For many years a very important scripture to me has been, and continues to be, Exodus 25:8.
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8 (NKJV)
The context is the building of the Tabernacle of Moses and that Yahweh could only dwell in the midst of the people once the tabernacle had been erected, the proper sacrifices made and the Ark of the Covenant placed in the Holy of Holies. Once the proper preparations were complete Yahweh’s presence rested between the cherubim hovering over the Ark. In the NT context the proper sacrifice (Jesus) has been made and God’s justice satisfied. Once we repent of our sin and surrender to Jesus there is then a Holy of Holies created within us, a place for the Spirit to dwell in our reborn spirits.
Yet, do we experience this reality? It is not automatic as evidenced by Paul’s prayers in Ephesian’s 1:16-21 and 3:14-19. Paul prayed for believers to have a revelation of why and what the Father called us to and that we would experience the full breadth, length, height and depth of Jesus love. This of course requires the exercise of faith as Paul outlined in part of his Ephesians 3 prayer.
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, Ephesians 3:17 (NKJV)
In context the word ‘dwell’ above refers to the act of dwelling. It is a verb that means to “Settle down, dwell in, reside, inhabit.” (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary). Again, Jesus settling down in our hearts requires us to exercise faith that He will actually do this out of His love for us.
Now look at a portion of Ephesians 2 below.
21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:21-22 (NKJV)
Here the word ‘dwelling’ refers to a place and is the dwelling foreshadowed by the Tabernacle of Moses, Exodus 25:8 language. He stills wants to dwell in a sanctuary among His people in a way that is both corporate and individual. I have been in corporate gatherings where His presence came in a tangible way that was obvious to anyone with even a hint of discernment, I have also many times experienced His active dwelling just by sitting alone with Him.
My more common experience is encountering Jesus by sitting with Him and opening my spirit. In fact this being the first day of 2017 I have purposed in my heart two things for the year. One, to spend more time just sitting with Jesus and to read through the entire bible. It has been a long time since I have gone through the entire OT.
I don’t know if it is the same for you but I know these two activities further establish me in my relationship with Jesus, which to my mind is what Christianity is about. His word renews my mind and His presence renews my heart. In the process I express and reflect more of His heart to those I interact with and have something to minister to them. I also live out of and from a deeper place of rest.
I invite you to join me in this journey or pursue Him as to how He would have you deepen your relationship with Him this year. Our culture needs more of Jesus and He is manifested to our culture as He dwells in and is revealed through us, His people.