September 11, 2016

The Spirit: Regenerates & Indwells

Those of you who have been reading along with this blog will recall that since Easter Sunday we’ve been exploring ways God Refreshes us, and Blesses us so that we can offer Love to those we meet and interact with. After a brief hiatus, we are back to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in Refreshing, Blessing, and Loving.
Many of us are unsure about the Holy Spirit. We may glibly recite the Nicene Creed that says “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets…” Yet, the Holy Spirit is often rather ignored when considering the 3 persons of the Trinity. The Father and the Son, yes, they are kind of relatable, but the Spirit… The Spirit is not as easy to relate to or explain--and I’m not going to try and explain anything. Instead, we will look at ways the Spirit of the Living God works in and through us.
Jesus told his disciples, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) This is a wonderful promise because we are assured that the Spirit of God lives in us. We don’t have to explain or understand it, just accept that the Spirit of Truth, our Advocate, is with us always.
One of the things the Spirit does is Regenerate and Indwell. Most often we think of ‘regenerate’ in repairing or re-growing cells. It can also mean to bring new or renewed life to an issue or organization. The Spirit of God regenerates our souls. Our souls are reborn and made new. You may recall the story of Nicodemus who came to see Jesus at night. He left with as many questions as he came with because Jesus told him. “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” (John 3: 3-5)
The idea of being born again is confusing. However, as the Spirit works in our lives and souls, we discover that we are indeed regenerated and made new—born again. In the Letter to the Romans, we hear the same truth, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11) We may not be able to explain HOW it happens. Like Nicodemus we may not even be able to understand that it CAN happen. However, because the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are given new life. We are regenerated, we are reborn in a new, spiritual way. Live into the truth that the Holy Spirit is living and working in you each and every day.

What might be different about the way you face the trials and temptations of day-to-day life if you remembered that God’s Spirit is in you?

Sometimes if we hear familiar words in a new way, it gives new insight. For a new rendition of the Creed consider the song This I Believe by Hillsong. Does the rephrasing of the familiar words make you think about the Spirit and Trinity in a different way?

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