What Does it Mean to Have the Holy Spirit Live in Us?
In Truth Two, we see God giving us the Holy Spirit to live and dwell in us in order to both “will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). In other words, as we discovered yesterday, the Holy Spirit is active in us to accomplish what God has predestined simply for His good pleasure, or because He wanted to. And what He predestined for us is to be “conformed (to be similar in essence or nature) to the image (an exact representation) of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). God wants His children to be just like His Son. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Don’t we want our own children to grow up to reflect their parent’s nature, values, faith, and virtue?
So Truth Two lets us know we have the Holy Spirit living in us to accomplish that exact purpose. So we are not alone on this journey towards the Higher Christian Life. God has given us Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish His will in making us just like Jesus. And this is a great encouragement to those who have repeatedly tried and failed to live the Higher Christian Life by their own wits. It cannot be done. The Higher Christian Life can only be lived through the Spirit who now lives and empowers each of us. Our task is to Let Go, and Let God. We are to Let Go of our own pride, independence, and self-efforts and Let God have every part of us, by surrendering to Him, so that “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), all for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13) and by His sovereign design.
But think for a moment, what does having God dwell in us do for us? And why did God choose to live in us and not have us come to Him as He did in the Old Testament? And this is where the wonders of the Higher Christian Life become real to us and we feel the growing confidence that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Phil. 4:13).
Rejoice, God Now Lives in You!
In the Old Testament, God lived with His people but did not live in them. He met with only a select few in the Tabernacle and they, in turn, told others the words of the Lord. He communicated His message to His prophets, and not to others. The Holy Spirit came upon men for a season or for a specific purpose and then was removed. We see this in the acts of Samson, the prophecy of Saul, and many others. In fact, it was the Holy Spirit falling on ordinary men that made them the heroes of the faith we honor today. It was not them or their personal charisma, courage, or charm, but the Spirit who transformed ordinary men into beacons of light, who lived a life of faith during troubling times.
And when David, in the midst of anguish over his sin, cried out “and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11), he was not referring to his salvation, but to his intimacy with the Lord fostered only by the presence of the Holy Spirit in His life, for a season. It was the Spirit who gave David the inspiration to write so many of the Psalms. It was the Spirit of God who imparted His wisdom to Solomon so evident in the Proverbs. It was the Holy Spirit who emboldened the three Hebrew children to defy the blasphemy of Nebuchadnezzar, even at the threat of death. And it is the same Spirit who lives in you, not for a season but permanently, never to leave.
But what does that mean? Simply this.
Before Jesus was taken from His disciples’ sight, He “commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me'” (Acts 1:4). And the wonderous Promise of the Father was the coming reality of God living in us, not just with us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. We will never have to go to where God is to meet with Him, for He is always in us. Forever. (Note: As a bit of homework, look up the phrase “in Christ” and see the amazing benefits you have that were unknown to even the Old Testament saints. But we will look more into that at a later time).
Consider the words of Jesus when He spoke about the blessing of the Holy Spirit living in us.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another (állos – another of the same kind, another just like Jesus) Helper, that He may abide (ménō – to remain, dwell, live, make their home, to be and remain united with one heart, mind, and will) with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, (how) for He dwells (ménō – same word translated abide) with you and will be (what) in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
One last thought, Jesus said the “Spirit of truth,” the Holy Spirit, now “dwells with you” (present tense), but “will be in you” (future tense) at some point in time. This promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was the Promise of the Father Jesus spoke about in Acts 1:4. And it was powerfully fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.
If you are a believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit, the very God of Gods, living in you. For the Holy Spirit is just as much God as the Father and the Son. Yet it is He, and not the Father nor the Son, who lives in you and empowers you to be overcomers in the life of faith. And, as Truth Two states, it is by the Spirit that God will do whatever is necessary to bring you into conformity with His Son (Rom. 8:29), according to His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), which is the very definition of the Higher Christian Life.
So be encouraged. You have everything you need to live the “abundant life” Jesus promised (John 10:10) right now. And the Holy Spirit is not out there, somewhere, far away, playing hide-and-seek, only revealing Himself to those more faithful or worthy than you. No, He lives in you right now. He empowers you right now. And He comes with spiritual gifts to impart to you, right now.
All you have to do is ask. And asking comes in the form of trust and surrender.