Threshold of Glory
Have you ever had the sense that you were right on the verge of something? Maybe it was when you were near to having a long-term goal fulfilled, or maybe it was less pleasant—like someone was dancing on your last nerve and you were on the verge of losing your cool. Whatever the source of this sense of the impending, there is a heighten state of awareness and anticipation.
This anthem reminds us of what we so often aren’t aware—that every moment we are treading right near the threshold of glory. We occasionally see people in scripture who stumble upon that threshold while just going about their daily tasks. Moses was tending sheep when he saw the burning bush. Samson’s mother and Gideon were two more who weren’t expecting glory when it came to them. And Jacob said of his encounter with God, “God was in this place and I didn’t even know it.” So often we don’t even realize that God is near. We get so locked into the world of sight and sound and activity that His presence near us goes unnoticed. He stands at the door and knocks, but with our earbuds in, we don’t hear. We don’t realize that just on the other side of the threshold stands the King of Glory Himself, desiring to come in, desiring us to welcome Him and enjoy His presence.
How often do we come to church and expect to sense His presence? We may come expecting to learn, to express our worship, to fellowship with other believers, but do we expect to cross the threshold of glory and experience a sense of His own nearness? In this book, Asleep in the Land of Nod, David Butts says, “When the people of God become aware of the presence of the Lord, everything changes. Our worship services, our family lives, our evangelistic efforts, and our individual devotional lives will all be different when God shows up for church…Yet Sunday after Sunday, in the majority of our churches, we go through the motions without a real awareness of Jesus actually being there with us. In revival, there is an awakening to His presence. Biblical truths that had perhaps grown stale are suddenly infused with new life. The love and life of Jesus are lived out in fresh new ways as the Church gathers.”
The question is, how often do we come to church with that expectancy? Is it our desire to personally and corporately encounter the Lord in our worship services, or are we satisfied with being blessed by the inspired preaching and excellent music? Are our needs for presence being met by seeing our friends, or do we long to join with these friends in crossing the threshold of glory into the Presence of the Lord Himself? David Butts goes on to say, “When the Lord’s own people turn their faces to heaven and begin to long to see Jesus, to develop that passion and hunger for His presence, then the Lord Himself will fulfill that longing with His own precious presence.”
But the reality is that our human nature tends to turn from God rather than to Him. From the fall in the Garden we have sought to distance ourselves. And yet, there is that God-shaped hole that draws us—man must worship something. And those of us who have been redeemed by Jesus are drawn to Him by His Spirit who dwells in us. However, in order to overcome our natural tendencies, just like when we desire anything else worth having in life, we must discipline ourselves, and become intentional. We must overcome this human compulsion to flee instead of crossing the threshold, or be insensitive to the fact that God is near to us all the time. In Philippians Paul says twice that he had to “press on” in order to attain what he desired. He tells Timothy to “fan the flame” and to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted” to him. He emphasizes constantly that the Christ-life needs intentionality.
But Paul makes it clear that this striving was never meant to be in our own strength. He goes on to tell Timothy, “guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” And Paul tells the Colossians, “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” We will not seek His presence apart from His drawing us, and we cannot “press on” apart from His work in us, but we must cooperate with Him in this process.
If we are to cross this threshold of glory in our worship we must first come with an awareness that the door is there, with an expectancy that we can cross it into His presence and be welcomed, and with an intentionality to do just that. Our anthem encourages us to this divine striving—to push back the gate and open the door, for on the other side is one who paid a tremendous price for the opportunity to fellowship with those He redeemed.
So, as we come to worship this week, let us pray that He will give us this awareness, expectancy, and intentionality, and that we will experience His glory.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries