moment of our lives, for His glory.
Once we grasp this, life will never be the same again.