If you know anything about the hyper-charismatic movement, then you know one of the things it stands out for, is its fervent pursuit of God’s presence. Otherwise known as a revival. It’s a movement characterized by intense emotional worship, prophetic revelations, and a palpable hunger and desperation for supernatural encounters.

Yet, beneath the surface of this passionate quest lies a subtle danger. The danger of it become an all-consuming obsession that leads believers into a relentless cycle of seeking more and more spiritual highs and emotional experiences.

As someone who was immersed in this movement, I understand, firsthand, the allure of chasing after this ever-elusive presence of God. Compelled by a desire for a deeper intimacy with God, I found myself attending a never-ending stream of conferences, worship experiences, and prophetic gatherings. For I feared that I might miss out on a deeper encounter with God if I didn’t. 

And even as a worship team member, I vividly recall earnestly beseeching God for His presence whenever it was my turn to lead worship. (In truth, I was hoping that my singing would create an atmosphere where the congregation would be totally lost in worship through tears or hysteria. It was a big deal because we equated it to the move of the Holy Spirit).

But since leaving the movement, I began to recognize the subtle dangers lurking beneath the surface of this fervent pursuit. It’s easy for the desire for God’s presence to morph into an idol that overshadows the truths of Scripture. 

But what makes this danger all the more insidious is its pervasiveness in the church today. It’s not confined to the hyper-charismatic movement alone. Even churches that might not identify as hyper-charismatic are being, albeit subtly, influenced by this culture of seeking after more and more of God’s presence.

While I realize that many Christians fall into this pattern out of a noble desire for closeness with God, it remains crucial to examine this belief critically.

Therefore, I invite you to join me in exploring the pitfalls of the endless pursuit of God’s presence in the hyper-charismatic church. In doing so, we can discern what a biblically sound approach to experiencing God’s presence looks like

1. It Leads to Spiritual Burnout

An experience-driven faith can indeed lead believers into a labyrinth of pitfalls. The first of which is the creation of a dependency on emotional highs for spiritual validation. Having a relationship with God becomes synonymous with the intensity of emotional fervor or the frequency of spiritual encounters. This dependency can result in a skewed perception of faith, where believers constantly seek the next spiritual high to feel close to God.

However, when believers come to equate God’s presence solely with intense emotional or supernatural experiences, they inadvertently set themselves up for a shallow and unsustainable faith. When these intense experiences are absent, believers may mistakenly feel that God is distant or displeased with them

Furthermore, constantly seeking after more and more of God’s presence can be incredibly burdensome. The relentless pursuit of spiritual highs creates an unsustainable expectation that every “encounter” with God must be marked by intense emotion or supernatural phenomena.

This pressure can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure when such experiences are not continually forthcoming. Believers may begin to engage in all kinds of practices in an effort to create an atmosphere of God’s presence. Thus, leading to a state of spiritual exhaustion.

This experience is profoundly wearisome and stands in stark contrast to the rest that Christ promises. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus extends the following invitation, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Here, Jesus offers a different kind of relationship. A relationship characterized by rest rather than striving and exhaustion.

Moreover, nowhere does Scripture command believers to constantly seek after more and more of God’s presence in the hyper-charismatic sense. Instead, it encourages us to walk in obedience, to abide in Christ, and to pray. Not as a way to manipulate or conjure up spiritual experiences, but as a natural outworking of our relationship with God.

2. It Leads to Measuring  Spiritual Maturity Based on Emotional Experiences

Within hyper-charismatic circles, there’s often a subtle yet pervasive tendency to use emotional experiences as a yardstick for measuring one’s relationship with God and spiritual maturity. It’s like an unwritten code but if you’ve been in these circles then you know it exists. 

Personally, I remember equating intense feelings of God’s presence with spiritual health. At the same time, I perceived periods of emotional dryness or the absence of supernatural experiences as an indicator of spiritual decline. 

In the absence of emotional highs, I would question the authenticity of my faith or feel spiritually inadequate. This led to feelings of guilt, shame, and even abandonment by God, as I struggled to reconcile my expectations of continuous ecstasy with reality.

However, this mindset is not only spiritually unhealthy but also contrary to the teachings of Scripture.

First, emotions are very fickle. Numerous factors can easily influence or manipulate them. Not to mention, they are tainted with sin. As such, the Bible warns us about the deceptive nature of our hearts.

