Greetings in Jesus’ precious name!!!
Today I want to begin my letter by saying thank you for your prayers for us as we move forward in our Ministry Expansion Project (you can see more about it at renner.org/expansion). It is the winter months here in Moscow and normally construction work would stop, but we are able to continue working on the interior of the new TV studio even though it’s so bitterly cold outside. We are making significant progress, but please continue praying with us. We are SO THANKFUL to every person who has become a part of the giving team to help us so we can better minister to people. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
This month marks 30 years that we launched our TV ministry in the former USSR. If you want to read the whole story, it’s in my new autobiography UNLIKELY,and it can be ordered at our online store at renner.org. It was totally unlikely that it could happen, but with nothing more than a word from God, we stepped out in faith to do what had never been done before in the realm of television in the lands of the former USSR. And it worked! God blessed our obedience, and He is blessing and increasing our television ministry to this day.
Following the leading of the Holy Spirit all these years has been the adventure of a lifetime! But today, I’d like to talk to you about the Holy Spirit living inside you as a Permanent Indweller. James 4:5 says, “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”
I want to point out the word “dwelleth” in this verse. In Greek, it is a compound of the words kata and oikos. The word kata carries the idea of settling down, and the word oikos is the word for a house. Taken together, the new word — katoikidzo —means to take up residency or to dwell in a house and carries the idea of residing permanently. In other words, this word would never describe a transient or one who came to live in a place only temporarily. Instead, it is the picture of a person who has settled into a home with no intention of ever leaving.
This means when the Holy Spirit came to live inside you, it wasn’t for a short period of time. He came to stay. From the moment you made Jesus your Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit made your heart His permanent home. He has no intention of ever moving out to leave your heart vacant while He finds somewhere else to live. Think of that! The Holy Spirit doesn’t come only to visit occasionally — your heart is His HOME!
But James 4:5 goes on to say, “Do you think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”
The word “lust” usually has a bad connotation in our minds. We think of sexual lust, for example, as something that must be eradicated from our lives. But James told us that the Holy Spirit has lust — and because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of holiness (see Romans 1:4), we know that the lust of the Holy Spirit must be a healthy, godly kind. Understanding this point is so important that we must stop to see exactly what James was saying to us here.
The word “lusteth” in James 4:5 is the Greek word epipothei — a compound of two Greek words — epi and pothei. The word epi adds force to the word, and the word pothei means an intense desire or yearning. When compounded, the new word describes an intense, excessive yearning for something. So according to this verse, there is something the Holy Spirit is yearning after — something He passionately longs to possess. One expositor has translated this verse to read, “The Spirit that dwelleth in us has an intense yearning….”
But what does the Holy Spirit yearn for so strongly?
James used the word epipothei to picture the Holy Spirit’s intense desire to possess and fill each believer that He indwells. This emphatically means the Holy Spirit wants more and more of us. When it comes to you and me, He can never get enough!
I’m thankful that I have walked with God for many decades, and over these years I have learned that it doesn’t matter how much I surrender to Him today, by tomorrow He will be asking me to surrender more. Every second, every minute, every day, every week, and every year that passes my eyes are illuminated to new areas of my life that have never been surrendered, and each time the Holy Spirit asks me to yield those areas to His control.
During the altar call when I was saved, the congregation was singing the famous song “I Surrender All.” Ever since that time, I’ve been surrendering all as the Holy Spirit convicts me and shows me areas where I’ve never fully surrendered or where I need to surrender more. I first called Jesus Lord decades ago, but I’m still learning to accept His lordship in various areas of my life. It doesn’t matter how much I think I’ve surrendered or how yielded I think I’ve become, there is always more to surrender and more He desires to possess of my life.
And the Holy Spirit desires to possess you — all of you. I want you to see that the Holy Spirit “dwelleth” in us and He “lusteth” for us — and He will never be satisfied with shallow fellowship. He is in pursuit of deep communion with you. So I urge you today to make a decision to yield to the Holy Spirit’s yearning for you — to fill you with more of Himself and for you to come to know Him at a deeper level than you ever have before!
Oh, how I pray this letter has encouraged you today to open your heart and welcome the precious presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. He is IN you — and He wants to fill you and possess you fully. So please… take a moment to say: “Holy Spirit, thank You for living in me. I surrender to You today, and ask You to fill me more than ever before. Take me — I’m yours!”
As I close my letter today, I ask you to continue praying for Denise and me. After all these years, we are still giving our all to Jesus and to His will for our lives and ministry, and we are continually seeking to obey Him accurately in every area. And as always, I sincerely thank you for being our partner in this wonderful ministry that God has entrusted us to lead. Thank you so much for your obedience to God and for your willingness to give to make an eternal difference for others!
And please let us know how to pray for you. Just give us a call or send us your prayer need. We are praying for you anyway, but when we know what you are specifically standing and believing for, we do a better job of praying. And I promise that we’ll stand in faith with you!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families