A Holy Place
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Me, God,” you might respond. “I don’t feel like a temple of the Holy Spirit most of the time.”
One of the amazing truths of the Christian life is that when we trust in Christ as our Savior, His Spirit takes up residence in us. He’s not just “out there” any longer. He’s living in us. In the same way that Christ stepped out of heaven and came to earth to communicate His love, forgiveness, and power to us, His Spirit steps into the life of each believer to impart wisdom, encouragement, and strength to us- every day. Always, He is literally as near as our breath.
The implications of this truth are stunning. We are never alone. In our times of celebration, we remember that He is the One who gives us success. In times of suffering, the One who comforted Mary and Martha when their brother died is with us, too.(John 11:5-44) When we are confused, we can trust Him for direction. And when He seems slow to answer, we can wait patiently because He has proven that we can trust His timing.
But housing the Holy Spirit also brings responsibility. We represent the King of Kings to every person we meet, and we are His ambassadors to those around us.(2 Corinthians 5:20) Realizing we are God’s temples causes us to stop and think about what we say, what we do, and what we value.
Though every believer has the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit does not have every believer. A.W. Tozer
Could you imagine if you were living in the days when Christ was here on earth and you had the honor of having Him as a guest in your home? How would you respond when you found out that He was coming to see you and perhaps stay with you for a few days?
I don’t know about you but whenever Sherry and I have someone coming to see us, maybe to have food with us or to spend a few days with us, we go through the routine of preparation for their arrival. We will make sure the lawn is trimmed, the house is cleaned from bottom to top. We will prepare their bedroom with extra care. We will plan meals to their satisfaction. In other words we feel so honored having some dear friend or family member staying with us that we want everything to be as best as it can be. Now we’ve never had the privilege of having Christ in the flesh in our home as Mary and Martha did. When we read their story we find that Martha was so busy trying to impress Jesus with the food and the home that she forgot the most important thing- her guest.
Now this brings it to us. How easy it is to get so busy trying to clean up our lives, to make sure that everything is perfect for Him that we forget to enjoy His company. You see God in occupying our lives is more interested in relationship building than His in whether the house is spotless. The idea that the Holy Spirit lives in us and that we are the temple of God throws a lot of religious people into a spiritual spasm. They rush from place to place trying to clean up their act with so much self-effort that they forget to sit at His feet and absorb life from the Holy Spirit.
We major in self-righteousness- trying to force ourselves into some religious conformity rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to fill our heart with knowledge and presence of God.
I’ve learned from experience that unoccupied and unused space collects dust. The same is true for our souls. Any space in our heart that is not occupied by the Holy Spirit will find itself becoming a sin-collector just as an empty room gathers dust. The only way to keep our temple clean is to have it occupied by the Holy Spirit- not in portion but in fullness. Not just having the Holy Spirit in our front room but in the closet and the basement and you will find your life fulfilled and holy. You see the Holy Spirit is holy and every place He occupies becomes holy. To live a holy life is in reality the matter of allowing the Holy Spirit to occupy every part of your being.
There is a progression of being fully occupied by the Holy Spirit, but deeper still is when instead of the Holy Spirit merely occupying us is the place where we are in the Holy Spirit- baptized, immersed and not only is the Holy Spirit in us, but all around us, and over us. Rather than us sharing space with the Holy Spirit, we allow Him to share space with us.
Tozer tells us that to every born again believer has been given a measure of the Holy Spirit but not every believer has fully yielded to become the possession of the Holy Spirit.
You may ask how you might become the possession of the Holy Spirit and to have Him to live in you as a home owner lives in their house with access to every room and space. The answer is simple: ownership transfer. Give the Holy Spirit title deed to your heart and life. Keep nothing back, no reserved space but allowing the Holy Spirit full access to every part of you. Ask Him to become the Head of the house and be willing to accept His guiding and direction in every aspect of your life. Even each day welcoming Him and waiting on His instructions for the day. Open wide the doors of your heart to the presence of God. Yield every member of your body for His use at His discretion.
Not an easy assignment but one that can be done if you’re willing to give up your deed and sell out to the Holy Spirit and you become the tenant and let Him be the Landlord.
Dr. John Thompson