The look on her face said it all but she finally blurted it out. “I lost Grant!” Her name is Patty, a good friend with two toddlers of her own who agreed to watch my three young sons while I walked Sherl to the exit gate of the St. Louis Zoo. Sherl had an appointment and I had just returned to Patty and the kids when she said those terrifying words. After several moments of frantic searching with the help of kind strangers, we discovered Grant hiding behind the door of the concessions stand where I left the group when I escorted Sherl to the gate. Grant said innocently, “I was playing hide and seek with Patty.”
In Luke Chapter 2 we find Mary and Joseph looking for Jesus after they realized they left the Passover-- without Him! The Bible says of Joseph and Mary's experience: "supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey...So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him." - Luke 2:44, 45 NKJV
Can you imagine if you had a child that was sinless how easy it would be to assume that since Jesus was so obedient as a child his parents would easily assume he was with them on their journey?
Because Jesus is so faithful, so good, so loving and determined to save us, we also run the risk of assuming that He is “with us.”
Is it possible for a believer to suppose Jesus is “with” them and yet be a day's journey from Him? If so, how? When Jesus took human nature He could only be one place at a time, but through the Holy Spirit He is omnipresent. Omnipresence and His inner abiding presence are not the same in the Bible. When the Bible says “the Lord was with Him” regarding a person’s relationship with God it is not talking about this general sense of omnipresence. Notice: Acts 10:38 “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” It is talking about the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
Even unbelievers and rebels have the omnipresence of the Lord. He is “with’ them trying to get them to repent and believe, for without His help they never would! But He is not in them.
We would never come to the point of having Him in us if He wasn't with us in the sense that He is with everyone to lead us to repentance and faith. There is a distinct difference between His presence being with us and in us (See John 14:17) and that difference is whether we are a day’s journey from Him or not.
Understanding the with us vs. in us difference is vital if we are going to experience a deeper spiritual life in the work of the Holy Spirit. Surely this is what Christ had in mind when He shared His discourse on the vine and the branches in John 15:4, 7 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “Abide in me and I in you” -NKJV
Notice what happens when we “abide”: “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” The fruit of the Holy Spirit is what will bring harmony to our homes, love in our church and the gospel to our community. The fruit comes from “abiding”: “Abiding in Christ means a constant receiving of His Spirit, a life of unreserved surrender to His service.” Desire of Ages p. 676
Would you like to have the “constant receiving of His Spirit”? You can! Here are three simple decisions you can make that ensure the abiding presence in you!
Luke 11:13 “So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who keep asking him!” -International Standard Version.
Persist in your prayers for the Holy Spirit.
John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
Fill your mind with and meditate on the Scriptures.
John 6:56 "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me
Prayerfully apply in your everyday life what you receive from your Bible Study.
The Holy Spirit (Christ’s personal presence) is intimately involved in and bestowed more fully in all three of these processes! - Blessings to all, Pastor Mike