Jeremiah 17:9 states, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Therefore, we must critically examine our feelings and not allow them to be sole basis for our spiritual discernment.

Second, the Bible provides a different standard for evaluating spiritual maturity and one’s relationship with God. It focuses on faith, obedience, and character rather than fluctuating emotions.

Scripture teaches that faith is not based on what we feel but on what we know to be true about God. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” This assurance is grounded in God’s promises and character, not in our emotional experiences.

Furthermore, Jesus emphasized obedience to His commands as the true measure of love for Him. In John 14:15, He says, “If you love me, keep my commands.” Thus, we reflect spiritual maturity when we seek to follow God’s will and embody His teachings, regardless of emotional highs or lows.

Lastly, Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as markers of spiritual maturity. As Christians, we cultivate these qualities through a consistent, day-to-day walk with God. This is often developed in the ordinary and even difficult moments of life, rather than through sporadic emotional experiences.

I’ve written more about this in our blog post on Spiritual Maturity According to the Bible: Unmasking My Hyper-Charismatic Illusion. Feel free to check it out.

3. It Leads to Anti-intellectualism

An experience-driven faith often leads to a troubling trend of anti-intellectualism or should I say, anti-theology. In the pursuit of “God’s presence” believers often end up neglecting the importance of reason and critical thinking. In fact, preachers in this movement will encourage you to throw reason out of the window. This is because critical thinking and doctrinal study are viewed as hindrances to achieving the spiritual encounters they crave.

As a result, many believers caught up in this movement will speak of how much they love God and feel His presence, yet they are biblically illiterate. I know because I was one of them. And if you scrutinized my experiences or questioned them based on the teachings of the Bible, I would employ the rhetoric, “don’t put God in a box” to dismiss critical examination. 

Eventually, this hyper-reliance on emotions and experiences inevitably opens the door to mysticism. A topic that I discuss at length in Mysticism: The Dangers of Seeking Special Revelation.

However, this is contrary to the biblical admonition to love God with our MINDS as well as our hearts, souls, and strength (Matt 22:37). In Christianity, emotions and reason are not mutually exclusive; rather, they should go hand in hand. As Jesus said in John 4:24, we are to worship God in spirit and in TRUTH; truth grounded in the Word of God. 

Therefore, Christians should examine every experience against the Scriptures to determine if it aligns with God’s truth. If it doesn’t, we should discard it. This is especially important because deception inevitably thrives when we abandon critical, biblical thinking. And in such environments, false teachings and cults find fertile ground to flourish.

Furthermore, the emotional experiences pursued in the name of God’s presence are not unique to Christians. You will find similar reports of heightened emotional states, mystical experiences, and supernatural encounters in various other religions around the world.

For instance, adherents of Hinduism often report profound spiritual experiences during rituals, meditation, or in the presence of their deities. In New Age spirituality, practitioners also report having oneness with the “divine’ as they seek altered states of consciousness and spiritual enlightenment through practices such as crystal healing, energy work, and meditation.

This highlights a critical point. That emotional highs, while powerful, are not reliable indicators of God’s presence or approval.

And I guess for me, it struck a chord when I realized that the same emotions and feelings of euphoria elicited in today’s worship concerts are no different from what fans might experience in a Beyoncé concert. The difference only lies in the setting.

The fact that various settings can elicit similar emotional responses underscores the need for a more discerning approach. One that does not rely solely on subjective feelings but seeks truth anchored in the unchanging Word of God.

People gathered in a church to worship and experience God's presence

Related: Bibliolatry: Should Christians Beware of Making the Bible an Idol?

4. It Has Influenced Worship

This theology of seeking after God’s presence has significantly influenced contemporary Christian worship music too.

Many modern worship songs are centered around inviting the Holy Spirit to manifest His presence in a tangible and emotionally satisfying way. Lyrics often contain repeated appeals such as “Holy Spirit, come,” “fill this place,” “move among us,” or “saturate the atmosphere” reflecting a desire for a palpable and intense experience of God’s presence.

However, Scripture does not teach this emphasis on invoking the Holy Spirit’s presence. The New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit already dwells within believers (1 Cor 6:19; Eph 1:13-14). And that God’s presence is a constant reality for those in Christ.

