We are in that tricky phase of parenting older (adult, even) children, which includes navigating relationships. Over Christmas break, that meant my daughter spent a few days with her boyfriend’s family, and then he spent a few days here with us before they both headed back to college for the term. Now the boyfriend is kind-hearted and gracious, seamlessly fitting into our family, and we enjoy having him here. On top of that, his family is a thousand or so miles away and I’m glad to offer him a break from the campus.
But what if we invited Curtis to our home but then totally ignored him?
What if we never included him in a conversation?
Or set a plate of food in front of him?
What if we headed out to the movies and left him at home?
He might have questions of his own.
Were they kidding when they invited me?
Was Lauren insincere when she expressed her feelings for me?
Am I in an episode of The Twilight Zone?
Of course, we would never do that, and I’m certain you would never ignore a guest in your home. We just wouldn’t.
On His last night with His disciples, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. He said, “You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17.) Throughout Romans 8, Paul emphasizes the Holy Spirit lives inside believers. He is far more than a just a houseguest. He is the seal of our salvation. He is the one empowering, reminding, directing, interceding for, convicting, and teaching us. And more.
While we would never be rude and obnoxious to an invited visitor in our home, I wonder if we might at times behave that way to the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Are there moments we refuse His instruction?
Do we ignore His warnings?
Could we crowd Him out?
Do we fail to even consider Him or acknowledge His presence?
I suspect the answer is yes.
If we offended or mistreated a houseguest, an apology would be in order, perhaps even followed by making it up to our guest somehow.
With the Holy Spirit, that means confession and repentance.