John 16:7-15 “But I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. ”
Jesus, in speaking to His team about the coming Holy Spirit, gives us important truths about our life in Christ every day. First, the Holy Spirit has been sent into all of our Lord’s true disciples. Jesus tells the team that it is a great advantage that He departs and the Spirit comes into them. Think about His words here. He is saying that as good as it has been walking with the Son of God mostly every day for more than three years is not as advantageous to them as it will be to have the Holy Spirit instead of Him.
Did you catch the incredible message in that? It is better for disciples to have the Holy Spirit of Christ than to have the physical presence of Christ. We potentially have it better than the disciples did at any point prior to Christ’s resurrection. Your experience of Christ is can be better, more impactful, more alive than was theirs.
For most of us, we cannot relate this this as a daily truth. We do not commune, communicate, or live interdependently with the Holy Spirit every day, and we therefore do not experience the advantages implied in the word of Jesus above. Yet, the advantages implied are exactly what our God intends to provide for us daily.
What prevents this from being our daily experience? Mostly, it is our divided living, our living more by the flesh than by the Spirit. We have sacred times and spaces in our lives at some points, but we have more secular times and spaces. We have “viewing hours” for God, a few minutes each day and a few hours each seek. Yet most of our living is by our own wits, our own schedules, our own devices.
When we see our lives divided, sectioned off into the sacred and the secular, we have drifted into living much of life by our flesh. We see the world as a playground, not a battle ground. We try to give our God “enough” of our time and attention to feel good about our performance while avoiding most of those things that are clearly sin. And when we do not avoid sin, we are more concerned about humans finding out than we are about our God knowing not only deeds but our motives.
And what of the time that lies between the sacred events and the sins we are trying to mostly avoid? That is ours in which to do as we please. We hope to do well enough, to do better than before while we still retain control. Such divided, self-controlled living is of the flesh and not of the Spirit. We do not recognize that the root problem in our living is not sin, it is self-management and fleshly living. Sin is merely the fruit of such living. We forget (or never heard) the words of Paul in Romans 8; “For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.“
This kind of living is not what Jesus was offering to His disciples. This kind of life is not at all to our advantage. We were neither made for nor redeemed for divided life. There is a better way for us to live, clearly presented in the New Testament yet not clearly understood by a great many believers.
It is to our advantage that we understand the new life our God gives us by His Holy Spirit.
Image via author, Newfound Lake, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
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