I attended church for almost thirty years of my life without experiencing
victory. I was living a life of utter defeat, a living "scam", for I was not who
I pretended to be. I thought I knew Jesus, but in all reality I only knew of
Him. The Bible was used as a weapon to defend my denominational indoctrination
and it had no real meaning for me.
Don't get me wrong, I read my Bible daily. The only problem was that I often had to keep my eyes open with toothpicks to do so! And my prayer life was just as exciting. I usually fell asleep over my repetitious requests to God!
Then one day I was invited by a friend to attend a Messianic synagogue. My experience there literally turned my life upside down, for that is where, for the first time in my life, I came face to face with a presence utterly unknown to me before: The presence of God through His Holy Spirit. Slowly but surely I began to discover Jesus as my friend and Saviour and my life began to transform.
With the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, I suddenly no longer felt alone. His Word became alive, and so did my personal worship time! The mere thought of spending time with the Lord now makes my heart thump in anticipation. Why? Because this time is spent under the leading of the Holy Spirit, the author of the Sacred Scriptures.
My prayer life has also changed. Through it I have developed a personal relationship with the One who cares the most about me and my life. But above all else, I am now leading a life of victory. My defeated life is but a thing of the past, for Jesus' presence in my life has become more precious than anything else.
In the Old Testament days, only a handful of people actually experienced God's Holy Spirit. These were usually prophets, though occasionally others like kings (i.e. Saul, David). Religious life was centered around the tabernacle (later called the temple), especially the Holy of Holies, where the Arc of Covenant was housed. Common people were only allowed in the courtyard of the tabernacle, as a place of penance and repentance of sins. Only once a year was the High Priest allowed to visit the Most Holy Place, and then, only if his life was in order before God (see Ex 30:10). Why? Because God's presence was vividly manifested in that place. Because it was a place of awe, a place of holy fear.
"When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple." (1 Kings 8:10-11 NIV)
The Arc of the Covenant seemed to have mysterious powers. It could stop the flow of water (see Josh 3:13); it could break statues of false gods (see 1 Sam 5:2-5); it could destroy any impure hands that might touch it (2 Sam 6:6-7), it could even obliterate walls of fortified cities (see Joshua 6). The Arc of Covenant mysteriously disappeared, however, around the time of the Babylonian empire, and has remained hidden ever since.
The temple itself was destroyed and rebuilt twice; but other than one simple wall, it was never rebuilt after its third destruction (around 70 A.D.). Despite this, the temple is again mentioned in the New Testament: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Cor 3:16-17 NIV); "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" (1 Cor 6:19 NIV); "For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'" (2 Cor 6:16 NIV)
Let's remember for a moment that the purpose of the temple throughout Old Testament history was to house the presence of God, and this has not changed. There is one subtle difference: The temple is no longer a building made of stone, gold and other fine materials, it is now made up of flesh and bones! Since Pentecost, God's Spirit resides in the hearts of those who welcome Him in there (see Acts 2). The Holy of Holies, the Arc of the Covenant can now be found right in our hearts!
Once His presence is felt in this temple, in your heart, you begin to experience true life, life that is filled with victory, purpose, inner peace and love. Never again will you feel left behind and utterly alone. God is with you and as long as you listen, He will make His presence known to you.
Jesus said: "When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13 NIV); "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV); and "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36 NIV); "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 15:57 NIV); and "For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:4-5 NIV)
With God's presence residing in your heart, your days of boring Bible study and repetitious prayer are gone. His Word comes alive because its Author is alive in you. Prayer is now an opportunity for intimate fellowship.
Friends, the good news is this: the tabernacle has been found! If you have submitted your life to Jesus, it resides inside of your heart! It is in you and it offers you the ability to live in true freedom and victory. Wow! Thank you Jesus!
You are holy, because the Most Holy lives in you!
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