The Holy Spirit lives in you!
You need not live like you used to live –
For, God has a higher life for you, and it is to see good days and experience peace that is truly peace, as grace takes you from where you are, to where God wants you to be in your life. And as you continue to study, and meditate upon God’s word, through the words of the apostle Peter, to build upon this truth of God’s plan, may you hear from God, through the scripture which declares that he who would love life and to see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; Let him turn away from evil, to do what is good; and let him seek peace and pursue it. [1 Peter 3:10,11] God’s commandments are also His enabling; therefore, how it is possible to do what has been exhorted above is very clearly set forth by the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, where he writes that, to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. [Romans 8:6]
It is all about setting your mind on the things of the Spirit, or in other words, your mind being governed by the Holy Spirit, and it is then that you are led to life and peace, one that sees a removal of all lack that is a hindrance to it. Moreover, setting your mind, on the things of the flesh is itself death or a separation from God, and it is why there needs to be a transformation within you, in the way you think, through a renewing of your mind. And to this end, God once again empowers you, by stepping in to accomplish a wonderful work of grace in you, in the dispensation of the new covenant that is in operation now, through the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. And the writer to the Hebrews describes the promise of God concerning it. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they will be My people’. [Hebrews 8:10] He Himself puts His law in your mind, and writes it in the tablet of your heart. And this is where the Holy Spirit plays a very pivotal role. For, it is the carnal mind set, the mind that is set on the things of the world that is in a person before he is saved, that is a barrier, or hindrance when it comes to living a life that is pleasing to God. [Romans 8:8]
But, the fact that it can be dealt with, is the answer that comes from God, in the very next verse, as it declares, but you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. [Romans 8:9] Thus, it is when you live according to the dictates of your flesh, that you cannot please God. But, when the Spirit of God is in you, you need not live a life that is displeasing to God.
And, how do you know that the Spirit of God is in you?
It is when you are saved that you can vouch for the presence of the Holy Spirit in you, for it is in your spirit that the revelation of the Holy Spirit in you comes. It is in essence, a declaration of the fruit of your salvation experience, and something that happens in you, when you receive Christ into your heart as your very own personal Savior. For until then, sin had separated you from God, but Salvation brings you back to God.
How does this take place in your life?
In Him you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. [Ephesians 1:13] The word of God thus, pinpoints the three things that happened in you, at that point in your life, when you heard the word of truth. You believed, you were saved, and you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. And, the three together was your salvation experience. But, if you are a person who feels that it has not yet happened in your life, it can happen in you this very day. For, as you hear and respond in faith to the gospel of truth, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit.
What does this mean in your life?
It means that from now on, you are owned and belong to God. You are His treasured possession. In the natural realm, what belongs to you is something that you value, provide for and protect. It goes much deeper though when it comes to your salvation. For, when you believe the gospel, and you are saved, the Holy Spirit, who makes up the Godhead of the trinity, of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, comes to live in you. He is not merely a supernatural influence, or a kind of divine intuition, as many perceive the Holy Spirit to be. He is a Person, who comes and takes residence in you.
What happens then as a result of it?
He does not remain dormant; rather He guides you and protects you, for you now belong to God in Christ. Being born into a Christian family, or becoming a member of a particular church, does not make you a Christian, as some falsely presume it to be. In fact you are a Christian, only when Christ is in you.
And, how is Christ in you?
His Spirit now lives in you. He is the blessed Holy Spirit, and is the source of all blessing in your life. And, there are three major applications of this momentous truth, that need to happen in you, as a result of it.
No longer dominated by the fleshly, carnal mindset:
There is available to you now, through the Holy Spirit who lives in you, the exceeding greatness of God’s power, according to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ, as He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand, in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 1:19,20] Previously, you were dominated by the flesh, and the worldly self centered mind set, that cannot please God. It is because, the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. [Romans 8:7] It was impossible for you to transform yourself by your own self effort, and hence you remained under the domination of the sinful fleshly desires, that were contrary to the will and good pleasure of God. It was the status quo, prior to your salvation.
But subsequently, as a consequence of your salvation, the impossible becomes possible, because the Holy Spirit is now living in you, and you do not have to be dominated, by what is not from God.In this world, no one likes to be dominated; but it is also true that everyone likes to dominate in some way or the other. In fact, intimidation and manipulation are two sides of the same coin, when it comes to an outworking of domination. A strong person intimidates, while a weak person manipulates, both in order to dominate over someone. Living with such a person can be a frustrating and nerve wracking experience, something that is definitely not according to God’s design of humanity. For, at the root of it all is the hand of the devil.
