Throwing Out the Welcome Mat (by Jerry D. Scott)

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Years ago, I had a friend who loved having people in his home. He built his house specifically to allow for extending hospitality. There were two extra bedrooms and a large dining area, along with an oversized kitchen. Every visit with him was enjoyable.

Hospitality is an amazing gift. Some homes just say, ³Welcome, friend! from the moment you enter the door. It¹s not just the meal that has been prepared or the towels laid out on the guest bed for you; it¹s more. You can feel the love and acceptance of the host that says, ³We¹re glad you are here with
us.²

A Christian who desires intimate communion with the Holy Spirit, a believer who wants Him to be at home in his or her life, will be hospitable to Him. Are you hospitable to the Holy Spirit? Does the way you live extend a warm welcome to Him? The Scripture warns: ³Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted (Ephesians 4:30, The Message).

If we fill our lives with things that are focused on self-interest; if we are impure, given to filthy spec h; if we clutter our hearts and minds with the stuff of entertainment, iPods and TV; we should not be surprised that we know little of the Spirit¹s presence. He will be grieved by our lack of hospitality!

I remember an experience I had on a extended drive. I hit the Prime Country button on my Sirius radio. Mindlessly, as the miles on I-80 rolled by, I hummed along with one song after another. An hour later when I turned off the radio to take a phone call, I realized I felt very alone. Reflecting on that sense of isolation, I became conscious that I had spent an hour immersed in songs about drunkenness, infidelity and sorrow! Smile, if you
will, at my words, but I know what I felt and it was not the smile of God.

Hospitality requires choices that put the other person first. If God, the Holy Spirit, is first, we will throw out the welcome mat to Him, concerned that we do not grieve Him with our thoughts, words and actions.

Here¹s a word from the Word. It will teach you how to welcome the Spirit.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God¹s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit¹s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ² (1 Thessalonians 5:16-23, NIV).

Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Washington (N.J.) Assembly of God

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