Pt. 3 – Where God Lives
Jesus was baptized by Holy Spirit and we know that from that moment on, He only did what He saw His Father do, and spoke what He heard His Father say (Jn. 5:19-20; 8:26-29). He didn’t make decisions by what His natural eyes saw or judge by what His physical ears heard (Isa. 11:1-3). Instead He lived into the spirit realm and exclusively out of divine initiative, and He called His followers to do the same.
That was the great invitation. Jesus said, “Follow Me” and they did (Mk. 1:17-18).
This arrangement of Follow the Leader worked beautifully for about three years. The disciples and Jesus did all kinds of awesome ministry and miracles, until that fateful evening when Jesus sprang some news on them they were not prepared to hear. The following is how I imagine the conversation recorded in John chapters 13 through 17 could have played out.
“So guys, this has been a great ride. I’ve had fun, but… I’m taking off.”
“What?! Well, wherever You’re going, we’re coming too.”
“Sorry, but where I’m going you can’t go.”
“Jesus, You can’t leave us! You said to follow You! How can we follow You if You’re not even here? We won’t be able to see what you’re doing, or hear Your voice. This doesn’t work without You!”
“Don’t worry. I’m sending Holy Spirit, and He’s gonna help you.”
“Holy Spirit? We don’t know Him. We want You, Jesus!”
“Guys, it’s going to be okay. Holy Spirit is coming, and He will comfort you.”
“Comfort us? We refuse to be comforted if You’re not here with us! You’re the one we’ve shared our lives with! You’re the one we’ve worked with and played with and ministered with all this time. You’re the one we love!”
My husband is to Jesus as my brother-in-law is to…
As we consider this passage of Scripture, an analogy may prove helpful to put the situation into perspective. There are some similarities here between the disciples and me, so I imagine a slightly altered version of the conversation, as if I had just shared it with my husband, Leo. Like Jesus, Leo is not from around here. Leo grew up in Zambia, and obviously Jesus is from heaven.
Leo comes to America, we fall in love and have been working and ministering and playing and doing life together for years.
Now all of a sudden Leo says to me, “Okay honey, I’m taking off. I’m headed back to where I came from.”
“I’m sorry, say that again.”
“Yeah, I’m going home. And by the way, you can’t come with me so don’t even ask.”
“Uh, you’re kidding me right now, right?”
“Don’t worry though, because you know my brother Stan? Yeah, I’m going to send him to you…”
“Now wait just a minute!”
“Yeah, he’s gonna come and help you, and be a comfort to you and…”
Now, I love my brother-in-law. He’s awesome! But I don’t want Stan instead of Leo. That doesn’t work! I love Leo and don’t want him to leave me.
Where I went wrong
To add to the confusion, at this point I had a couple different ideas about Holy Spirit which were incorrect. First of all, I had my favorites. Of the Godhead, I definitely liked one of them best. The way I figured it, Father God never even came to earth where I live. Sorry, not my favorite. Sure, Jesus came for a bit, but then He took off before I ever even showed up. Not my favorite.
But Holy Spirit? Granted, it took Him a while to get here, but once He came at least He stayed. Holy Spirit was definitely my favorite member of the Trinity. That’s because I had another wrong idea about what actually took place with Jesus’ ascension and Holy Spirit being poured out (Acts 2:17). I had the mistaken notion that it was an even exchange: Jesus was on earth, Holy Spirit was in heaven, and they just switched places.
But that’s not what happened.
Instead, it was more like a three-for-one special. Holy Spirit came and opened our eyes to the spiritual realm of heaven that is all around us, and we are able to see who is there.
“Oh wow, Jesus? You’re still here! You didn’t leave me? You didn’t forsake me!”
“And Father God? You’re here too? You’ve always been right here? All along! I just couldn’t see You before!”
And just like that the eyes of our hearts are enlightened to the spiritual world that permeates our physical world, the supernatural realm that infuses our natural realm, the kingdom of heaven that is so close, it’s actually inside us (Lk. 17:21 KJV).
Where God lives
Indeed, we live and move and exist in God, which makes Him pretty close. If we reach out for Him, we will find Him because He is not far from any one of us (Acts 17:27-28).
And that is the revelation.
Sometimes we may be tempted to question God’s presence because we can’t see Him or see what He’s doing. We are trying to look for Him, but we aren’t finding Him. Where is He?
Well, God is Spirit and He lives in the spirit realm. So perhaps one reason we haven’t been seeing Him as clearly as we would like to is because we just haven’t been looking for Him in the right place.