I had to laugh at myself. Within two hours of Part Two posting to the blog, I found myself in a situation exactly like the one I described: perhaps some relief from pain but it was going to require a doctor’s visit, a referral, no doubt more co-pays…my insides tightened and I could only think, “great. I’ll just pay for all that then, shall I?” Then the thought came, “didn’t you just post on how God has taken you through medical stuff and financial hardship?” Indeed I had. Had I learned anything from the experience? Yes, but I have to admit my first inclination is usually stress and anxiety and THEN remembering the goodness of God. And so, I write these for my own edification.
In part two I did write about a series of unfortunate events and how I expected my Father to reveal Himself to me as the Lord who healeth me and, instead, found myself face to face with the Father who loved me and wished His name hallowed above every other on earth. I am still learning all this means and it’s a theme I hope to explore in the future. For now I wish to answer the questions: if I am to expect that all the promises of God are Yes in Christ yet experience has taught me God rarely does what I expect in the way I expect it, what am I supposed to be expecting when I pray? Is there a secret to a victorious life in Christ?
I believe there is and that the secret isn’t so secret. I believe the answer is found in the Indwelling Spirit. 1 Corinthians 1:20 says “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” In Christ. Two words that appear over and over again throughout the New Testament. If God’s promises are In Christ, then it must follow I must be in Christ in order to receive them.
In part two, I also quoted; “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6: 33, Amplified) In Luke 17 verse 21 I find, “Nor will people say, Look! Here (it is!) or, See (it is) there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you (in your hearts) and among you (surrounding you). (Amplified) Acts 17: 28: “For in Him we live and move and have our being…” and the second half of 1 Corinthians 1:20: “And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” In just these few scriptures (I could quote more but I’d end up copying the entire New Testament) I see how important it is to understand “In Christ” and that there must be something in me that shows me what this means and enables me to say “Amen.” That something is a Who: the Holy Spirit.
There are two beautiful passages about the Indwelling Spirit found in the Gospel of John. I can’t choose between them so I’m quoting both: “I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name (in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf), He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” (John 14: 25-26, Amplified)
And then: “But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message (on His own authority); but He will tell whatever He hears (from the Father: He will give the message that has been given to Him), and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come (that will happen in the future). He will honor and glorify Me because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He (the Spirit) will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. (John 16: 13-15, Amplified)
Because I know the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, His spirit dwells in me as me teacher and guide. As Paul says, “But if you are guided (led) by the (Holy) Spirit, you are not subject to the law. What is the law? The law, or Old Covenant, was based on IF/THEN. Now, under the New Covenant and the Indwelling Spirit, I find there is a different way to live. Rather than trying to please a remote God and earn blessings from Him with my good behavior and the fact that I (mostly) keep His commands; I live from the fountain of His life within me.
But, I know some of you will ask, aren’t you taking some of these scriptures out of context? Doesn’t John 14 also say, “If a person (really) loves Me, he will keep My word (obey My teaching); and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home (abode, special dwelling place) with him.” (John 14: 23, Amplified). Doesn’t that sound like it’s an IF/THEN?
It does and I hope to explore the meaning of these scriptures in more depth in later posts. In closing this one, I say truly, Our Father’s promise in Ezekiel 37 is made reality with the Holy Spirit: “A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.” Paul assures me in Philippians that, “(Not in your own strength) for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you (energizing and creating in you the power and desire), both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Philippians 2:13, Amplified)
I wasn’t sure how to describe living from the Indwelling Spirit but I chanced to listen to Malcolm Smith’s Webinar # 340 and he put it perfectly. Now that we have the Indwelling Spirit, we no longer live from IF/THEN but now BECAUSE/THEREFORE.
I love that. However, with shifting my focus from If/THEN to BECAUSE/THEREFORE, what do I expect from God? The answer is everything and nothing. I do not expect specifics. Rather, I expect that He will keep His word that all His promises are “Yes” in Christ Jesus. I don’t expect that nothing painful or hurtful will never happen to me. I do expect that He who lives in me will be everything I need at all times: All in all. With Paul, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12: 9b, Amplified) His joy fills me and, through Him, I say “Amen”. May He and He alone be glorified.
An excellent study on the Indwelling Spirit.
Here’s Malcolm Smith’s webinar if you are interested.