Troublesome Topic: Implications of God’s New Dwelling Place

Lesson 2 of 5

Allow me to make several observations about the present state of Christianity in light of this important truth that God dwells in us.

1. Prayer

I sense that many Christians will hear the teaching that God is in us and nod their heads in agreement, while demonstrating in other ways that they really don’t get it. One example is the way we pray.

In college, the professor asked a student to pray before handing out the test (I went to a Christian Bible College where we did things like praying before a test) and my friend included the following request in his prayer: “And God, be with this test we are about to take.” I wanted to interrupt him and say, “Wait a minute, Larry, God doesn’t need to be with the test. The test is only paper and ink; it doesn’t know or care about anything. We are the ones that can use some help here, thank you.” I thought of that years later and realized that for me to want to ask God to be “with us” (rather than with the test) was also a shallow understanding of the New Covenant. We do not need to ask God to be with us, He is already in us, if we have trusted in the saving work of Jesus and are following him. I hear so many believers asking God to be with the missionaries, or with a fellow believer in need when God is already in them. I have come to see that we need to radically change our thinking and come into the truth of the New Covenant. God has provided for an intimate relationship with Him in such an amazing way, yet we choose to use terminology which hinders our understanding and holds us back. I will be the first to tell you that changing the way you talk and the way you pray may take years. If you have been using the “with” word for a long time, it will require a conscious effort to replace that with the word “in.” But I encourage you to make a point of retraining yourself in order to come in line with the New Covenant we are privileged to be a part of.

If you study the use of the little words “with” and “in” as found in Acts and the Epistles you will notice that the teaching about where God dwells was articulated very clearly by the Apostle—God is now in us, not just with us. The phrase “God be with you” was used in NT times as a greeting or a farewell. This is because the writers were Jews. They still maintained the custom of greeting one another saying, “God be with you,” or responding to that greeting with, “and with you.” So it is not of major importance that we see the phrase “God be with you” at the beginning or the end of several Epistles. But in the teaching passages it is consistently taught that God is IN us, His Holy Spirit is IN us. Brothers and sisters, I urge you to finally take this teaching to heart and begin to live by the implications that it has for our daily lives.

The question, “Where is God?” is key to how we pray. If we think He is far away in heaven (wherever that is) we will be inclined to ask God to do things while we sit back and watch for Him to work. But if we consider Him present in our life every moment, we will pray in a way that requires more involvement on our part. We will be more likely to act if we know God is in us because that makes us His tool, and tools are used to do work. We will recognize that God does His part and we do our part with His help.

The closer I get to God the more He will produce in me the things He wants to produce. He will make me more humble; He will cause my life to be continually transformed into His image; He will cause me to love in ways my selfish ego would previously not let me love.

Our lives are too busy. I believe it is important to get alone with God regularly, without distractions. However, it is not the place that is important, but the discipline and the closeness. Since God dwells in believers by His Spirit, we do not need to go anywhere special to have a good time of prayer (although a quiet place is helpful). In a way we carry our retreat center with us, we just need to learn to use it. I find it comforting to realize that the stresses and hecticness of the world around us do not need to negatively impact our lives, for God’s Spirit dwells in us, therefore, our prayer life should reflect that closeness.

2. Our Bodies are His Temple

Many people in the realm of what I call “Churchianity” show more respect for the physical building they erroneously call the “church” than they do their own bodies, which the Bible clearly calls God’s temple (if they have repented and are striving to follow God). In Christian circles, not much is said about the filth that is now present and prominent in many “Christian” homes through cable TV, the internet, video games and magazines, filth that is daily entering our minds which are supposed to be part of God’s temple. That stuff seems to go unnoticed, but don’t you dare rearrange something in that building, or touch something that you shouldn’t, because someone is sure to notice and they will not keep quiet about it. We have got it all backwards.

God wants to dwell in us and do His work in us and through us; He doesn’t care much about that building. We need to finally understand that we are the only temple God really cares about, the only one He planned to use, the only one the New Covenant speaks about. If God does anything special inside a church building, it is because of the people gathered there, not due to the building itself. He can just as easily minister to people gathered under a tree or on a grassy field. A church building is convenience for us, but it is not a high priority for in God’s eyes.

If our bodies are now the temple of God, our bodies are no longer ours to do with as we please. Listen to something else Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

1 Corinthians 6:19


Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, who you have from THEOS?

Go to footnote number

Also, you are not your own,


Don’t you realize that your body is the house where the Holy Spirit of God lives? or that the Holy Spirit is a gift from THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS to you and He is in you all the time? Also, you do not belong to you,

1 Corinthians 6:20


you were purchased for a price, therefore, glorify THEOS in your body, and in your spirit, which belong to THEOS.


you belong to God who bought you with the price paid by the blood of Jesus, for that reason you should feel obliged to give THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS glory by how you use your body, and by what happens in your inner being, both of which actually belong to THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS.

We need to remember that we are not our own, we have been bought at a very high price, therefore we need to honor God in our bodies—including our minds.

I am also quite concerned about what we put in the digestive tract of our bodies. We “go off” on things like addictions to cigarettes and alcohol, but the truth is that many people are addicted to the caffeine in pop, or coffee, or some other substance, or maybe addicted to a high intake of sugar. Today there are any number of things that can rule our lives for us, serving as the thing which controls us, dominates our thoughts, or becomes the highest priority in those moments of unsatisfied cravings. Once again, we need to remember that we are not our own, we have been bought at a very high price, therefore we need to honor God in our bodies.

3. Purpose

God’s purpose is to establish an intimate relationship with us, what I have called closeness. Our purpose is to be His dwelling place, and serve as His instruments in reaching others. Our purpose is not to do great things for God, but to live in such close communion with Him that He can do what He wants through us. That might include some things that just blow us away, and it might include some behind-the-scenes roles that no one ever sees. The question is more about being than about doing.

The concept of the fruit of the Spirit is a good example of this. If love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then it is not something I can produce, nor should I try hard to do so. If I lack love in my life, the answer is not to try real hard to love everyone; nor is it to pray every day, “God, give me love, give me love, give me love.” Instead I should focus on removing all the barriers that may exist in my relationship with God, on drawing closer to God in every way, and then love will come as a by-product of a closer relationship with God. That is why it is called fruit; it is something produced as the natural consequence of being in a healthy relationship with God. A healthy peach tree will produce peaches. If the tree does not produce peaches, we wonder if it is sick or dead because the norm is for it to produce peaches. Likewise, a believer with a healthy relationship with God will have certain fruits produced in his or her life by the Spirit of God who dwells within.

The next lesson in the Full and Midsize series on Covenants is: The Purpose of Heaven

The next lesson in the Short Series on Covenants is: Social Media and Algorithms Are Hindering Brain Development



The Greek text uses a different form of the name for God, but I present it in my translation in its most common form in order to not cause confusion among readers who do not know Greek. In English, our names do not change spelling when used in different grammatical settings; a name is a name. But Hebrew and Greek names did change spelling and pronunciation depending on the grammatical setting in which they are found.