But this misunderstanding has now created a false need to strive for what believers already possess, rather than resting in the assurance of God’s indwelling presence.

As a result, worship has become more about creating an emotional atmosphere designed to elicit certain feelings rather than focusing on God who should be the object of our worship. Not ourselves or how we want to feel. 

This is not to say that emotionally engaging in worship is wrong. Proclaiming the truth of God’s Word in song is enough to evoke emotions as we contemplate His goodness and mercies by itself. Rather, my point is that the overemphasis on seeking new experiences of God’s presence diminishes true biblical worship. At best, it leads to emotional manipulation.

A Biblical Understanding of God’s Presence

A biblically grounded understanding of God’s presence reveals that, as believers, we already have the indwelling presence of God. Therefore, we do not need to incessantly seek after it. The New Testament affirms that through Jesus Christ and His finished work, we are continually in God’s presence. Since we are invited to rest in this profound truth, let’s explore it a little further.

The Finished Work of Christ

Jesus Christ, through His sacrificial death and resurrection, has provided the ultimate means by which believers are brought into fellowship with God. The Bible describes His sacrifice as once for all, completely sufficient for our reconciliation with God.

Hebrews 10:14 affirms this truth: “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” This sacrifice has forever bridged the gap between humanity and God, allowing believers to enter into His presence confidently.

Ephesians 2:13 speaks directly to this reality saying, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” This nearness to God is not contingent on our efforts or emotional experiences but is a definitive result of Christ’s redemptive work.

In 1 Corinthians 1:9, Paul reinforces this by saying, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our fellowship with God through Christ is an established fact, grounded in His faithfulness and completed work.

The Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit

Beyond Christ’s work, Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. Thus, making God’s presence a constant reality in our lives. 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

This profound truth means that believers are never without God’s presence. The Holy Spirit resides within us, guiding, comforting, and empowering us daily. Jesus Himself promised this indwelling presence before His ascension.

In John 14:16-17, He said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever; the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” This promise ensures that we are never apart from God’s presence, as the Holy Spirit abides in us always

God’s Presence in the Mundane

A critical aspect of understanding God’s presence is also recognizing that it encompasses every part of our lives. This includes the mundane and ordinary moments. Even when we do not feel it, God’s presence is with us, actively working within us.

Philippians 2:13 reassures us, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Similarly, Hebrews 13:21 affirms that God is “working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.”

This ongoing work of God in our lives underscores the reality that His presence is not limited to emotional or supernatural experiences. It is a constant, transformative reality in our daily existence.

Related: God’s Divine Providence: What it is and Why it Matters

Assurance in Scripture

The Bible continually reassures believers of God’s unceasing presence. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus comforted His disciples with the words, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This promise of His enduring presence is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. It provides us with confidence and peace in all circumstances as believers.

Furthermore, Romans 8:38-39 powerfully declares, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This passage assures us that God’s love and presence are unwavering and inseparable from our lives.


Understanding God’s presence biblically reveals that we do not need to strive to seek it continually. Through Jesus Christ’s finished work and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are always in God’s presence. This assurance allows us to live in the confidence and peace that comes from knowing we are ALWAYS near to God.

Even in the mundane and ordinary moments of life, God is actively working within us, fulfilling His good purposes. Instead of chasing after fleeting experiences, He invites us to rest in the steadfast truth of God’s ever-present love and fellowship.


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  1. avatar
    Emmanuel Mayaki says:

    You have just saved from mysticism. I was not a hyper charismatic by nomination but I realized that I was almost one by practice. In this article, you describe my so- called spiritual quest and I was wrong. In some of my prayers I was asking the Holy Spirit to manifest forgotten that he has already manifested from the day I received Christ as Lord and Savior.

    Thank you for crafting this article

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Hi Emmanuel,
      You are most welcome. I am happy that the article helped point you to the wonderful reality that God’s presence is always here with us. Therefore, we do not have to burden ourselves in an effort to conjure it up. Thank you for reading!

  2. avatar
    Janice says:

    Hey Wanjiru, your blog post really got me thinking. You know, there was a time when I’d head to church chasing that emotional rush, thinking that was the whole point of spiritual growth. Back then, I didn’t really know much about the scriptures or understand who God is.

