The beginning of my day today was spent listening to the audiobook, “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan. After listening to only the introduction I was hooked and finished the book by the time I had to go out for ministry. I was captivated by Chan’s simplistic yet straightforward way of discussing the Holy Spirit. His thoughts and ideas were not “fluffy” nor were they hard to understand, they were simply biblical. In the church body today we often forget to acknowledge the beauty and wonder of the Holy Spirit and how He is present in our every day lives. We tend to categorize one another into denominations and belief systems by the way we talk about or react to the Holy Spirit’s presence. And though there are many arguments and disagreements between us, one thing we all agree on is that the Spirit is part of the Trinity, so why do we belittle His presence and power. As each day passes I am amazed at how the Holy Spirit works in my life and am so grateful that He has dwells within me. I have finally grasped that all the Holy Spirit I will ever receive and/or need is already living within me. How spectacular is that! So before I ramble on with my thoughts I will admit that the rest of this entry can be found throughout “Forgotten God”, sometimes I have written it verbatim and other times it is paraphrased. Either way the message is clear, which is there is a “forgotten God” and that is the Holy Spirit. I hope that the topics I bring up from this book touch you and allow you to see the Spirit in a whole new way.
When we accept Jesus into our lives as our personal Savior, a supernatural event takes place. The Holy Spirit comes and takes permanent residence in our hearts and in our lives. So if it’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple, then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not? Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them?
How many of us have truly surrendered all to Jesus and allowed the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. Salvation in itself is a transformation and a blessing but what areas of your live are you still holding onto? Look over the traits of the spiritual fruit in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Now ask yourself do you possess those to a supernatural degree? Do you exhibit more kindness and faithfulness than the Mormons you know? Do you have more self-control than your Muslim friends? More peace than the Buddhist? More joy than the Atheist? If GOD truly lives in you shouldn’t you expect to be different from everyone else? What is most disturbing is that we are not bothered that God living in us has not made much of a noticeable difference. Most churchgoers are content to find a bit of peace rather than a peace of God that surpasses all comprehension. Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We are no different than the world yet we expect to go out and tell those of different faiths who Christ is and how He has changed our lives. How are we to even begin telling others when our lives show no sign of radical transformation or that of the Holy Spirit within us.
Most of us assume that what we believe is right but have never really studied for ourselves. We were simply told, “This is the way it is,” and didn’t question. The problem is much of what we believe is often based more on comfort or our culture’s tradition than on the Bible. I believe we need to reexamine our faith just as much as a person of another faith needs to reconsider theirs. We need to begin afresh by reexamining our preconceived ideas about the Holy Spirit and what it means to be a temple of the Spirit. There is much more to God and following in the Way of Jesus than getting a bunch of talented people together to hold a church service. Have you ever thought about the significance of having “another” Counselor who is “just like” Christ? Right now, imagine what it would be like to have Christ standing beside you in the flesh, functioning as your personal Counselor. Imagine the peace that would come from knowing you would always receive perfect truth and flawless direction from Him. That sounds amazing, and none of us could deny the benefit of having Jesus here physically, guiding and enabling us every step of the way. Yet why do we assume that this would be any better than the literal presence of the Holy Spirit? Those of us who believe in Jesus would never deny the truth that we have the Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead, living inside of us. I’m just not convinced we’ve internalized this truth and enjoyed His blessings as He intends. It seems like this is mostly head knowledge to us, and that we have not owned it. It has not really made much of a difference in our lives, to the degree that if we woke up tomorrow and discovered that it is not true the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, most likely our lives wouldn’t look much different. This is a sad statement yet holds much truth.
Instead as a new day begins we should ask “Who do you want me to love for You today?”. For from the Spirit we receive power to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8. It is the Spirit who draws people to the Gospel, the Spirit who equips us with the strength we need to accomplish God’s purposes, Romans 8:26. The Holy Spirit not only initially draws people to God, He also drives believers closer to Jesus, Ephesians 3:16-19.
It really is an astounding truth that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. He lives in me. I do not know what the Spirit will do or where He’ll lead me each time I invite Him to guide me. But I am tired of living in a way that looks exactly like people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God living in them. I want to consistently live with an awareness of His strength. I want to be different today from what I was yesterday as the fruit of the Spirit becomes more manifest in me. I want to live so that I am truly submitted to the Spirit’s leading on a daily basis. Christ said it is better for us that the Spirit came, and I want to live like I know that is true. I don’t want to continue in my old ways when I know that the Holy Spirit has a better life in store for me.