But it need not be your portion anymore, for through salvation, you have been delivered from the dominion of darkness. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. [Colossians 1:13] You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free, the Savior has declared, and He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. And it is the freedom that comes through the knowledge of the truth that you no longer need to be dominated by the sin principle in you, the sinful desires of the flesh that are from the devil, because the Holy Spirit of God has taken residence in you.
Understanding the liberating truth:
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the word of God depicts the change that has happened in you when you have become a child of God, the liberty and power that you now enjoy, to stay free from sin’s cruel bondage. But, prior to your salvation it was not so, as Paul goes on to say, In which you once walked, according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. Among whom also, we all once conducted ourselves according to the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. [Ephesians 2:2,3]
It was the way you once lived, and more importantly, had no other option but to live, when the amazing grace of God intervened. And the peak of it all would be your experience of it that would lead you to testify that it is by grace that a person is saved, and not by works, that none may boast. Your present reality is therefore, the fact that you have been saved by grace and through faith. And therefore, now you do not have to live like you used to live. It is the light of understanding that needs to shine in your heart, to lift you up to the new and higher life that God has for you now.
But for some people it is not the case, though the grace of God has led them to be saved. And so, they were once lost, but still remain lost; they were once blind, and they remain blind to what has been made available to them now, which is the power to say ‘no’ to sin and the lusts of the flesh, and to overcome the ungodly mindset that cannot walk in obedience to God. And it is with a right understanding of the truth that they can embrace the new freedom that liberates them from the shackles of sin and darkness.
Man is spirit, soul and body:
It begins with grasping and acknowledging the fact that man has been created by God, to be a tripartite being, comprising of a spirit, soul and a body. He is a spirit being, who has a soul, and he lives in a body. It is the order of creation in him as a human being. The human spirit occupies the primary place, to be followed by his soul, that comprises of his mind, emotions and will, and then lastly it is his physical body that carries out the dictates of the spirit and soul. It is how man is made complete in his functionality.
The entrance of sin and death:
It was the entrance of sin in the garden of God, in Adam and Eve that distorted man’s original design, to find all of humanity that descended from Adam, to be partakers of his sinful nature, to be dead or cut off in his spirit from God. It is why in describing the sinful acts of flesh, there is no mention of the spirit of man. [Ephesians 2:3]
And why is it so?
It is because the spirit at that point is cut off from God, and is for all purposes dead. It has no power or life in it to accomplish anything that is right and good. For, the conscience of a man may point out when he is going in the wrong path, but it cannot go beyond that, to succeed in making him turn around and do what is right. Thus, your conscience may point out your need to worship in church on a Sunday morning, but if your mind and body do not cooperate, they can work together to dethrone your good conscience. And it will find you lounging in laziness at home, or venturing out to indulge in activities that will in the long run cause you irrevocable harm.
But, Paul describes the initial condition of the Ephesians, before the Savior’s redeeming work of grace in them as, ‘It is how you used to live’. [Ephesians 2:2] Therefore, the question that you need to address today, after you have experienced God’s work of grace in you, that has saved you from sin and death, is a very crucial one – ‘Do you still live like that?’ For very often, you will find, that the human mind can very easily justify its wrong tendencies and actions, even after having been delivered and saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit. It can substitute human reasoning in the place of revelation truth. And, your mind can hence try to justify your drifting away in your fellowship and intimacy with the Lord, through prayer and studying the word, by saying within you, that other so called Christians are also doing the same. But, when the Holy Spirit is living in you, you do not have to succumb to that fleshly and seemingly logical logic! Once upon a time you had lived like that, because you did not have the Spirit in you, filling you with His wisdom, power and strength. And so you had resigned yourself in your mind, to give in and satisfy your carnal and fleshly desires and instincts.
But now, you do not have to live like you used to live. For, God has a higher life for you. It is what the Lord Jesus displayed in the wilderness, when after fasting for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. And the tempter immediately swooped in, tempting Him to satisfy it by doing a miraculous sign that the Lord was fully capable of, and yet, He did not, for He knew His Father’s heart and will for Him. It was the higher way, and the higher life that comes through the word of God. And so, the Lord overcame the devil’s deceitful reasoning and logic, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’. [Matthew 4:4]
God’s higher life comes to you through His word. And the Holy Spirit is in you to reveal it to you specifically and relevantly, in your every situation. His word never fails, and is never out of date! It is why Paul writes, that though you once used to live under the domination of the devil and carnal desires, you no longer need to live like that, because you now have the Holy Spirit living in you, as a child of God. But, even now there are many who find it a struggle, to shift their focus and attention from the television that keeps them glued, in order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit through God’s word. And, if processing and retaining information is not difficult when it comes to sports, business and politics, it only goes to show that retarded intelligence is not the reason. Rather it is in the inclination of the mind, that there is a problem, when it comes to spiritual concentration!
