Thursday, February 3, 2011

What are we saying?

I've been wrestling with some things lately. I think this is an integral part of our faith. Anytime we stop wrestling with concepts in our beliefs we need to be careful. Complacency has likely already seeped in.

For the last year or 2 I constantly find myself reading and gravitating to Romans 8. After getting married, Dan and I have been (although inconsistently) working on memorizing this chapter and renewing our minds with all the truths it contains. We've gotten about 13 verses in, which isn't even halfway, and I can't wait until we get to the end, as this chapter culminates with the description of nothing in all creation or life or death being able to separate us from the love of God. We have, however, gotten to one of my favorite scriptures in that chapter: verse 11.

"And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His spirit, who lives in you."

The Spirit of God is living in you. This is a pretty basic premise of our faith, but I don't think we really get it. The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us! We carry that Spirit and that power with us wherever we go! Whoa, that's huge.

When I was in India last year, I traveled around preaching a lot. They would take me to remote villages to preach or would even gather hundreds of Indian pastors together and have me teach them. This was unbelievably humbling, as these men probably have such a greater understanding of taking up their cross daily and following Christ than I when faced with daily persecution and the loss of everything in their lives in order to preach the Gospel. I would wonder what I could possibly teach them, and thought it would probably be better for me to sit down and let them teach ME about what it means to follow Christ. But time after time this passage would come to mind, and I would share an encouraging word with these men of God to help them realize the power and presence of God that dwells within them continually. I felt if they could tap into an understanding of the power they carry inside of them as Christ-followers, they would see their nation totally turned towards the heart of the Father. But in my return back to the US, I think I dropped this truth into the Pacific Ocean somewhere, cause I know I don't implement this into how I live in the day-to-day.

If I really believed this and understood this truth and let it get a hold of me, would I feel the need to constantly pray and ask the Holy Spirit to "come" or "invite" Him into a place? He shows up when I show up. Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ, and it's His Spirit that is living on the inside of me. I can't go anywhere that I don't take Him with me. And yet we sing song after song in our worship settings inviting the Spirit to "come" and "fall." I'm not saying that He doesn't sometimes (and often!) show up in these corporate settings in a "manifest" way that seems like He is entering or filling a place, but in reality is it our mindset that has to change in order for Him to move?Would a better prayer be for the Lord to open our minds to make us aware of the Spirit that is already dwelling in us? Are we speaking in a way that assumes His previous absence in a place until "invited" to be there?

I'm just thinking that maybe, when we use this type of language and vocabulary, we continue to train ourselves in thinking that the Spirit is not already dwelling inside us, and we ignore the fact that He can be released into a situation anytime we just show up. This keeps us continually in a place of lack, and feeling like we constantly need to invite the Spirit into someplace He already is, instead of renewing our mind to accept that He is there as soon as we are there. The power of life and death is in the tongue. How are the words that I'm speaking, or even praying from an earnest-heart releasing life, and allowing His Kingdom - that is at hand - to move on the earth? I would rather pray that my mindset shifts to line up with the Word of God, rather than continue praying in a way that stands in opposition to the truths declared in it.

How differently would we live if we lived with this mentality? What in us would change? What would change in the world? And what would change in the spirit? Lord, let me live in such a way that I release Your Kingdom wherever I go, and that I understand that the One who raised Jesus from the dead is residing inside of me at all times.