The Fixer Upper
Today I want to talk about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When I young, it was common for a church to wet you, set you, and forget you. Basically once you were saved and baptized, they didn’t know what else to do with you. Oh, they would teach on tithing, let’s not forget that one, but it was a common belief that you got everything there was to get spiritually on that first day, that you had completed your journey, and now all there was to do was wait for Jesus to return.
Now I sit here, decades after that first day passed, and I want to you to know the first day is only the beginning of a life long remodeling adventure. To greatly simplify this, I am going to compare us to a house. Jesus did it. He said:
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’” (Luke 11:24). The man was a house, a bed and breakfast, and evil spirits came and went as they pleased. They stopped by to rest, in him.
The Holy Spirit literally moves into the broken us and begins to remodel from the inside out. Room by room, one brick, one board at a time, He remodels us to be more like Jesus. Many will scream “new creation in Christ!” and that is spiritually true, but I have been around the block a few times, and I can tell you that angry people who get saved, can still get angry. Your house is not instantly fixed. You will work together for years, and the job will probably never reach perfection.
I once worked with a fellow restoring old plantation houses, and we spent several years restoring a governor’s mansion near here that was built in 1740.
It was a historical monument, but had been run down, modernized, and was used mostly as a hunting lodge. To be a part of the historical society, it had to be put back exactly as it was then. Now I am talking wavy depression era glass, marbleized fireplaces, plaster walls with wire and lathe. When we began it had vinyl siding on it and that was put over 100 coats of paint. The paint was so thick and old on the original pine siding that you could hit it with a hammer and it would crack like ice. So we used air chisels and grinders to take it back to bare wood.
My companion must have had A.D.D. He would pick at this wall a while, then go to the next room and start on that one. Soon some of the rooms had a wall that still needed plaster or scraping down, while the others had primer, or the finish coat of paint on them. It was a huge job, and it was complete confusion and chaos until we began to break it down into sections. You can’t focus on everything at once.
The Holy Spirit does not have A.D.D. He will usually focus on one room at a time. He evicts the current occupants, mops, cleans, cleanses, then puts up a no vacancy sign. Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m Yours. We improve by working with Him one day at a time.
I tell you this because I want to encourage you to not be too hard on yourself when you stumble. Don’t expect to be perfect from the start, no matter what they tell you. Let’s take a moment to look at the life of the Apostle Paul, who was probably one of the greatest Christians that ever lived. When he wrote Romans chapter 7, he was in his fifties and had been an Apostle of Jesus Christ for over 20 years. He said it like this:
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:15–25 NASB
The Apostle Paul, after 20 years of walking with Jesus, said that sin dwelled in him and waged war against his mind. He also carried the Holy Spirit, and he spoke in tongues “more than you all” (1 Corinthians 14:18). Paul carried such an anointing that his handkerchiefs or aprons would drive evil spirits out of people (Acts 19:12). Yet he himself struggled with a thorn in the flesh and asked the Lord three times to take it away. The Lord simply told him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
What can we learn from Paul’s testimony? Here are a few:
* We are a work in progress and what we are to become is yet to be seen, but it will be beautiful when complete. Don’t give up because you feel like you should be better than you are. Sure our goal should be to improve, but the way to do that is to not give up.
* While on earth, you will probably never reach perfection, and if you did, pride would probably be your downfall.
* You do not start out knowing everything. You will probably die not knowing everything, so remain teachable. God spreads His wisdom and gifts out among His children. None of us have it all, but together we make up His body. Also Christ is that head of the body, not us.
If you try and change yourself in your own strength, you will only become exhausted and frustrated. Work with the Holy Spirit day by day and focus on what He is putting the finger on. That will mean something different to each one of us.
You can pray this with me if you like:
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please cleanse and refine me from the inside out. I submit to Your Holy Spirit and invite You to change what needs changing. Make me Yours Lord and fulfill Your will in my life, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org