St Paul teaches us that the gift of the Spirit is a sign of God’s love for us: “and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:5). We can safely interpret these words to highlight God’s abundant love for us. Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown’s Bible Commentary states: It is as if the apostle had said, “And how can this hope of glory, which as believers we cherish, put us to shame, when we feel God Himself, by His Spirit given to us, drenching our hearts in sweet, all-subduing sensations of His wondrous love to us in Christ Jesus?” Let us remind ourselves of both God’s and our responsibility and the implications of the indwelling of the third person of the Holy Trinity in our life.
“Or don’t you know?” ask Paul, “that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God?” (1 Cor 6:19). My body and your body are the temple where the Holy Spirit wants to be fully in charge. The Bible teaches us that there are also other forces that live in our bodies – the forces of evil, of bitterness, dejection and impurity, etc. These are forces that can be very powerful and they often subdue or overcome us because we seek to fight them in our own strength. It is therefore obvious that as Christians, we cannot always do what we want even if we have some experiences with the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, at the same time as these corrupt forces, there is inevitably a daily struggle and a choice to make. These sinful forces are what Paul calls “the desires of the flesh’, thus his exhortation in Galatians 5:6 “walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh». Walking by the spirit means that we use His strength to reject the evil that dwells in our flesh, and we choose to do the will of God.
The Holy Spirit wants us not to ever give in to these forces of evil that live in us. When Jesus promised to send Him to us He said that He will teach us the truth. Truth enlightens us so that we do what is pleasing to God. Truth has also a liberating power. “truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). St Paul exhorts us to walk according to the Spirit – freed and standing firm. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal 5:1) When we walk according to the Spirit, our freedom in Christ produces beautiful fruit in our life: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Walking according to the Spirit, may we be people in whom the Holy Spirit can do the job that he so longs to do.
Holy Spirit, Come! Dwell in our hearts. Illuminate our mind. Direct our footsteps. Be our guide. Amen.