"...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Where the Spirit of the Lord is. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of the Lord annointed Kings and Judges. The Spirit of the Lord also left them, as in Saul's case (1 Sam. 16:14). This verse in 2 Corinthians also insinuates that there is a place where the Spirit of the Lord is, and a place where He is not. And yet throughout the Bible it talks about "the Spirit of the Lord has come upon him" as if God chose to release His spirit at that moment. Almost seems as if He gives and takes away the Spirit outside of our control. And yet in 2 Corinthians Paul makes it clear that where the Spirit of the Lord is, is a place to dwell, for freedom is where the Spirit of the Lord is.

So how do we get there? Mark 1:8 tells us that Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 says, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" We ask, and He gives it to us. So we must only have a willing heart to receive His gift.

Why wouldn't we ask, then? I believe we are proud. We think we know God, and we think we know what He wants, so then we go do it - maybe asking Him for strength, maybe not, but we neglect the notion that we can do no good thing unless His spirit is present. NO good thing!

The Holy Spirit is SO important, that Jesus said it was BETTER for Him to leave us, so that we could receive the Counselor. John 16:7 "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." John goes on to say in verses 13-15, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you."

Jesus is saying that it is better for us to have the Holy Spirit right now! I would have thought that having Jesus here on earth would be the best possible scenario, but Jesus is saying, no. He is saying that He must leave for us to have access to the power of His Holy Spirit. If Jesus is saying that having the Holy Spirit among us right now is better that having Him walk on earth with us at this time, how powerful must His Spirit be?!?! So are we living where the Spirit of the Lord is? Are we living in freedom because of this great gift?

John says that the Spirit speaks. Do we listen? He says that the Spirit reveals truth from Jesus and the Father. Are we understanding? Romans 14 talks about the weak and the strong. It follows passages where Paul talks about the commandments and the law of the Old Testament being replaced by the New: "Love your neighbor as yourself." He talks in Romans 14 about eating, but is referring to different lifestyles. Verse 3 says, "The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him." Being bound by the law is not experiencing freedom in the Spirit. Even being bound by your own laws! Romans 14:22 says, "...Blessed is he man who does not condemn himself by what he approves." "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Romans 14:17-18 says, "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men." The Kingdom of God is life in the Spirit! Matthew 6 talks about seeking first His kingdom, and not worrying. Life in the Spirit is directly linked to faith and trust.

Brennan Manning said in one of his books, "Some people play with Gospel imagery, mesmerize you with word games. They believe what they are sying and persuade others to belief. But the ideas stay lodged in their intellect and the words stay caught in their throats. Beautiful head trips are all they are. They never internalize mercy. They never risk, they never leap in trust, they never surrender to reckless confidence. The worst sin in their lives is that they exempt themselves from grace."

If I truly lived in the Spirit, I would believe unshakingly in His grace. And if I truly believed in my need for His grace, and His gift of it to me, then all I could do all day is bow humbly at His feet in worship. Brennan Manning describes the faith of a child: "Being a child...mean't letting go of my expectations of some mountaintop experience. It mean't abandoming myself to what was really happening."

Life in the Spirit is time-sensitive. It means I must be able to move at any moment to follow His whispering. It means I must be like a child, and only be in tune with what's in front of me and happening right now. It does not mean being ignorant of the rest of the world and our responsibility, but it does mean looking at where God has put you, and listening to the Spirit in that moment. Getting lost in the now and the here so that Christ is most glorified here and now.

How do we find it? Ask. Seek the Lord more than we seek His commands. Seek His face even more than we seek the lost around us. When we seek Him, He brings us to the place He wants us to be, and the people He wants us to be with. Seeking Him is more than a Bible study, or weekly evangelism, or church on Sundays. Seeking Him is waking up saying, "Lord, I'm here at Texas A&M today. I want this day to be yours. I am willing to do whatever the Spirit desires. Show me what that is." And then listen. The Spirit speaks. Listen to it well, for there is freedom in the Truth, direction, and power of the Spirit. "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."