To host means to receive or welcome a guest. It is possible for us to get really good at hosting worship experiences but not yet have learned how to host the Holy Spirit. We can be in large worship gatherings and yet not welcome the Holy Spirit. We can host Bible studies but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Holy Spirit is present.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Who you host is determined by how you host. If you put a Starbucks in a retail store and put tons of kitschy housewares in the impulse buy section, you will attract a certain kind of customer: my wife. And if you have a Home Depot or Lowes, you will host another type of customer: men who think they can repair things.
There are four things to keep in mind when you would like to welcome the Holy Spirit into your life, your gathering, or your midst. I use the acronym H.O.S.T.
We have constructed the image of holiness as wearing three-piece suits, long skirts, and no jewelry. We’ve reduced it down to an outward appearance. But Galatians 5:22 says,
”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Long skirts and uncut hair don’t indicate holiness. These fruit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are the things that indicate that the Holy Spirit is present because these are the fruit of His presence.
We think that we can host the Holy Spirit through behavior modification. But if you host the Holy Spirit, He will go beyond simple outward behavior modification. He will reveal the innermost parts of the heart. He’ll reveal the trauma that is at the root of the sin so that you can have complete victory over the sin you wrestle with.
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
If you see anything good in me, it’s God. If I’m a good husband, it’s God through me. If I’m a good preacher or pastor, it’s God through me. I am who I am because of the overflowing grace of God. For the Holy Spirit to be present, we need an atmosphere of overflowing grace.
You shall have a place outside the camp, and you shall go out to it. And you shall have a trowel with your tools, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it and turn back and cover up your excrement. Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, so that he may not see anything indecent among you and turn away from you.
As you work out your salvation here on earth, some cycles will be broken and there will be sins you won’t return to. However, you won’t reach a place of perfection until heaven. Sanctification isn’t the absence of sin, it means having the tools to deal with sin.
When you mess up, get a shovel. Say to God, “I made a mess again, but I’m going to designate a place for this mess in prayer. And I’m going to cover it up with the blood of Jesus because I want your protection, provision, and favor on my life.”
All of the kings of Israel sinned, but some were called righteous and some were not. What’s the difference? Some had a shovel and some didn’t. David had a shovel and when he sinned with Bathsheba and caused her husband to be murdered, he knew that he needed to use his spiritual shovel to cover his sin through repentance. Saul didn’t do this.
As Christians, we still make mistakes. However, we know where to take our mistakes.
1 Timothy 4:8
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Stay teachable. Stay vulnerable. I was in New York City doing a church service just like this. At the end of the service, I told the crowd that we were going to host the presence of the Holy Spirit. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge my heart and so I said, “Who wants to receive Him as a father?” A tall gentleman, all the way in the back, began to wave his arms like he was landing a plane. I met him after service and asked to hear his story.
He said, “I’m a multi-generational Hindu. My father just recently died. In hinduism, the practice is that we watch the deceased body burn for hours as part of our grieving. The entire time I watched my father’s body burn, I kept thinking about how I would never have a father again. My friend invited me to church today and when you kept saying God could be my father.” After that day, this young man went on a discipleship journey with our church, and I saw him baptized.
The Holy Spirit was present in this young man’s life profoundly because he was vulnerable and teachable.
Host the Presence
The Holy Spirit is welcomed by the type of atmosphere you create for Him. If you’d like to host Him, create an atmosphere where He is welcome.
Pray with me:
Holy Spirit, I want to host you. Beyond religion, beyond tradition, beyond a song. I want to host you, Holy Spirit. I want to attract your manifest presence in my life like never before. I say yes to you. Father, I thank you for what you’re stirring here right now God. I thank you for fanning the flame in my heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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