Up Close and Personal

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Joni and Friends
Up Close and Personal

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

Ephesians 3:17

Last night, right before prayer time, I was struggling to push out of my heart one of those useless daydreams. My thinking was, I don’t want to approach God like this. Then it occurred to me how close God was—right in the middle of things (because the Spirit of the Lord dwells in my heart). My next thought? Sometimes, Lord, I don’t know how you can stand to live inside me! God carries the weight of my campaign against sin, but I rarely think of him as that up close and personal when I’m engaged in a struggle against temptation. Because he lives inside me, he’s literally in the thick of the battle.

Yet he’s the one who has to put up with my choosing stupid thoughts, taking worldly advice, opting to ignore his warnings, forgetting my calling as a servant, and walking more than occasionally in the flesh. How does he put up with all that?

Scripture says, “The battle is the LORD’s” (1 Sam. 17:47). I’m amazed that the Spirit I grieve when I sin turns right around whenever he hears me repent and empowers me to conquer that sin. I’m glad he doesn’t hold a grudge. I’m relieved he doesn’t say, “I told you so.” And I’m so grateful that even when I quench his fire in my heart, he can always be stirred to action by the match ignited when I confess.

Come to think of it, I’m glad the Lord resides inside me. Because the closer he is to the battle—right there in my heart—the closer his love is to me.

What battles rage in your heart today? What temptations taunt you to just say yes? Picture the Holy Spirit living inside your heart. And picture the fiery maelstrom that he is urging you to emerge from victoriously. Thank him for the power to do so.

Father, I know you’re pleased with me as your child. And Lord Jesus, I know you’re the one who intercedes and prays for me. But Holy Spirit, you’re the one who has to live with me. Thank you.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998
Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.

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