One day there was a man who took a walk, and along the side of the road, he caught a glimpse of a vessel. The vessel looked like someone had discarded it as if it were a piece of trash. Maybe it no longer had any value or use for the previous owner.
Let us pause here for a moment. Imagine the vessel the man saw as something you are familiar with, like a cup, a pitcher, or maybe a bowl. Whatever you decide to imagine, it must be something that someone would fill. I want to imagine a bowl.
The man bent down and carefully plucked the bowl from the earth. He took it to his home and very gently began to break away the debris. As he gave the bowl a good rinse, he saw an incredibly beautiful vessel underneath all that dirt.
So, the man set his prized possession on the table to admire, but there was a problem. The beautiful bowl was not meeting its full potential. And why is that? Because the bowl’s purpose is not to remain clean and empty but to be cleaned and filled for use.
If you imagined a cup, why should it be filled? So, someone can drink from it; this is the same with a pitcher. If you fill a pitcher with water, someone can quench their thirst. If you, like me, imagined a bowl, why should it be filled? So, someone can draw nourishment from the bowl’s contents after filling it with food.
When God saves us, He takes all our sins away, and we are like the prized bowl sitting on the table. But just like the prized bowl, we are not meant to remain clean and empty. God wants to live within us. Let us look at the very beginning so we can understand how important it is to God for us to have His Holy Spirit within us.
“1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
When God created the earth, it was without form and empty. If we continue to read, we find God sent light and separated the light from the darkness. But God didn’t stop there, did He? God filled the world with living beauty, but God didn’t stop there either. He created man, and man was created in God’s image. Man was God’s most prized creation. Placing man in the world was like putting a part of God Himself on the earth. You could also say it this way, a part of God lived in His beautiful creation.
“26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
It was so important to God that He live with us that He gave us this message from the very beginning. His desire to make man in His own image to live in His beautiful creation, and what is God’s image? Holiness. In the beginning, man and woman were Holy, just like God, and God gave them both power and control over all the things He created in the world.
It was not until the sin in the garden that sin entered the hearts of men and women. God gave them one command to live by. Do not eat from the tree that bears the knowledge of good and evil. But they disobeyed, and man was no longer in God’s image. Man had lost the dominion and control over all the living things of the world God had given him. In fact, man lost dominion and control over his own behavior. From that time, God and man were separated, and it was by the repeated sacrifice of animals and burnt offerings that God forgave men’s sins until God sent us Jesus. Thank God for Jesus. Let us look at Mathew 1:21, a very famous but clear verse.
“21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
How was Jesus going to save His people from sin? Jesus started by teaching and preaching repentance.
“17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Repentance is sincere regret or remorse for ones wrong doing or sin. In true Bible repentance, the offender realizes their sin is against God, and they do not repeat the sins repented of but instead turns from their sin toward God. In turn, God forgives and takes all the sin away. This act of forgiveness leaves us with a clean and pure heart, just like the prized bowl in our story. But we are not intended to stay clean and empty; we are designed to be cleaned and filled. So let us look at what happens if we stay clean and empty.
“24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.
25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
These are Jesus’ words describing what happens when an evil spirit is cast out of someone. Can you imagine God frees someone from a horrible spirit of lying, but then that person fails to completely commit to Jesus’ plans for their life? The spirit of lying could come back with other spirits much worse. So, we need Jesus’ Holy Spirit dwelling within us so we can walk consistently in the light of God and continue without sin. Without the Holy Spirit, we risk backsliding into our old ways. God wants to live within us. Let us consider what Ezekiel said on behalf of God.
“26 A new heart also 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 I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Notice in verse 26, Ezekiel says, “I will put a new spirit within you.” This is what God does for us after repentance. We have a new spirit that desires to do right according to God’s plan. In verse 27, Ezekiel says, “I will put my spirit within you.” God wants to live within us. We are meant to have God living within us, or we will become like the prized bowl sitting on the table collecting dust and debris and then rendered useless to God’s purpose or plan.
What is God’s purpose or plan for us? Now let us look at Acts Chapter one. Here Jesus was speaking to His followers just before His ascent to heaven.
“8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
God wants us to be a witness. Being a witness is His purpose and plan for us. Power to witness is accomplished when God’s Spirit lives within us. When we can be a witness, we are living our full potential for Christ. But how does this happen?
“38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
This was Peter after he received the Holy Ghost, preaching boldly to others about how they might receive the Holy Ghost as well. We cannot receive the Holy Ghost if we have sin in our life. We must repent first. Then God makes us worthy of His gift. In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul instructs us how to give ourselves wholly to Christ.
“1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
To receive the Spirit of God within us, we must prayerfully present ourselves to Jesus, and willfully accept His plans for our lives in place of our own. Jesus’ purpose for us is to be a witness to the gospel by our testimony to live holy. Then we can spiritually quench the thirst of others. We can provide spiritual nourishment to those around us, teaching others that Jesus has the power for us to live a holy life because Jesus lives within us. The Holy Spirit of God is a comforter full of God’s love and compassion. The Holy Spirit will not cause you to behave in an inappropriate way or speak in a language unknown to man. The Holy Spirit will seal your life from sin and help you live victoriously. The Holy Spirit will give you love and compassion for others. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is He Himself living within us, so commit yourself fully to Christ and His plan. God wants to live within you because you are His beautiful creation.
Updated July 6, 2021, SBT