“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 greater fullness of their God remark that they simply do not sense His presence except at occasional moments in life. Sensing the presence of our God is an indicator of our consciousness of our union with Him. Experiencing this new covenant oneness with Him is the definitive factor in God’s Kingdom on earth. That many do not experience this daily is a common problem in Christian circles today.
For the most part in North America, organized Christianity no longer leads people into realizing the new covenant relationship of continual oneness with our God. Most organized churches have been built on an old covenant religiosity that has diminished this central premise of the faith – that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of our God on earth. The Kingdom of our God and His indwelling of each of us is intended to consume our attention daily. Being gathered together with other like-minded followers will heighten our awareness of our God’s presence, but His presence is never meant to be out of our consciousness.
For most Christians, the experience of God is an off-and-on experience. It is a divided living, with times devoted to sacred duties and experiences, and other times, the majority time, devoted to secular pursuits. This leaves us functionally godless for large portions of our daily existence. The system of religiosity so common today reinforces this in the following ways:
- Our religiosity effectively gives us “viewing hours” for our God – usually Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and other meetings.
- Worship is an event or experience done at specific times, not a lifestyle of overflowing praise.
- We have reduced the Holy Spirit’s role from the primary expression of individual and corporate life to an “influence” with emotional overtones, a part-time experience we hope to have when we feel we need it.
- We have invested heavily in religious structures interposed between ourselves and our God. These structures have replaced the life of God Himself lived in place of our lives with a more distant following the example of Jesus, largely by our own energies.
Religiosity has replaced intimacy with our God and the life of God Himself lived in place of our own lives by the Holy Spirit. Research by the Pew Research Center confirms this: 81% of those surveyed report that feeling 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 scheduled events for these underscores the old covenant thinking. Such thinking was focused on scheduled events at certain places as the defining features of the God-human relationship.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is the primary source and expression 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.” This is what it means to be the temple of the Holy Spirit on earth, to have His life lived in us daily in a way that consumes our experiences. This is the new covenant life in the Kingdom.
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.”
I pray that we all will grow deep into our union with our God and will experience the reality of that oneness with Him every day. God bless us, everyone!