We have been given a gift from God that believers in the Old Testament only received on rare occasions. We have the Holy Spirit living in us because of our union with Christ. It is part of the package deal when we come to faith. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession- to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV) God gives us his Holy Spirit as pledge to us that we are saved and more is yet to come.
Christ living in me is a fact. We have access to the unlimited power of Christ at any moment. “I pray also that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.” (Ephesians 1:19 NLT) The sad part is so many times we limit God’s power in our lives by not believing in or ignoring the reality of the Holy Spirit’s presence. We operate out of our own strength. If we aren’t patient, we just try harder to be patient. We work at it. But patience is a fruit of the Spirit that is produced in us without our effort.
Christ reigns in us when we realize certain truths. First, we need to acknowledge that, in ourselves, we are powerless to live the Christian life. We must become dependent on Christ moment by moment to guide us, give us wisdom and give us strength. “Pray without ceasing,” is a posture or state of mind that is required to keep tapping into the Holy Spirit throughout the day. It can be difficult to maintain a constant communication with him. You have to think about your daily chores, or the kids crying, or the boss calling you into his office. However, it is possible to grow in this area and become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
God gave us his Spirit to help us. He formed a partnership with us through our union with Christ. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”(2 Peter 1:3,4 NIV) According to The Bible Knowledge Commentary, “these promises enable Christians to participate in the divine nature. Participate is literally ” become partners” (genēsthe … koinōnoi).
Each partner has a different part to play in any partnership. Their roles are not the same but complement each other. Most of our partnership with God is performed by him. He does the saving, he gives the promises and he gives us the power. We need to be the silent partner who trusts the other to run the partnership. We put up our lives in surrender to him as our investment. Our job is to remember that we were crucified and we no longer live. If we have died to our old self and it’s desires, placed God back in his rightful place on the throne, then we long to glorify him. He called us by his glory and we reflect it back. That is the purpose of our partnership.
When our ambition is to glorify God and not ourselves, we obey God from a pure heart. A pure heart is fertile soil for the Holy Spirit to produce his fruit. Therefore, obedience for the right reason allows the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we obey to keep God happy with us or feel good about ourselves or impress others Christians, it limits his power. Those motivations do not come from a longing to glorify God, but ourselves which leads to sin. And sin grieves the Holy Spirit.
Paul tells the Colossians, “put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you..” (Col 3:5a NLT) And in Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. ” (NLT) We are commanded to put to death our sinful nature, but we can only do that through the power of the Holy Spirit. It requires a desire to glorify God by living in a manner pleasing to him and begging Christ to help us be victorious in putting our sinful nature to death.
We can easily tell when we aren’t manifesting the Spirit’s fruit. We aren’t loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Instead, we are grumpy or rude or selfish or angry or mean, etc. These behaviors can certainly be a red flag to alert us that we are doing things in our own strength, not desiring glorifying God or not dying to ourselves.
Thursday we will discuss another reason that stops Christ from shining through us, not living by faith. Remember that it is the gospel and it’s ramifications – for example, Christ living in us – that is the remedy for defeating our sinful behavior and thus glorifying God. Until next time, may Christ richly bless your days with himself.