22 Jul 2013
It seems the Lord may want us to consider of His many mysteries, the clearly taught concept of God in us and our potential to dwell in God. More specifically we will attempt to understand the impact of this mystery upon our relationship and communication with our heavenly Father.
As we begin let us consider Jesus’ statement that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.
John 14:9-10 (NASB95)
9 Jesus said* to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
From this passage we get the idea that God indwells Jesus and that God is the one doing the initiating of the works that Jesus performed. Because of our limited capacity to understand spiritual things we tend to get a bit tangled up in certain verses or passages concerning which person of the God Head is being discussed or described. Like the disciples it seems we sometimes think; please just show us the Father, however since we know of Jesus’ response earlier to this request we are usually not so courageous as to express this question out loud.
Jesus, on the other hand, seems much more comfortable regarding the interchangeability of the names of the God Head . Notice the apparent interchangeable use of God’s names in the passage below.
John 14:16-18 (NASB77)
16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.
18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
The Holy Spirit had been in the presence of the disciples as He was indwelling Jesus and would soon be in them, indwelling them. At this point, apparently to help the disciples understand the future; Jesus said “I will come to you.” However in our limited human terms Jesus’ real meaning was that the Holy Spirit, the other comforter of the same kind, would be the anti-orphan presence in their lives. Jesus would be with them in the person and through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Paul further expands this idea of the dwelling of the person of God in every believer.
Colossians 1:25-27 (NASB95)
25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (emphasis added)
In the passage immediately above Paul tells us that Christ [for all true believers] is in them and this fact represents the basis for our hope of glory! Paul further explains that the Holy Spirit is our security deposit which is somewhat analogous to the idea of our hope for future glory and the promise of the believer’s ultimate redemption, inheritance and dwelling in God.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (AMP)
13 In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit.
14 That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory.
Jesus in His prayer in John 17 gives us the key to dwelling in God.
John 17:21 (AMP)
21 That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.
This teaches that we must be submitted to the Holy Spirit, in order to be one and in order to be dwelling in Jesus and God. While we are positioned in Jesus at salvation we are unlikely to be dwelling in God or Jesus except that we are walking in the Spirit. Remember the vine and the branches. The world will not be convinced of the truth of God sending Jesus to save lost sinners by a bunch of carnal Christians doing their own thing! We must be organized and orchestrated, encouraged, guided and empowered by His Holy Spirit!
What do these truths have to do with prayer? First perhaps we should consider the subtle misunderstandings that have become commonplace in our hearts regarding the promise of the Holy Spirit indwelling our bodies as believers. While few would dispute the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, few of us could accurately testify to the reality that the supernatural power of God is daily or hourly or even perhaps has ever been powerfully manifested in and through our lives to the glory of God.
Have we gradually moved to the “practical” interpretation of these passages based on our personal experience? Are we guilty of the acceptance of “another” gospel by denying the power of the work of the Holy Spirit who indwells us? Is this shortfall of our faith a result of the casualness of our relationship with Jesus, His Father and particularly the Holy Spirit of God?
The writer of Hebrews gives us some insight into the model that Jesus provided for us:
Hebrews 5:7 (AMP)
7 In the days of His flesh [Jesus] offered up definite, special petitions [for that which He not only wanted but needed] and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him Who was [always] able to save Him [out] from death, and He was heard because of His reverence toward God [His godly fear, His piety, in that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father].
There is an inseparable and powerful relationship between our perspectives and our prayers. Jesus perspective was to make reverence toward God, a very high priority. Perhaps this may be a good place for personal comparison? His prayers were not described as casual but rather strong with tears and apparently included His high value for unity with His Father. God has given us His Spirit to indwell us. Yet we seem too often to value this gift so lightly. Not so with Jesus who we are told shrank from the horror of separation from the presence of His Father.
Can our prayers be powerful in the eyes and heart of our Father when we do not take the care and concern to listen carefully and walk in the Spirit consistently throughout each day? Yes we need God’s help to walk in the Spirit, but walking in this way must be our top priority. It is our choice. We must long for the communion that comes with this walk. We must ask God the help us empty ourselves of our self-centeredness in order to be filled and controlled by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not fill a self-centered heart. His power comes only into the heart of complete submission.
Picture a tin can filled with garbage. This is a picture of our self-centered lives. We must ask God through confession and repentance to help us take out the garbage and sanitize the can. Only then will the Spirit of God rise up in power and control. He refuses to provide His power in the midst of the presence or the smell of garbage. When our lives are emptied of self and sin and filled with the Spirit of Truth, we have now come to a place for precious and powerful prayer. Spirit controlled and Spirit inspired prayer is always affirmatively answered at the throne of God.
Psalms 25:14 (AMP)
The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning.
May we so walk and pray!