In January of this year, I went camping with some of the other guys in the Richardson family. We ventured to Oconee State Park, South Carolina, which is up in the mountains. When we arrived there, we scouted out the park and found the campsite that looked right for us. Then we unloaded our gear from the vehicles. Finally, we set up our tent, which was the most important part of all. That was our home. Our dwelling place. And when it got late, we went in there for the night.
I love camping in a tent.
God loves dwelling permanently in a human heart.
Here's one of the awesome things about God that thrills me: He does more than linger beside us, slide under us, or hover over us. God actually takes up residence inside us. You can't get any closer than that!
Just as a camper goes inside a tent, God goes inside a heart when someone says "Yes" to Jesus. And now it gets even better: A camper will eventually leave a tent when it's morning or time to go hiking. But God will never leave a heart. He becomes a permanent resident who never vacates the premises.
The Holy Spirit is God's Spirit that comes to live in you and me when Jesus forgives our sins and saves our souls. It is the up close and personal presence of God that dwells daily and nightly within us. What a privilege it is to have God get that close to us!
Jesus described this divine presence in John 14:17: "He abides with you and will be in you." Paul reminded Christians in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you." In both of these passages, we see this amazing truth: The Holy Spirit is God, who makes our heart His home.
Years ago, I was in Alaska on a mission trip. Late one afternoon, I was sitting on a back deck of a church that was tucked way back into the woods. We were in the middle of nowhere. I had just told this guy about Jesus forgiving sins and saving souls. Right there in front of me, he asked Jesus to become His Lord. Then, when he finished praying, he looked at me and asked, "So now God's Spirit is living inside my heart?" "Yeah man, he sure is," I replied. A smile grew on his face as he said, "That is so cool." "Yeah, it really is," was my response.
Isn't it cool?! This great God of the universe wants to be intimately connected with us on a spiritual level. So close, that He actually comes to live in us. And in doing so, He helps us in more ways that we can count.
Thank God today for His Holy Spirit.