Have I been intentionally obeying Christ’s commands such that I am certain that the Spirit of Christ is living in me or is it possible that I have merely believed on Jesus by my intellect?
21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" 23 Jesus replied, "IF anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
INSIGHT: The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity, and He is the essence of God’s presence with us on earth. Without the Holy Spirit living in us, we can only know about God, but cannot know Him or experience Him. God’s Spirit is God’s presence and His presence is the key difference between religion and relationship. The presence of the Holy Spirit is also proof of our future inheritance of salvation in Christ. Jesus is pointing out that if we know His teachings and we obey them, motivated by love for Him, He and the Father will live in us by their Spirit and manifest or disclose themselves to us. This is how we are born again. We are then able to know God through personal experiences of His grace, guidance, and indescribable presence in our life.
When my oldest son Tyler was 10 years old, we were driving down the road talking about the importance of loving God, when he said to me, “Dad, how can young children show God they love Him?” He was essentially asking, “What is God’s love language so that I know how to show Him love?”
Notice how Jesus used the word obey 3 times in this passage, but He uses the word love 7 times! The emphasis is on loving God and obedience is God’s primary love language.
We can sing and cry in church and get all emotional during worship and still leave God feeling unloved. True love for God and true saving faith is evidenced by obedience to the teachings of Christ, not just emotionalism in the heart. What we feel in our hearts is often very deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9). That is why we must filter our thoughts and experiences through the word of God. And how He shows His approval is to live in us via His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as we remain in Christ and He in us, brings a powerful internal desire, to live godly, that replaces the former external pressure and guilt we felt.
We are filled with the Spirit by obedience to Christ’s words, not by chasing spiritual power or experience, or going to just the right “conference” or church where the Spirit is really moving. Do not get sucked into that nonsense or the parlor tricks of the devil. The devil counterfeits everything that God does except godliness, obedience, purity of heart, holiness, faithfulness, etc. When you find spiritual experience without those, you have found the devil’s playground. The primary work of the Spirit is our sanctification and obedience to Christ, not spiritual circus acts (1 Peter 1:3).
How can you know if you are filled with the Spirit of Christ and truly born again? If the Spirit of Christ is in you and you are maturing in the faith, and He is not being choked off by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, here are some Biblical evidences of things you should increasingly feel and experience. How many can you identify with personally?
Psalm 16:2, 25:12,14, 34:5-10, 42:1-2, 68:3, 73:25-26, 119:47-48, Proverbs 8:13, Matthew 11:28-30, John 8:12,31-32, 10:27, 15:8,11, Romans 4:20-21, 5:3, 6:18, 1 Corinthians 4:20, 2 Corinthians 5:5,17, 9:13, Galatians 5:22-24, Ephesians 3:19, Philippians 1:21-23, 3:7-8, Colossians 1:29, 2 Timothy 3:12, Hebrews 2:15, 1 Peter 1:8-9, 1 John 2:3-6, 5:14-15