To such a person, and every child of God who may be in a struggle, You do not have to live in such a manner anymore, is the confident encouragement that Paul offers, because the Holy Spirit is now living in him. Be encouraged therefore, if you are in such a position, to move forward, and not remain plagued by unhealthy things that dominate you. It could be fear, discouragement, depression or anxiety, but you do not have to live under its dark cloud anymore. For, when you were in the dominion of darkness, you did not have the strength or power to overcome it all. But now, He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world. And you do not have to bow down to the devil’s wishes in order to achieve what you think you need in life. But instead, like the Lord, in the power of the Spirit, you can choose to stand your ground, saying, Be gone satan, for it is written, ‘worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’. [Matthew 4:10] It becomes possible, when you know and understand the truth, through the Comforter who now lives in you, that you have a Heavenly Father, who has known and made available all that you will ever need in your life. And you will rest in the knowledge that they will be added in your life, even as you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
But then again, God will never force anyone. And if you insist on living like you used to live, though the Holy Spirit is now living in you, He has no other option but to leave you to your own devices. And, there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death. The word of God has declared it in terms that cannot in any way be misconstrued.
‘Old habits die hard’!
It is the proverbial saying; and the reality of it is something that you and I have experienced in our lives, at some point or the other. Old habits and mind set can be very difficult to dislodge, for they become an integral part of your thought process. And therefore, even after you have been set free, by God’s redeeming and liberating work of grace, you can still remain tied and bound to them. It would be like the behavior of a dog, that when kept on a leash within a certain boundary, for a long period of time, remains within the same perimeter, even after it has been untied and set free to go much beyond that limited area.
It is very true, that you may not be able to get rid of old habits that refuse to die, by your own self effort. But it also very true that when the Holy Spirit is living in you, He can transform you into newness, where all old things have passed away, in the twinkling of an eye! And it is that life, that God wants you to live now, after you have been conveyed into the kingdom of His Son, and you are no longer under the dominion of darkness.
The help of the Holy Spirit:
It may take time, but the revelation light of the truth of God’s word that the Holy Spirit begins to shine within you, as He lives in you, will see it come to pass. It is a process, a renewing of your mind that begins on the day He takes residence in you, and will proceed from glory to glory, in the course of every single day of your life. Again it has to be said that the devil will not give up on you that easily. He may still try to lure you into his control once again, using old tricks in new forms maybe. His identifying signature though will always be domination, hidden in the garb of cunning manipulation sometimes. There is obviously thus, a huge difference in the way he operates, when compared to God’s. The devil drives you, while the Spirit of God leads you. And, the difference is love!
God is love –
The devil is incapable of love; he can never love you. He comes into your life only to steal, kill and destroy. It is his agenda. But, you have a God who is love. He cannot do anything but love you! And it is true concerning every person in the world. He so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life! Christ has come to give you life in all its abundance. It is this magnificent and overflowing life that God wants you to live now, in the glory of the new covenant, where sin and death has been conquered by the Savior on the Cross of Calvary. And, it becomes possible all because the Holy Spirit now lives in you. It is the outworking of God’s amazing grace; a promise from Him that speaks now into your heart and mine, with exquisite relevance, for we have now tasted redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, and our body now is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The SPIRIT’s enabling –
Therefore, the Holy Spirit who now resides in you, helps you so that you need not live like used to live. And the psalmist David’s prayer of repentance, after being convicted in his heart of his blatant sin of adultery and murder, is a wondrous example of the transformation that can happen in a person, to lead to salvation. ‘Create in me a clean heart, O Lord’ he prays, to add, ‘And renew a right spirit within me’. [Psalm 51: 10] If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come, is how scripture describes your salvation experience, to establish the truth of everything becoming new in your life, in your inner man, that goes on to become visible in your outer conduct. And how it all takes place within you through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, is described by the prophet Ezekiel, to bring to light the powerful promise of God, who declares, I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you. I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh. ‘I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God’. [Ezekiel 36:26-28] God has promised to remove the stony heart in a person, one that is rebellious and refuses to obey, and give instead a soft and tender heart, one that is able to respond rightly to Him and be blessed.
