As humans living in a fallen world, it’s more than likely we don’t fully realize the presence of God’s Spirit with us at all times. This has caused us to develop the dubious habit of thinking we need to invite God into our presence. Whether we’re praying solo or in a group setting, various catch phrases are used asking God to show up or to pour out a special anointing. It can practically become law for people. I understand some believe this is necessary in order for the Lord to manifest or fall in special ways, but once again religion has it backwards because we were the invitee—invited into His presence and He is always where you are. I believe as we become more aware of this reality, it may result in a greater outward manifestation of this power that already abides within us.
Although it provides a buffer while you are thinking about what to say, my exhortation is to stop asking God to come. This “invitation rule” can develop a frame of mind that leads one to think if God can come, He can also depart to some degree after the gathering is over. That’s not a good mindset to develop. Instead we should ask for a more significant realization that God has already provided his anointing that is not only upon us, but in us. In Philippians 1:6, Paul said that God has begun a good work in you—not upon you. The work “upon” you is a completed, perfected work. The work God will do “in” and through you isn’t to make you more righteous and holy than He has already made you to be through the blood of Christ, but to teach and guide you to live by faith … that is, trusting in Him instead of your own work.
For whatever reason, Christians often have a hard time digesting “Christ in you.” The King is already in our midst by his Spirit, He lives within us and He never leaves (see John 14:16). But an even more seemingly difficult concept to grasp is us being “in Christ.” In fact, there are far more references to us being in Christ in the New Testament. Why? Because God wants us to gain a greater understanding of how we’re always and fully enveloped by God’s presence, power, peace, and anointing. It’s an anointing that doesn’t land upon us from time to time, but always abides “in” us (1 John 2:27). The manifestation of ministry gifts will work through us “as the Spirit wills” (1 Corinthians 1:11). But don’t think for a minute that the anointing comes and goes.
Rather than looking for ten steps on how to invite the Holy Spirit into a room, first see if you can discover scriptural instruction on this practice from a New Covenant perspective. I think you’ll have a hard time finding it. God isn’t looking for a welcome mat at our doorstep, neither should we anxiously anticipate His RSVP every time we send out an invitation. Instead of telling God he is welcome to join us, we can simply say “thank you.” His response will be “you are welcome.”
As demonstrated through Jesus, God yearns to make the scene where religionists are less likely to be found. He has no boundaries and no limits. The notion that we need to create an acceptable atmosphere that is more conducive towards feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit is more of a mind game to convince ourselves of God’s response to us. Our intentions are good, but God’s presence won’t be found with any greater intensity in a prayer meeting taking place in a church building than it will in a bar down the street. The modern church world has us living in a mixed covenant culture, and empty religion has a way of creeping into our minds in the most unsuspecting ways. It becomes evident that our aim is off target when we are trying to do something to get a response from God, instead of resting in his response to us.
In the previous covenant, the Jews would go to the temple to seek more of God and His presence. In this New Covenant, we are the temple!
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