The Power Of Presence

Series: Emotions. James Dewhurst September 13, 2020


The Power of Presence

Did you realize that you possess a presence? Did you realize that when people come in contact with you, when they interact with you when they hang around you or listen to you, that you possess a presence that is projected upon others? A presence that possesses so much power, that it generates feelings and emotions in others? Have you ever asked yourself the question, “How do I make people feel?”

Some people can walk into a room and instantly put everyone at ease, while others can enter and make people’s teeth clench and knees knock. Psychological research defines this effect by a term called, “Affective Presence”. A Washington University Professor, in researching the power of “presence” concluded that, “our way of being has an emotional signature.” That our presence alone influences others!

Are you saying that we are responsible for other people’s Emotions? No, but I do believe we are responsible for the signature on every one of our interactions!

Our presence projects a positive or negative influence on every person we encounter!

Maya Angelou famously stated – “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”

Another person said – “How you make other people feel about themselves, says everything about you.”

Someone else said – “Some people are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a wonderful day.”

A very wise person said – “The only time we should put someone down, is on our prayer list!”

How do people feel after being in our presence? What emotions are our actions cultivating in others?

1 Peter 2:12

12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (ESV)

1 Thessalonians 5:11

11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (ESV)

Ephesians 4:29

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (ESV)

1 Peter 4:8

8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (ESV)

Hypnotized by our own confirmation bias, people today are weaponizing information as absolute truth, that they’ve spent less time researching than their last vacuum purchase!

People are full of one-sided opinions and unsourced facts!

In our pursuit to be “right” we have become insensitive, heartless and unloving!

Proverbs 18:2

2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 8:1

1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. (ESV)

Being Opinionated means to be “conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions. To be dictatorial, domineering, pompous, self-important, and arrogant.

But the New Testament calls us to a completely different standard, in:

Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

We do not always have to agree with other people’s opinions, but as children of God and representatives of Jesus, we must not quarrel over opinions! When we disagree with others, may God help us do it in love, respect, humility, and compassion.

There is nothing wrong with differences of opinion. The problem is with the hate!

James 1:26

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (ESV)

Philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (ESV)

Max Lucado – “I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise? If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer? If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.”

In other words, being loving is way more important to God than being right!

Marriage Example – In pre-marital counseling, before I perform a wedding one of the most important skills that I always try to drive home to couples is how to handle conflicts when they arise. Conflict resolution starts by defining the goal. Do you want to be right or do you want to resolve the conflict? Do you want to win the argument or do you want to stay married? Because if you insist on winning, the person you claim to love with all of your heart will always be losing. Always being right makes others always wrong!

Craig Groeschel – “Our goal (As Christians) isn’t to be right, but to be loving!”

Our presence has the power to make people either feel ten feet tall or an inch tall!

Colossians 4:6

6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (ESV)

Being a KNOW IT ALL makes everyone else around you a KNOW NOTHING.

Psalm 139:4

4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (ESV)

Pride often finds itself looking down on the same people that love is lifting up!

We aren’t accountable for people’s emotions, but we are accountable for our presence!

Why? Christians are ambassadors! An ambassador is a President’s highest-ranking representative, assigned to a specific nation or group of people. The biggest role of an ambassador is to communicate, positively and diplomatically, the exact positions of his president and nation. Diplomats deliver someone else’s message, not their own!

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (ESV)

We’re not activists, we’re ambassadors called to deliver Christ’s message to the world!

John 13:14-15

14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (ESV)

Spanish Noblewoman Saint Teresa of Avila – “Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”

2 Corinthians 5:20

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (ESV)

+The phrase here, “making his appeal”, comes from the Greek word parakaleto, and means: to come alongside to produce the effect of comfort and encouragement.

+Does Paul say anything about using words in describing God’s appeal to the world? No! God’s entire focus is on presence. About creating an effective presence!

+But the most powerful detail is the vehicle, the conduit, the creator of presence. It’s you and me. We’re the vessels God has chosen to show the world what he feels like!

David describes the effects of the presence of God, in Psalm 23:1-4 (NIV) “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3  he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

    > His presence HIDES us!

                        > His presence HELPS us!

                                      > His presence HOLDS us!

                                                  > His presence HEALS us!

Are we helping our world feel His presence, or are they feeling too much of ours?