I was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ while in high school.
My life was radically changed July 3, 1964, during a family camp in Sanders, Idaho. After coming home from that camp, I would occasionally visit the home of some new friends made at the camp. Jim became a very good friend. His dad was a pastor on the north side of Spokane, Washington. Dale and his wife were the youth leaders at the church in Spokane Valley where I was attending regularly. He worked for Armor Meats in Spokane.
Going to the homes of these two friends was an amazing experience for me.
Walking into their houses was like walking into a sanctuary. There was an atmosphere very different from anything I had known. The light in the houses was brighter.
I heard George Beverly Shea for the first time at Jim’s house. His mom loved the music of this man who sang for Billy Graham. I heard intercessory prayer for the first time while visiting Dale’s home.
It was more than the music or hearing someone praying, it was a powerful awareness of being in a holy place. There was peace, yet more than peace, it was serenity. This was totally foreign to me, but fully aware this was a Christian home. While uncomfortable at first, it was good, and I was drawn to their presence more and more.
I wanted what they had in my life.
That is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how shall it be made salty? It is from then on good for nothing but to be thrown out and to be trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:13-16).
The light was shining bright in these homes. It revealed how much darkness was in my own. The salt was very tasty in these godly families, and I wanted more. That is what our Lord was talking about.
Every disciple is to be a sanctuary, the temple of the Holy Spirit, filled and overflowing with the presence of God.
The apostle Paul said this is the mystery of the ages, that God would not dwell in a tent, a golden box or a building on a mountain. He would dwell in the hearts of men and women, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” You would be the temple, the sanctuary, the holy place.
When a man and a woman, filled with the presence of Holy Spirit, unite in the covenant of marriage, their home becomes a sanctuary filled with the presence of Christ. All who enter that home become intimately aware they have stepped out of a world of darkness and entered a sanctuary of God’s presence.
This does not happen just because two people who profess they believe in Jesus get married and start a family.
There is a conscious choice made by the man and the woman to make their heart a living temple of the Holy Spirit. They choose to make Him the very source of their life. His love, His peace, His joy fills and overflows their life on a daily basis. His gentleness, His longsuffering, His goodness, His faithfulness, His self-control determines their actions and behavior.
Together, they make the choice to fill their house with that same fruit of the Spirit by the way they speak and treat one another.
The life of prayer and worship fill the atmosphere of that home with the very presence of Holy Spirit.
The music they play, the movies they watch, the decorations and wall hangings do not distract from or hinder the Spirit in their home. Rather, they aid and assist in establishing the awareness this is a sanctuary of God.
Too often, decorating the temple of Holy Spirit has been confused with legalism.
When a child of God becomes fully aware their body is, indeed, the house where Holy Spirit abides, a conscious decision should be made to nurture His presence and increase His influence over that temple. Such a decision will greatly impact the way they decorate the house of the Lord.
They will intentionally seek to reflect the holiness of His godly presence. They will do nothing to distract from Him or to hinder His reflection from their life. Their behavior, actions and words will reflect His light. His influence and presence will be a divine flavoring in all they say and do. Everyone around them will see the light and taste the presence of Holy Spirit in them.
That atmosphere will be present in even greater measure to everyone who steps into the home of such disciples of Jesus Christ.
Their very presence will make an impact in the neighborhood. Friends and family who come to their home will be greatly touched by the serenity, love and grace that fill the atmosphere of that home.
Dr. F. Dean Hackett has served in full-time Christian ministry since October 1971. He has ministered throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, serving as pastor, conference speaker and mentor. He has planted four churches, assisted in planting 15 others, and currently serves as lead pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, Oregon. Dr. Hackett founded Spirit Life Ministries International in 2001 to facilitate ministries in Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina and to open a training center for workers in those nations. You can find him at F. Dean Hackett – Foundational, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.