Rom 8:11 tells us ‘if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.’ This is a tremendous promise, but we need to ask ourselves why we do not see more of the miraculous and supernatural in our everyday lives and in our church services. Perhaps the answer is connected to our view of the Holy Spirit and whether we see Him as a lodger or Lord of every area of our lives.
A lodger is someone who lives in your house, but who is not treated as part of the family. They are a paying guest and the owner still has authority over what goes on in the house. We often treat the Holy Spirit like this. He is an honoured guest, but if He oversteps the mark – invading our lounge, our kitchen, our dining-room and telling us how to live – we very quickly can become offended and resentful.
The Holy Spirit, however, isn’t meant to be a lodger. He’s not someone to whom we have graciously given access to our lives; He is God Himself. He’s the Advocate Jesus promised His disciples (John 14:15); the One who searches all things, even the deep things of God (1 Cor 2:10) ‘so that we may understand what God has freely given us.’ (1 Cor 2:12) So rather than being confined to one room, His role is to invade our whole lives, to have access to all we have and all we are so that we may be conformed into the image of Christ. His function is to guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and to produce in us the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)
If we continue with the house analogy, we can only make room for ‘more stuff’ in our homes if we clear out some of the ‘old stuff.’ In the same way, we can only experience more of the Holy Spirit if we deal with all that is at war with Him. ‘The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.’ (Rom 8:7-8)
Just as we know that we have to eat the right things if we are to live healthily and lose weight, just as we know we need to do physical exercise if we want to be physically fit, so we have to understand the conflict that goes on between our independent ‘I’m-the-owner-of-this-house’ mentality and the fact that our bodies are actually meant to be temples of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 6:19) If we want to have a better connection to God the Holy Spirit, we have to listen to Him when He tells us to get rid of something or do something and we have to be prepared to obey. The more we do this, the more we will grow spiritually. I truly believe we can have as much of God as we are prepared to receive… but that will mean de-cluttering our lives and letting Him be Lord. It will mean doing what He says, however weird or illogical that may seem to us. God so very often doesn’t make sense to us and we have to be prepared to step out in faith, rather than only doing what makes sense, and learn to obey the whispers of the Spirit, whether that is in rebuke or encouragement.