    You know, I used to take the word of church leaders as the gold standard, not really the scriptures themselves. It’s kind of funny when I think about it now, but those spiritual “highs” I chased after? They were just dopamine hits that tricked me into feeling super close to God. And man, did I get hooked on that feeling. I was desperate for it, always searching for that divine connection.

    This whole idea that I had to earn my closeness with God had me running around like crazy, trying all sorts of things to feel, see, and somehow make God’s presence real in my life. Looking back. it was all about doing the right “works,”. But chasing that feeling just left me burned out spiritually, emotionally, and physically like you mentioned.

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Hi Janice,
      Oh my! You are right on the money when you say that the spiritual highs people chase after are simply dopamine hits. I hadn’t thought about it that way but it now makes hence why chasing after these experience is almost like a spiritual narcotic, it never leaves you satisfied but always seeking for more and more. I am grateful to God that He helped you come out of that spiritual hamster wheel. Thank you so much for sharing your story out of it.

  3. avatar
    Caroline says:

    Couldn’t put it better. This is real in our churches today. It does morph into another form of worship whose God is another rather than God Almighty

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Hi Caroline,

      That’s absolutely true. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏.

  4. avatar
    Njoroge Moses N says:

    @Ndeto It’s sincere desire that you understood the big picture here… That is qoute “it is not the presence of God in a biblical sense, but a feeling or emotional experience that is labeled as such”…. Such is what the hype charasmatic movement has turned to be…… And by doing so “It can sometimes become an idol, overshadowing the true essence of a relationship with God grounded in faith, obedience, and scripture”…..

  5. avatar
    Ndeto says:

    If people are not walking in error or whatever they practice doesn’t overstep the fundamental elements of apostolic doctrine, leave them alone. Each Christian is given to them a measure of grace and gifts which manifest uniquely to each believer. If you are having a problem with a Christian ceaselessly pursuing God then you need to check yourself. Be careful not to mask pharisee-like behavior in your judgement. Otherwise, you won’t be different from them.

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Hi Ndeto,

      Thank you for engaging with my post and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your passion for ensuring that Christians are allowed to practice their faith freely and uniquely, as God grants us different measures of grace and gifts.

      However, I’d like to clarify a few points regarding my perspective. Firstly, I am not imposing any restrictions or holding anyone “at gunpoint” for choosing to ceaselessly pursue the presence of God. My readers have the liberty to make their own choices regarding their spiritual practices.

      Coming from a hyper-charismatic background myself, I am well aware of both the allure and the dangers associated with the fervent pursuit of God’s presence as defined by this movement. My aim in highlighting these concerns is not to judge or condemn, but to shed light on potential pitfalls that can lead to spiritual exhaustion and disillusionment. These issues are very real and can have significant impacts on a believer’s walk with God.

      While you mention that such practices do not overstep apostolic doctrine, it’s also true that they do not fall within any specific prescription of it. This doesn’t necessarily render the practices invalid, but it does invite a closer examination of their potential to be harmful. Emotional and spiritual burnout, feelings of inadequacy, and a misplaced dependency on emotional experiences can all detract from a healthy, sustainable faith.

      Moreover, it’s crucial to discern what is truly being sought in these pursuits. Often, it is not the presence of God in a biblical sense, but a feeling or emotional experience that is labeled as such. It can sometimes become an idol, overshadowing the true essence of a relationship with God grounded in faith, obedience, and scripture.

      I appreciate your concern about avoiding a pharisaical attitude in judgment. My intention is not to judge but to share insights from my experiences and to encourage a more biblically grounded approach to seeking God. I believe that such discussions can help believers avoid potential pitfalls and grow in their faith in a more sustainable and scripturally sound manner.

      Thank you again for your feedback and for contributing to this important conversation.

  6. avatar
    Charity Kilonzo says:

    I agree with you on the part that… invoking the Holy spirit in worship songs. sorry to say this but there is an uproar of Western African songs that are being hyped by this mentality. you will get to you tube and come across 1 hr worship session of chants. HUH

    1. avatar
      Wanjiru Ng'ang'a says:

      Hi Charity,
      So happy to hear from you again. And yes I agree with you. And it begs the question, who are we worshipping here? I it God? or are we idolizing a certain feeling that we want these songs to elicit? Because you can be sure it’s far from the Biblical standard of what worship music should look like.

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