Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
— James 4:5
Has there ever been anything you wanted so badly that you just couldn’t get it off your mind? Every time you tried to think about something else, your mind just kept drifting back over and over again to that thing you desired. Finally, your urge to possess it became so intense that every fiber of your being wanted to reach out and capture it before anyone else had a chance to snatch it first!
Let me use a different illustration to make this point. If a drug addict or an alcoholic abruptly decides to stop doing drugs or drinking after many years of chemical abuse, what happens? Unless that person has a miraculous deliverance, it probably won’t be too long before his body begins to crave those chemicals. In fact, his appetite for drugs or alcohol might get so forceful that he doubles over in agony. That’s how much his body yearns for a “fix” of what it has habitually received in the past.
In the New Testament, the images above would be depicted by the Greek word epipotheo, which is a compound of the words epi and potheo. The word epi means over, and the word potheo is the word for desire. But when these two words are compounded together, the new word epipotheo portrays an intense desire, a craving, a hunger, an ache, a yearning for something, a longing or pining for something. More specifically, it describes an intense, abnormal, excessive yearning.
Usually this word is used to indicate an intense yearning for something that is morally wrong and sinful. It is the pitiful picture of someone, such as a drug addict or an alcoholic, who needs his “fix” so seriously that he is doubled over, racked with pain, and crying out, “Please, someone, give me what I need!”
Remarkably, this Greek word epipotheo is the same word found in James 4:5 to describe the desire of the Holy Spirit when it says, “…The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy.…”
The word “lust” in this verse is from this same Greek word epipotheo. Only this time the word is not used to describe the painful addiction of a drug addict or alcoholic; rather, it depicts the Spirit of God! There is obviously some object that the Spirit of God craves. In fact, this Greek word pictures Him as desiring it so desperately that He is like one who needs some type of “fix” to satisfy an addiction. He is crying out, “I have to have it! I can’t wait any longer! Give me what I crave! Give me what I am aching and yearning to have!”
But what does this mean? What is James 4:5 saying to us? What does the Holy Spirit yearn for so sincerely that the Bible would picture Him in this way?
In James 4:5, the Bible reveals the intense yearning the Holy Spirit possesses to have us entirely for Himself. That should be no surprise to us. He is our Indweller, our Sealer, our Sanctifier, and our Source of power. His attention, His gifts, His power, and His Word are all directed toward us. He is in love with us!
The Holy Spirit is so in love with us that He wants more, more, more, and more of us. Every day He wants our time, our attention, our devotion, and our fellowship. If we deny the Holy Spirit of what He wants from us, He cries out, “I need you! I must have you! I want to fill you, empower you, and flood you with My divine life!”
James 4:5 conveys this compelling idea:
“…The Spirit has an all-consuming and passionate desire to have more and more of us. In fact, this desire to possess us is so strong that He literally yearns, craves, and pines after us.”
Never forget that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Lover who lives on the inside of us. He passionately yearns to fulfill His responsibility to the Father to help, teach, guide, and empower us. The word epipotheo emphatically means that when it comes to you and me, the Holy Spirit can never get enough!
The Holy Spirit desires to possess you — all of you. Because of this intense desire, He is focused on changing you, empowering you, conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, and helping you fulfill God’s plan for your life.
Learn how to yield to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to have more and more of you each day. Satisfy the yearning of this Divine Lover. Let the Holy Spirit love you! Let Him control you! Let Him exercise His authority in your life and flood you with His divine desire!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to be mindful that the Holy Spirit lives inside me and wants to possess more and more of me every day. Please help me learn how to surrender to the Spirit’s power and to yield to His sanctifying Presence. I know that as I yield to Him, He will fill me full of every good thing I need to live a happy and successful life in this world. I want to begin today by opening myself to the Holy Spirit completely. Holy Spirit, I ask You to fill me anew right now.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that the Holy Spirit loves me! He thinks of me, dreams of me, and wants to fill me with His Presence and power. The Holy Spirit was sent into this world to be my Helper, my Guide, my Teacher, and my Leader. Therefore, I am learning to lean on Him and to let Him lead me through all my affairs in this life. I surrender to Him, yield to Him, and depend on Him for everything I need.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Have you ever experienced the deep love that the Holy Spirit has for you?
2. When you had this experience, where were you and what was happening in your life?
3. In order for you to continually experience the deep love of the Holy Spirit, what do you need to do?