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We have this treasure

by Lenya Heitzig | |

Who doesn’t love a story about found treasure?  If you consider the ten million viewers of the British PBS program Antiques Road Show and the American counterpart of the same name, it’s apparent that many people do. Viewers remember the Spanish Conquistador helmet found in the rafters of the attic of a just-purchased home. Turned out, it was from the 15th century and worth $500,000. Then there was the woman with her father’s collection of jade objects he acquired while stationed in China. The value? A cool million!

For those who find the Road Show too highbrow, Pawn Stars takes place in a Las Vegas pawnshop. The treasures on Pawn Stars are often odd, historic, and require test firing in the desert. This is the place to bring your Star Trek action figures, Civil War cannon, or signed, first edition Hemingway.

My own treasures are not so grand and probably wouldn’t bring money from anyone but me. In my office I have a small box containing personal treasures: a tiny Millennium Falcon spacecraft from Nathan’s vintage Star Wars collection, a calling card from my favorite pastry shop in Paris, a matchbook from the Tavern on the Green in Central Park, and a red ceramic bird given to me by Nathan and Janáe in remembrance of the blue origami birds at their rehearsal dinner.

Whether the upscale British Road Show or the downtown Pawn Stars, people love to watch other people hit the jackpot. Wouldn’t it be great to learn that you have a priceless treasure at your fingertips?

Well, good news! If you’re a believer, you do:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7).
 
In Oriental countries, it was customary to keep gold and jewels in ordinary clay pots. Without intrinsic worth, the vessels were valuable simply for the treasure within. Paul likened himself and his fellow gospel workers to fragile earthenware pots—nothing special in and of themselves, but valuable for the power and the Word of God contained within them.

Paul’s Prayer for Our Power

Paul pleaded with believers to respond to God's sovereign provision. He himself received the “gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power” (Ephesians 3:7). Paul asked God to activate the power available to believers so they too, could glorify God:

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).

This prayer is a series of petitions, each built upon the other. But before we explore the treasures of the Holy Spirit, let’s look at three important—yet overlooked—words.

Three Powerful Prepositions

In grammar, prepositions are unassuming little words used to link nouns, pronouns, and phrases. Don’t be fooled by their size; these words pack a punch.

The words en or “in,” para meaning “with,” and epi or “upon” unlock the treasures of the Holy Spirit and enable understanding of His power and presence.

PARA:  The Holy Spirit is with us prior to salvation to convict us of sin and bring us to repentance:

“It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you… And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment of sin” (John 16:7-9).

 EN:  The Holy Spirit comes in us at salvation.

 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17, emphasis added).

 EPI: The Holy Spirit comes upon the saint at the baptism of the Spirit.

 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, emphasis added).

With this foundation, let’s open the treasure chest of our riches in and through the Holy Spirit.

The Treasure of Inner Strength and Power         

The Holy Spirit is the Person who imparts God’s power to individual believers:

That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16).

The working of the Holy Spirit takes what belongs to God and makes it ours. This is our birthright in Christ, and it comes with a solemn purpose: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8).

The word power comes from dunamis, which means “miraculous power, ability, abundance, might, power, strength, and might.” It is the root from which we get the word dynamite. We are not to use this power recklessly to blow things up, but to stand ready to be His witnesses in the world.

 The Treasure of Dwelling with God

The word dwell means to settle down and feel right at home in the permanent abode of the owner. Sadly, for some, the Holy Spirit is more like an unwelcomed houseguest than the resident owner.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:17).

This refers to His on-going, day-in, day-out residence in our lives. The Christian’s human personality is Christ’s home.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:11).

The Holy Spirit comfortably resides within us and uses us to accomplish the Father’s will and purpose. What a beautiful picture of comfort and power under one roof.

 The Treasure of Knowledge and Understanding

When Danny Sampson robbed a bank in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, he used a hand-me-down gun and stole $6,000. After the Royal Canadian Mounted Police captured him, they recognized the gun as an antique Colt 45 worth $100,000. He had no idea what he possessed.

As Christians, we are exhorted to know what we possess in Christ. The reason? Typically, we neither use nor value what we don’t know and understand. Danny Sampson serves as case in point.

May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).

There are treasures to discover in the Christian life. The more we come to understand the resident Holy Spirit, the more we will experience the fullness of God.

The Treasure of Fullness

That you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

Efforts to fill ourselves in worldly ways bring frustration and bondage: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

A person filled with rage is dominated by hatred; a person filled with greed is dominated with the obsession to obtain or retain money. To be filled with the fullness of God means to be so totally dominated by Him there is no room to add anything else.

When we are filled with God, we are emptied of self and brimming with the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is meant to overflow with personal gratification, purpose, and satisfaction.

The Treasure of Love

Love is evidence of a life yielded to the Lord. With the Holy Spirit living and reigning in our hearts, He is able to demonstrate His love in us and through us.

To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).         

We strive to lay hold of this knowledge and make it our own. In doing so, we are strengthened and blessed. The Holy Spirit brings a trove of treasures: strength and power, knowledge and understanding, abiding with God, living a full life, and most importantly: love. Priceless.


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Lenya Heitzig

Lenya Heitzig is an award-winning author, popular Bible teacher, and a sought after speaker at women’s conferences and retreats worldwide. She is the author of Holy Moments: Recognizing God’s Fingerprints on Your Life and also contributed to the best-selling New Women’s Devotional Bible. Lenya has co-authored seven Fresh Life Bible studies and is the sole author of two studies in the Fresh Life series: Live Reflectively and Live Tastefully. She and her husband, Skip, founded Calvary of Albuquerque where Lenya has served as Director of she Ministries since 1984, overseeing weekly Bible studies and yearly retreats.

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