That Empty Feeling

by Martha Nelson

Do you ever feel "dry" inside? Do you ever wake up in the morning and feel an "emptiness" within? A lack of excitement for the day? Perhaps you even feel depressed or anxious-or just "blah". Maybe you feel like this most days. Have you ever wondered why?

The interesting thing about this emptiness inside is that it doesn't go away when we eat our favourite ice-cream, take a holiday, or try the latest vitamin supplement. These things may distract us from the dead feeling inside us-but at the end of the day-alone in our rooms-we know it is still there. Do you ever feel like that?

How Children Live

Now remember the last time you watched children playing. They run like rabbits and take delight in the smallest things. Each day is an adventure. "They're so full of life," we say. Yes, they are. But WE were all children once. What happened to us along the way?

It's true there is a natural life and energy that we are born with. God made us this way when He breathed his life into the first man and woman (Gen. 2:7). We have a miraculous natural life inside of us that starts out having boundless energy and enthusiasm-just like that of the children we've watched at play.

However, natural life is not enough. We all grow older, and the body and mind begin to decay. Eventually we die. So much for natural life! There is little we can do to change this process. Or is there?

It's amazing-but God's plan was that we human creatures would actually be filled with life-with the original life of His own Holy Spirit. The same Spirit who created sunrises and carefree, joyful children. Jesus pointed this out when he said, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23). God's Holy Spirit wants to come and make His home inside each one of us.

This may be difficult to believe, but it's true. God wants to come and live inside of us and fill us with an energising spirit that carries us joyfully through all the days of our lives.

However, God will not overrule our free wills. He will not barge in and demand his place. He is a gentleman. And He will only enter where He is invited. So we each have a choice whether to receive this fresh new life inside of us-or be content with only a natural life.

New Life

So how do we receive the Holy Spirit? If we want to live a new life, how do we do it? Is there something we need to do first before the Holy Spirit will come to live inside us?

The Holy Spirit is called "holy" because he is clean and pure. He therefore cannot live anywhere that is not also clean and pure. He cannot live where there is what the Bible calls "sin". Many of us think of sin as gross crimes like murder, adultery, or stealing. It's true that the Bible does call these things sin. But our own lives may be clear of those things and still be riddled with sin of other types.

So what is sin? It is anything the Bible tells us is wrong, including "little things" like anger, jealousy, resentment, selfishness, greed, self-pride-which in God's eyes are just as bad as murder. Sin is also not doing something good which we know is right to do (James 4:17). In short, being free of sin means listening to our conscience and obeying it. That is all God expects of us. We may still be imperfect in many ways-but if we honestly seek to make right the things in our lives that we KNOW of, God sees our honest hearts-and responds by giving us His Holy Spirit if we ask Him.

Cleaning House

When we begin this "housecleaning" of our lives in preparation to receive the Holy Spirit we realise that the dirt and weight of our past wrong actions (sin) is the very thing that destroyed the carefree, childlike heart we were born with. As we honestly examine our own lives and make right the things that weigh on our conscience, we prepare the way for the Holy Spirit's coming.

When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, he begins to change the way we think and act. This change is something both we and those around us can see. The living Holy Spirit makes us more alive than ever before--in a way that expresses God's beauty and holiness. We become child-like again. We are also freer than ever to become the unique people God made us to be.

So what will you do? Will you be content with the blah, natural life you were born with? God has given you the freedom to choose that if you want. Or will you begin today to prepare your life to receive a New Life--the Holy Spirit--who alone can transform you into the unique person God wants you to be.

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