God graciously gave me a hint to steer me in the right direction. And HERE begins the good part, that part that I've been waiting to get to. The very reason that I began this whole story back in the summer last year was so that I could lead up to this.
My pastor preached a sermon from Ephesians 3 one Sunday night, and one phrase from verse 17 particularly caught my attention: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." Pastor said he hoped everyone present could say that Christ was dwelling in their hearts, and he went on to say that the Holy Spirit comes in to dwell with every believer at the moment of salvation. I knew that; I believe that, but a new thought struck me.
"If the Holy Spirit indwells me, what kind of house does He find it? Does He feel welcome and at home here?"
I had the realization that no, indeed He does not. I had a vision of the Holy Spirit shuffled away in some dark corner of the house, while I reigned supreme over my life, not even affording Him the slightest courtesy or the barest hospitality. In the little nook under the stairs where I had pushed Him, He was not "in my way" as I bustled about, cleaning here and there, making plans here and there, and taking action on this project or that project, all without consulting Him or even taking time to converse with Him.
If a delegation of ambassadors or dignitaries arrived at my door, I knew how I would treat them. I would dress my best, welcome them graciously, and lay myself out to attend to their slightest wishes. I would be alert to the smallest hints as to how I could better serve them. I would listen to their conversation and be sparing with how much I talked about myself. I would not complain at the length of time they stayed or question the things they wanted to do. I would be at their disposal. They would have the best seats, the best food, and every comfort I could provide for them. Their smallest wish would be granted.
I realized that I needed to get things right with God. He bought me--He redeemed me--He indwelt me--He blessed me with His glorious presence--and I had treated him this way in return.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Cor 3:16)
What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I got on my knees before God and asked His forgiveness. I said that from now on, I would give Him complete control. I would attend to His slightest wishes. I would take my orders from Him instead of the other way around. I would be shuffled aside into the obscurity of the little nook under the stairs, if He so chose. I surrendered to Him the deed and the key to the house. From now on, He would be the owner.
And do you know what? He accepted it. He didn't treat me like I had treated Him, either. He didn't forget about me in the corner under the stairs, but with the tenderest acceptance and love, drew me out by the hand and gave me a role to participate in the work that He was doing. Furthermore, He set to work, calmly ordering the house back from the sloppy chaos I had left, expertly putting things back to a state of peace and orderliness.
I was amazed at His patience. How did He wait so patiently, knowing exactly what needed to be done, yet allowing me to go on alone, not forcing His way into the picture, but waiting to be invited?
I was amazed at His forgiveness. It was a shame and an offense...an atrocity...an abomination... that the Holy Spirit of God should ever have been so rudely treated, so shoved into a corner, so shut out and marginalized, so dishonored and disrespected. But He forgave me. How I praise Him for His mercy!
Thus I began the adventure of learning how to walk in this new way, yielding to the Holy Spirit's leadership in my life. But the battle wasn't over.
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