Let the Holy Spirit Love You!August 18, 2016
While disturbing news of hatred and violence seem to dominate social media, the airwaves, and the thoughts and conversations of so many, isn’t it good to know that the answer for the hatred in the world today is still “…the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (see Romans 8:39)? People simply cannot love their fellow man without a deep, personal knowledge and experience of this divine love.
This month I want to share about delving deep into the love of God in your own life. I believe what you learn today will make a remarkable, supernatural difference in you and in those you come into contact with.
We’ll begin by reading a key verse in James chapter 4: “Do you think that the scripture saith in vain, the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” (v. 5). And I want to particularly focus on that word “lusteth”!
For the most part, the word “lust” has a very bad connotation in our minds. For example, we think of sexual lust as something that must be eradicated from our lives — and a greedy kind of lust as an excessive desire for material possessions that must not be allowed to operate in us. In other words, we think of lust as something we want to get rid of!
But James tells us that the Holy Spirit has lust — and because He is the Spirit of holiness (see Romans 1:4), we know that the “lust” of the Holy Spirit must be lust of 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 was taken from the Greek word epipothei, which is a compound of two words epi and pothei. The word pothei means an intense desire or yearning. The word epi simply adds force to the meaning. When compounded, the new word describes an intense, excessive yearning for something.
Usually, epipothei is used to indicate something that is morally wrong or sinful. For example, this word could be used to picture a drug addict who daily requires a new “fix” — enough drugs to carry him to the next day. When the last fix wears off and his body is desperately crying out for a new infusion of chemicals, the drug addict nearly doubles over, yearning for the next fix. Everything in him is focused on getting those drugs. He is consumed with his need for more. The word epipothei could describe this kind of desperate yearning.
The word epipothei could also be used to describe the behavior of a sexual addict. Going from one sexual experience to the next, he is driven to keep going and going. In this case, the desire is so abnormal that enough is never enough. The desire can never be satisfied. People with such an addiction are raging with lust to have more and more sexual encounters of some type.
Given the very strong definition of epipothei, it’s interesting that James would use this word — translated “lusteth” — to describe the Holy Spirit in this verse. Does the Holy Spirit truly lust? Why would James use such a word?
It’s important to understand that this word “lust” doesn’t refer to something bad unless it’s used in the context of some bad behavior. It can also be used in a good way. James 4:5 demonstrates this truth by telling us that the Holy Spirit Himself “lusteth”! In other words, there is something that 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? He yearns for you!
After all the Holy Spirit has done in us, it should be no great shock to discover that He is in love with each one of us as believers. The fact that the Spirit of God views a believer’s mixing and mingling with the world as adultery should alert us to the intense love and affection He has for each of us (see James 4:4).
The Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper and Comforter. Although He does many other things, His primary job is to help us find Christ, help us continually focus on Jesus, help us grow as Christians, help us witness, help us worship, help us understand God’s Word, and so on.
But everything the Holy Spirit is to us — our Indweller, our Sealer, our Sanctifier, and the very Power of our new life in Christ — is encompassed in His deep love for us. His work, His attention, His gifts, His power, and His Word are all directed toward us. We are the objects of His intense, consuming love and affection. As a Divine Lover who lives on the inside of us, His love and affection are single-heartedly focused on us. He passionately yearns to fulfill His responsibility to the Father to help, teach, guide, and empower us.
James used the word epipothei to describe the Holy Spirit’s intense desire to possess us and fill us. This word emphatically means the Holy Spirit wants more and more of us. When it comes to you and me, He can never get enough!
I have walked with God for many decades. Perhaps you have too. Over the years, I have learned one important thing about my relationship with the Lord: It doesn’t matter how much I surrender to His sanctifying power today, by tomorrow He will be asking me to surrender more. Every second, every minute, every day, every week, every month, and every year that passes, my eyes become illuminated to new areas of my life that have never been surrendered, and each time this happens, the Holy Spirit lovingly asks me to yield those areas to His control. And He is right there to help me do it!
During the altar call when I was saved many years ago, the congregation was singing the famous song “I Surrender All.” Ever since that time, I’ve been surrendering all as the Holy Spirit shows me areas where I’ve never fully surrendered. 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 He desires to possess of my life.
Likewise, the Holy Spirit desires to possess you — all of you. This desire is so intense that it almost appears excessive compared to natural, human lust. He is absolutely focused on changing you, empowering you, conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ, and helping you fulfill God’s plan for your life.
The amazing thing is that the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us as believers, thinking of and concentrating on each of us all at the same time! He is always looking for ways to help us in our walk with God. The Holy Spirit is consumed with a flaming, passionate desire to fill us up with His love and affection and to possess more and more of us.
I encourage you today — let the Holy Spirit love you! Let Him have full rein and control of your life. Let Him exercise His authority in you! Let Him flood you with His divine desire. Every intention He has for you is good, holy, and pure. How can you go wrong by surrendering your life, your mind, your family, your spouse, your children, your business, your ministry, your actions, and your behavior — everything you are and everything you have — to the Holy Spirit? You can’t go wrong. In fact, this kind of surrender is the only right thing to do that will matter for all eternity.
The Holy Spirit “lusteth” for you. Meditate deeply on this truth, and you will come to understand in a more profound way than ever before what it means to have the Spirit of Almighty God Himself passionately loving you and yearning for you. The Holy Spirit will never be satisfied with shallow fellowship; He is in constant pursuit of true, deep, intimate communion with you. So make a decision that from this day forward, you will start satisfying the Holy Spirit’s passionate yearning for you to know Him intimately on a deeper, more sustained level than you ever have before. I promise you — it will make a difference in your life!
How can Denise and I and our team be praying for you this month? We pray for you every day, anyway, but when you communicate with us your needs and the desires that are in your heart, it helps us pray more specifically as we add our faith to yours.
We really do 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