“Good-bye! we’ll see you shortly!” I chirp before hanging up the phone. Then as I face my family, panic overtakes me…
“Quick! We have guests coming!”
Those words are like a Starter’s pistol at the beginning of a race. Everyone jumps up and scurries into action as I bark orders and assign tasks while simultaneously cleaning up the nearest mess and hustle to prepare some food.
“Carmon, take the clean laundry up to my office and Swiffer the living room!”
“Tyler, clean the bathrooms!”
“Zach vacuum the floors and clean up the entry!”
“Andrew empty the dishwasher and reload and get it running!”
“Babe, would you check to make sure we have enough beverages and run to grab snacks? Oh, grab some bait too in case they want to go fishing. I will toss a dessert together and wipe down the kitchen.”
The stress of the moment is palatable. Quickly, messes are clean up or stashed, clothes are straightened or changed, teeth and hair get brushed, and the food is hastily laid out.
I often forget the quality of the visit isn’t about how my house looks but in the togetherness of the moment. I desperately want everything to be perfect our friends.
It’s so good to see them—we haven’t seen them in what feels like forever. And despite our unpreparedness, we’re anxious to visit with these dear people and share our new home. So before they arrive, I’m mentally going down The Hostess To-Do List, worried I might forget something.
Can anyone relate? Even if you’re not married with kids, I’ll bet you’ve dashed around your dorm or apartment because your crush or significant other was coming over…or the parents came into town for a surprise visit.
When I have guests I want to be sure they have a good time, they feel welcomed and loved, and that they know they are safe and secure when they are in my home. I want to them to know this is a place to relax and if something is weighing on their heart, this is a safe place to talk it out.
I have to confess, most of the time my house looks “lived in.” Not super messy, but untidy. It’s not unusual to have clean laundry needing to be separated so the owner can fold and put it away or dishes in the sink that need to get loaded into the dishwasher or countertops that could use a wipe down. But when guests come I want it to be perfect—no crumbs, no dirt, and no hot messes.
Then as I was reading Lisa Young’s upcoming book, New Reality, I came across this sentence about the Holy Spirit: “His presence is a habitation, not just a visitation.” And I started to wonder how often we treat the Holy Spirit as a guest instead of a resident.
Paul tells us the Spirit dwells in us (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14). Beloved, when someone dwells somewhere, they live there as a resident—it’s their home. They know what’s shoved in the closets, so the guests don’t see. They know what’s hiding under the bed pushed out of sight. They know which corners have undone projects stashed in them. Why because they live there and they probably were party to the hiding and the stashing.
Sadly, we tend to treat the Holy Spirit like a visitor. We try to clean up our messes before we invite Him in. We stash our brokenness and shame in this corner; our hurts and anger in that closet, and I’m not sure you want to know what’s crammed underneath the bed—but He does. He wants to know all of it and help you purge out the garbage; mend the brokenness; obliterate the anger, jealousy, and pride. He wants to heal you so you can see you as God sees you—complete, holy, perfect.
When we invite the Spirit in, He comes in, and immediately our bodies become His temple—holy ground. But He won’t stay confined to the room you’ve chosen for Him. When He moves in, He becomes Master of The House; then He methodically starts to clean up and heal everything that’s broken and damaged.
You might be thinking:
I got that from a teacher years ago, its been with me ever since.
I can’t rid of that, that was from my mama.
That (behavior, habit, tendency) is a family heirloom, handed down through the generations on my father’s side; There’s no that will go away, it’s part of who I am.
Baby, I get it. But when the Spirit takes up residence in us, we’re new—brand new. Everything we were no longer exists. The things that once controlled us no longer have authority over how we behave or think—or what constitutes our identity (2 Corinthians 5:17). And to complete the package, as we submit to following Jesus, the Spirit gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) which has the power to change the way we think (Romans, 12:2; Ephesians 4:3).
When we have a different mindset, it’s easier to purge all those toxic hurts, disappointments, rejections, abuses, etc.; and let go of the brokenness, shame, anger, bad habits, addictions, and guilt. Then we become who God already knows us to be.
I know, we see our hot messes; but we must remember God sees us through His Son, just like we see Him through His Son (John 10:30, Hebrews 1:3). Beloved, just as we can’t get to the Father by any other route than Jesus (John 14:6), God blesses us with every Spiritual blessing (including regeneration) through His Son (Ephesians 1:3). It’s pretty amazing!
So take the Spirit off the guest list, give Him and room, and let Him take over. You won’t regret it.