“Knowledge or religion means to be good and to do good, to worship God or to work for God without having the living presence of God.” ― Witness Lee
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
I hear many people who are sincere in wanting to experience oneness with their God remark that they simply do not sense His presence except at occasional moments in life. Without a more consistent sense of His presence, it is difficult to be also conscious of our oneness, our union with Him. Union with our God, experiencing a new covenant oneness with Him, is the defining relationship in God’s Kingdom on earth. That most do not experience this daily is a common problem in Christian circles today.
And for good reason. For the most part, in North America organized Christianity no longer leads people into a new covenant relationship of continual oneness and ongoing union with our God. Over the last 1700 years, organized churches have been built on an old covenant substitute religion that has robbed it of the central premise of the faith. That premise is that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of our God at all times. The basis of the Kingdom is that our God desires to live in us in a way that consumes our attention and our focus 24/7, not just when we are together with others. Being together with other like-minded followers will heighten our awareness of our God’s presence, but that sense of His presence is never meant to be out of our consciousness.
For most Christians, the experience of God is an old covenant style, off-and-on experience. Life for most is divided living, with times devoted to sacred duties and experiences, and other times, the majority of their time, devoted to secular pursuits. This leaves us functionally godless for large portions of our daily existence. The system of “churchianity” we have built reinforces this in the following ways:
- We have built our religiosity on the notion of “viewing hours” for our God – Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and other meetings.
- We have made worship an event or experience done at specific times, not a lifestyle
- We have tied “experiencing God” to planned events at specific locations
- We have down-graded the Holy Spirit from the primary expression of individual and corporate life to an influence with emotional overtones, power for service, a part-time experience we hope to have when needed.
- We have invested heavily in a clergy class interposed between ourselves and our God that does the heavy lifting for us, is tasked with listening to God on our behalf, and has replaced the Holy Spirit as the source of instruction for the individual and the group.
The spirit of religion has taken over both the individual and corporate expression of the faith. Religiosity replaced intimacy with our God, oneness with Him, and the life lived primarily by the Holy Spirit. Research by the Pew Research Center confirms this: 81% of those surveyed report that becoming closer to God is a very important reason for going to church, 68% report becoming a better person as a very important reason, and 66% report comfort in times of trouble or sorrow as a very important reason. That people look to a location and a planned experience for these underscores the old covenant thinking, the spirit of religion that permeates our system of “churchianity.”
The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is the primary source of spiritual life in us, if we believe what the Bible teaches. Galatians 2:19-20 tells us the life we now live is the life of Christ Himself: “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” That life lived in place of our own is the reason we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit on earth. It is His life lived in us, all the time and every day, that is the new covenant expression of life and faith.
Listen to the words of Smith Wigglesworth on this: “The reason the world is not seeing Jesus is that Christian people are not filled with Jesus. They are satisfied with attending meetings weekly, reading the Bible occasionally, and praying sometimes. It is an awful thing for me to see people who profess to be Christians lifeless, powerless, and in a place where their lives are so parallel to unbelievers’ lives that it is difficult to tell which place they are in, whither in the flesh or the Spirit.”