Evidence of Residence–1 John 4:13-14

We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. –1 John 4:13-14

I’m sitting on the couch in my living room as I write these words. In my blissful fantasy life, I can imagine that I live here alone, especially without the interference of those pesky kids. I can imagine it, but my dreams are quickly scuttled. The evidence of the kids’ residence is simply too clear.

Tom whistles–whistles!–in the hallway bathroom. Since he traipsed around in poison ivy this afternoon, he was instructed to put his clothes in the laundry and take a thorough shower. I have no doubt that his clothes are strewn about the bathroom and his towel is wadded on the vanity.

You can always find Olivia in our house by following her trail of cast off items. For some reason, the child believes that chairs are the place to leave books, and she is gifted at placing them so that they take up the most room possible. Lately, she’s become quite good at abandoning her iPod in inappropriate places. It’s amazing that she’s managed to hold onto that thing for nearly a year.

Alyson is tidier, but the evidence of her residence is still easy to find. A milk crate full of CDs graces the kitchen table right now. How can one person, one under-employed person, own that many CDs? They belong to Alyson. She thought some of us might enjoy them.

Now Olivia is pouring dry cereal into a bowl. Did she ask? No. Did she get some on the counter or floor? Probably. Will she leave the bowl somewhere we don’t want it–namely anywhere but the dishwasher? No doubt about it.

There can be no doubt that we all share this house together. According to John, there’s no doubt that we share our bodies with the indwelling Spirit of God. But is there really no doubt? I hate to be skeptical, but the inward residence of an invisible Spirit doesn’t strike me as the sort of evidence that will hold up in court.

On the other hand, I wonder if John doesn’t intend verse 14 to add to the evidence. How do we know that God has given us his Spirit? We know because we testify that the Father sent the Son to be Savior of the world. That testimony, John seems to suggest, should be as obvious as the evidence of my children living in my house. I must confess that such evidence is not as clear in my life. How about yours?

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