The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"A Comfortable Home"
In one passage in his epistles, the Apostle Paul speaks of God's assured presence in the hearts of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Ye are the temple of the Holy Spirit… the Spirit of God dwelleth in you" (I Corinthians 3:16; note this was written to a congregation declared by Paul to be "carnal" in their walk with God - I Corinthians 3:3).
In another reference, however, Paul prays for the Ephesian believers "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Ephesians 3:17). This seems to indicate a discrepancy in the Apostle's teaching. Why does he pray for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those already inhabited by Him?
The answer lies in the Greek root words used for "dwell" in the passages. In I Corinthians, the word "oikeo" implies the simple fact of presence, like water in a pitcher. Every born again believer possesses this most wondrous gift of the Holy Spirit's indwelling (Romans 8:9). Conversely, the word Paul uses in Ephesians - "katoikeo" - suggests settling into a place or environment, such as making a house into a home. Thus, Paul's prayer for the Ephesians involves not merely the Holy Spirit's presence in our spirits, but rather His finding them to be a comfortable dwelling place. The Apostle declares this settling in of the Spirit to be "by faith." Little wonder…
"The just shall live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17).
Note the word "live" in this affirmation of faith declared in both Old Testament and New. The word is all encompassing, that is, believers are to do everything we do by faith. God calls us to live from His trustworthiness by exercising our capacity to trust Him in all things. To the degree we do so will be the degree to which He finds our hearts to be more than a mere house, but rather a comfortable home. "By faith, Enoch… pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5).
Upon first consideration, this seems the most daunting of challenges. It would be if the indwelling Holy Spirit were not the very One who works in us to empower the faith that makes Him comfortable. By illuminating the Word of God whereby "faith cometh," and by working in our hearts and lives to reveal our Heavenly Father's faithfulness, the Spirit incessantly and progressively transforms a mere place to live into a home wherein He settles (Romans 10:17). We play a role, of course, as we find new ways to trust Him, and also reaffirm confidence previously embraced. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He is faithful that promised" (Hebrews 10:23).
How can we please God and make our hearts a more comfortable home for Him in this day? Are there matters about which we have not trusted Him that lie before us? Do we require a return visit to the throne of grace to strengthen our resolve in some matter? Might we need to repent for unbelief regarding some challenging issue? Or might we simply come to rejoice in the faith fostered by the Spirit of God as He works to make our hearts into a home wherein He rejoices to live? Whatever the case, the Holy Spirit came to stay when we believed in the Lord Jesus. He abides within us forevermore, and as He moved upon primordial waters in the first creation, He moves upon the living waters of Christ in the new creation of our born again hearts to foster growing confidence in God's trustworthiness. Let us determine to respond to such gracious presence and working by the faith that makes our heart more than a place to live, but rather a comfortable home of the Spirit.
"Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more… We walk by faith."
(I Thessalonians 4:1; II Corinthians 5:7).
Weekly Memory Verse
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
(II Corinthians 9:8)