A Holy Environment for the Holy Spirit
You’re hosting a gathering in your home, so everything must be just right for your visitors. Almost nothing in your home is left unclean. Almost. You may leave a closet disorganized or a bedroom unkempt because no one’s going to be in there, but every other area will be accounted for so that your home environment is made presentable, welcoming, and clean for your company.
Apply this endeavor of preparation and cleaning to our spiritual life. God doesn’t want certain areas of our lives cleaned while others are hidden like how we do our homes, rather, He wants all of us cleaned out. Every corner of our hearts and minds needs to be cleared to welcome His holy presence. It is written that the Holy Spirit dwells within those who have given their lives to Christ through water immersion (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-6; Ephesians 1:13). We have Company dwelling within us; how is our environment for Him? Paul wrote that we must not quench the Holy Spirit by the way that we live (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
The word “quench” in the Greek means “To suppress, to withhold from circulation and divine influence.” The Spirit is supposed to be actively moving in the Christian’s life. He is exerting His divine influence in us so that we may become image-bearers of Christ. That is why we can grieve or offend our Company by living a lifestyle contrary to the word of God (Ephesians 4:30).
The Spirit needs an empty, cleaned out environment. He needs us to get rid of ourselves so He can fill us up with His fruit (Galatians 5:23-25). That’s why it is adamantly written to “put off” or “rid ourselves” from our old way of living of gossiping, lying, sexual immorality, hypocrisy, envying, angry outbursts, impatience, being unforgiving, bitterness, unwholesome speech, lack of compassion for our neighbor, and so forth (Ephesians 4:22,25,28,29,31; Colossians 3:5,8,9; 1 Peter 2:1). In turn, the Holy Spirit begins to exert His divine influence in us to “put on” the new way of living in Christ (Ephesians 4:24,32; Colossians 3:10,12-14).
We must keep our environment pure and holy for the Holy One who dwells in us. Our environment is our body and thoughts; it is also external sources that affect our mind and body (books, music, movies, social media, TV Shows, etc).
When it comes to external sources: What do you watch, listen to, or follow/post on social media? What’s the content like? Is it glorifying or desensitizing sin? This is an important matter for us to acknowledge. I had to give up listening to certain songs and watching certain movies/TV shows because, when truly focusing on the content, it did not promote godliness in my life and was actually filling me with worldly thoughts. I had to remind myself that I’m not alone, the Spirit is present within me and He lives in absolute holiness. Let me be clear: not everything is wrong, but not everything will edify our faith and promote holiness in our lives either. We must use our liberty with responsibility. Here’s what is wrong to indulge in: what God has already declared sin/unrighteous. Therefore, understand that Christian liberty to watch, do, or listen to certain things is not found in what’s been declared sin. There’s no entertainment in sin.
When it comes down to our actions and thinking: How are we behaving and speaking among Christians and non-Christians? What’s our attitude like on a daily basis? The apostle Paul wrote, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). The words “live by” in the Greek means, “to be operated by;’ the word “walk” means, “to direct one’s life under the control of someone.” Simply put, our day-to-day speech, thinking, and actions should be controlled by the Holy Spirit. This is the reality I’m still trying to live with, and it’s a struggle. The more we read God’s word, the more we will know how to conduct ourselves as true followers of Christ.
Here are some verses to keep in mind so that we may maintain a holy environment for the Holy Spirit:
“But sexual immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no obscenity or foolish talk, or vulgar joking, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:3,4; cf. Ephesians 4:29; emphasis added).
“Abstain from every appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22; emphasis added).
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Grace and peace be with you.