Indwelling of the Spirit
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)
This is the essence of God’s redemption of us through the blood of Jesus Christ: to purge us of our sins and sanctify us to make Himself a people – a people where He could make His dwelling place, that is, in each and every one of us. This was His plan even before the foundation of the world. He set up Eden and put the first two people, Adam and Eve, and dwelt in their midst… until their great fall. Their disobedience made God drive them out of paradise, and out of His presence.
But because of God’s everlasting kindness, He found a way to gather His creation together back to Him by offering His peace and reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Yes, God wants us and He longs for us and He wants to be with us – if only we receive His offer of love and amazing grace.
The moment we receive the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives and are baptized in water in His name, the Holy Spirit will come and make His abode in us. This is His promise:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14: 16,17)
So then, through the Lord Jesus Christ, God has drawn us close to Him to have fellowship with Him. He has opened His arms wide so we can run into them and establish a personal relationship with Him, for He dwells in our hearts.
… and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1: 3)
Outpouring of the Spirit
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2: 28)
This promise of God was first fulfilled during the Pentecost (Acts 2), and continues to happen to the Spirit-filled Church.
I’m ever thankful that the good Lord put us in the Church where it gives utmost priority in worshiping God in spirit and in truth. We are taught to always seek the holy presence of the Lord whenever we worship. That should be our utmost goal: to be filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing!
For the almost-eight years that we’ve served the Lord Jesus in our Church, I’ve been blessed to witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, especially during the singing of the Jesus Finest Generation Choir. There were times that a divine message: revelation, prophecy, or vision was sent to a choir member during such powerful outpouring.
One time, during a mid-week service, I heard a very powerful, loving, and encouraging message. The Finest Choir was singing, and the Holy Spirit came down. Then, one of the choir members, being filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke in plain English. Through the singing, the speaking-in-tongues, the mighty “sound” of a Church being filled with the Holy Spirit, it was hard to clearly understand the message, but it was spoken many times, and I strained my ears to listen.
I asked myself, “Am I hearing what I think I’m hearing? If I’m right, oh, how blessed am I!” I looked at my companions. They were deep in worship but it seemed that they weren’t listening to the divine message being spoken.
This was a time that I was still suffering from the many hardships my illness brought. And the message, which I was sure I heard it right, has blessed me beyond measure. The message was: “I love you, my children.” And it was spoken many times. After the choir singing, a preacher announced the loving message from the heavenly Father, and I was right: God had professed His great love for His children.
We know that our Father loves us with an everlasting love, but to hear Him say it is just wonderful!
God Longs for His Children
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matt. 23: 38)
With this lament of Jesus over Jerusalem, I could sense God’s deep longing to be with His creation.
Yes, our God longs for His children as much as we long for Him. I’ve proven this during a Children’s Choir singing. As they sang, they were filled with the Holy Spirit, until the whole congregation was also touched by the holy presence of the Lord. For my part, I was weeping in deep longing for God and overflowing gratitude for saving me.
The Holy Spirit lingered for a long time. It was then that I understood how the Lord longs for our love, our heartfelt worship, our time together with Him. He cherishes it. He spoke it in my heart then: that He loves us fervently and it’s not His desire for us to be far from Him, and that spending time with Him and delighting in Him brings Him joy, for He delights in us.
The Holy Spirit Grieves
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Eph. 4: 30)
Maybe there are some of us who have not received the Holy Spirit, or have not felt the presence of the Lord for a long time, that praising and worshiping just feels flat, dry, empty. One reason could be that the Holy Spirit grieved and has left. There could be many reasons why the Holy Spirit grieves. Maybe there are things in our lives that we just can’t let go: the past, attitudes that offend God, gratification of personal desires, the ones that are not according to God’s will, resentment, bitterness – all the things that are products of a carnally-minded life… For how can the Spirit dwell in a heart that’s cluttered with things it can’t let go?
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom. 8:6)
Or, maybe in His temple, which temple we are, we’ve set idols – idols of self, of gold (materialism), of work that has taken over our lives.
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Cor. 3: 17)
We clean a full and cluttered closet before it collapses. We must do the same with ourselves, our hearts, our minds – to let go of those things that are not needful and profitable in our spiritual life, to let go of those that do not produce much-desired fruits, but in fact, offend and grieve the Spirit of God.
…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom. 8: 9)