Some people may appear to have a tough and stony heart, one that is incapable of responding softly and rightly with God and with others. And sometimes it could be self protection or even just a spirit of cowardice that they hide underneath a harsh and tough exterior. But whatever the cause may be, it certainly need not remain that way, according to the promise of God. For, as He places in them, His Spirit, just the presence of the Spirit living in them can make a tough person tender and responsive. After all, even mountains can melt like wax before a fire, in the presence of God.
The miraculous transformation of a heart, that is made sensitive and responsive to God the Father, can be yours, even as it happened in the prophet Isaiah. ‘Here I am Lord, send me’. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send; who will go for us? And I said, ‘Here I am, send me’ [Isaiah 6:8] It was the prophet’s submission to the call of God upon his life, made possible with a heart made responsive by the Holy Spirit. And even more wondrous was Mary’s submissive and soft heart that yielded to the word of God, though she could not even fully comprehend it initially. ‘Behold the maid servant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word’. [Luke 1:37] And with a heart made tender, sensitive and responsive to the word of God, now that the Spirit lives in you, for you have been delivered, saved and sealed with the Spirit, you will realize a magnificent truth. It is that you need not live like you used to live, for you now have a new life in the Spirit. And when you respond rightly to God, you will certainly respond rightly to people, even the selfish and manipulative ones!
It is His Spirit in you –
You are a spirit being, with a mind and a body. And when you are saved, the Spirit of God comes in you, to dwell in your spirit, which was hitherto dominated by your mind and body. But it can no longer happen, for the Spirit of God is greater and stronger; and the revelation truth that comes in your spirit through Him will make your mind and body, respond rightly. For when the flesh says, ‘I cannot’, your mind renewed by the Holy Spirit who lives now in your spirit, will be able to say, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. Previously, the lust of the flesh could have been dictating terms, wanting its appetites and desires to be satisfied, but now through the Spirit’s empowering you will be able to know and walk in the truth that the grace of God teaches you to say ‘no’ to ungodliness, and worldly lusts. [Titus 2:12] And the grace of God is new every day. You do not have to live therefore, like you used to live. And whatever you have been struggling with in your life, to withstand and overcome, you can be successful. You need not struggle anymore.
Even when someone insults you, when earlier you would have retaliated immediately with a pungent retort, now you may surprise yourself, as you do not do it anymore! For, you are able to ignore the promptings of your flesh that cries out for swift vengeance, in the knowledge of the truth that your self has been crucified on the Cross, and it is no longer you but Christ who lives in you. And the Holy Spirit in you will guide and empower you to maintain your quiet posture, as He does His transforming work in you. Meekness is never weakness. It is strength under control.
The Lord remained silent, as He was led as a lamb to the shearers, in His path to Calvary. But, because He remained quiet, and went on to offer Himself as the one perfect sacrifice, you and I can open our mouths with gladness now. Finally, as it is written in the word, that when you do not have the Spirit of Christ, you do not belong to Him, it also follows that when you have the Spirit of Christ, you belong to Christ. [Romans 8:9]
You are HIS!
What could be higher and more privileged than this wondrous truth! You belong to God. It is what He asserts through the prophet Isaiah. Behold My Servant whom I uphold; My Elect One in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice for the Gentiles. [Isaiah 42:1] It is the promise concerning Christ the Messiah, who was to come in the future, in the fullness of time. And when you are in Christ, this promise is yours, for it is ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ. Fear not, for I have redeemed you; you are mine, God also says to you. [Isaiah 43:1] He has redeemed you, to make you His, and promises to strengthen and uphold you, every step of the way. And God is going to do it all by causing His Spirit to rest upon you. What was prophesied by the prophet then, still stands, and is fulfilled today in your life. Therefore, you do not have to live like you used to live anymore, for the Spirit of God lives in you.
And every heart knows its own bitterness; therefore, as you come to the Lord in prayer, with whatever you are experiencing right now, be encouraged with the word that has come to you today, to know that your struggle will cease from this day on, and success will begin to flow in your life, as the Spirit of God does His gracious work in you, through the word of God. May the Spirit of God, fall afresh on you to fill you anew, as He lives in you, to live through you, to make peace your experience in life, and may the blessing of God be upon you, this day and every day of your life. In the Name of Christ Jesus Amen.
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